Federal court rules against states which enact tougher voting ID laws
Many such laws unjustly discriminate against the poor
With the presidential elections just a few weeks away, some states are enacting tougher voting laws. Some federal courts are knocking down such laws, upon the argument that they are discriminatory, particular against the poor and racial minorities.
Federal courts have struck down three key voting-related efforts in Texas and Ohio. South Carolina has argued its case for a new voter ID law to a federal appeals panel in Washington.
To date the only new voting requirement to have met with federal approval is one in Pennsylvania. Two weeks ago, authorities ruled that the Keystone State's new voter ID law should apply in November, although the Pennsylvania state Supreme Court will hear an appeal on September 13.
Two voting-related Texas measures were struck down by the feds, including a set of redistricting maps that judges found "discriminatory" against Hispanics and a voter ID law. A separate panel of judges, citing a $22 fee for a state ID imposed "strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor."
A judge in Ohio last week struck down a new rule that allowed only military personnel to vote the weekend before the November election. The court said the law discriminated against the poor and minorities, who historically have taken advantage of the early weekend voting to cast their ballots.
Voting rights advocates said that these recent decisions were a blow against Republican attempts in eight critical states to disenfranchise poor and minority voters by enacting onerous new voting rules in order to up the chances of the Romney-Ryan ticket.
In response, Republicans cited major polls suggesting that Americans are generally more concerned about protecting the legitimacy of the vote than the mere possibility of disenfranchising voters.
"This is actually a national trend, where states are trying to do a better job of securing the integrity of the ballot boxes, and yet courts (are) pushing back against that, seemingly promoting and allowing illegal voters to participate in the election process," Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said. Hundreds of the deceased had been discovered to have voted in the state's recent primary.
The battle over poll security continues to heat up, and could become even uglier as Texas and South Carolina appeal their decisions, possibly putting the Supreme Court in the position to have to make a quick ruling before the election on whether the laws should stand for the November election.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Voting laws, federal judiciary, poor, minorities, election day
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