The recent Supreme Court decision on the Voting Rights Act is bound to bring voter ID laws back into the media discussion. And, unfortunately, that means some of these discussions will suffer from a familiar problem: The unwillingness to point out that the problem such laws are allegedly fighting–voter fraud– doesn’t exist.
In today’s Washington Post (12/13/11), Jerry Markon reports on the news that the White House “will wade into the increasingly divisive national debate over new voting laws.” But the article’s explanation of the concept of “voter fraud”–the ostensible rationale for these Republican efforts to restrict voting–leaves a lot to be desired. Markon writes that liberal and civil rights groups have been raising alarms about the remaining laws, calling them an “assault on democracy” and an attempt to depress minority voter turnout. Supporters of the tighter laws say they are needed to combat voter fraud. That’s the usual (and frustrating) on-the-one-hand, […]
USA Today‘s Fredreka Schouten reports (6/20/11) on states adopting photo ID laws to crack down on the nearly non-existent problem of voter fraud. Schouten lays out the argument: Proponents say the measures prevent vote fraud. Opponents say they are designed to stifle turnout among students, poor people and minorities, who are more likely to vote for Democrats but might lack government-issued IDs, such as driver’s licenses and passports. Actually most opponents tend to point out that there is no voter fraud problem. Any decent report on this subject would point this out– otherwise readers are left with the impression that […]