Richard Webb’s question in his recent letter to the editor (”Requiring photo ID is not voter suppression,” June 25) is a valid one: “What are the Democrats afraid of?” Despite the fact that study after study has come to the conclusion that voter fraud is extremely rare and that more restrictions would not have any appreciable effect on election security, one can legitimately question the motivations behind the rush for such laws, which are almost exclusively coming from Republican states.
History has shown us that voter ID laws have been used to intentionally impede certain voters. But that is all in the past, right? One might wonder, given the types of ID that would be acceptable in these new laws. It’s possible that we could come to agreement on some future universal ID expectation within a larger voting security and voting rights bill, but it would have to be consistent across jurisdictions and include options that are equally easy to obtain across geographical, racial and socio-economic groups.
That sounds obvious, but some states are proposing or have proposed new restrictive requirements far beyond these. Georgia, for example, has proposed limiting accepted identification to a handful of government issued documents. Other states prohibit college students from voting without a valid driver’s license in the state where they are attending school. So while there is no real threat to the security of our elections, many states — again, almost exclusively Republican — are insisting these laws are needed.
So I ask: What are the Republicans afraid of?
Kevin O’Brien, Baltimore
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