Regulations on voters tighten across the country 

A wave of state legislatures have passed or are in the process of considering bills that would tighten voting procedures in what the left deems as “voter suppression” and a "revival of the Jim Crow laws" because of the impact Democrats are afraid these laws will have on the minorities, the poor and the elderly.

 The Florida legislature cut down on the early voting period from 14 days to eight days but did increase the eight-hour-a-day window to 12 hours. The Ohio House and Senate have voted for similar measures, but they must reconcile the two bills before handing it off to the governor for approval.

Thirteen states have also passed voter ID laws in order to counter voter fraud and provide for secure elections. The state laws require some form of photo ID, including, but not limited to, a driver’s license, a passport or military identification. Many include free ID options.

These laws continue to come under attack, however, as concern grows that many Democratic-leaning voters will be dissuaded from voting because of the tighter restrictions. The New York Times reports:

Democrats say thousands of people in each state do not have these [photo IDs]. The extra step, they add, will discourage some voters who will have to pay to retrieve documents, like birth certificates, for proof to obtain a free card. If voters do not have the proper identification on Election Day, they can cast provisional ballots in most states but must return several days later to a local board of elections office with an ID.

The Supreme Court, in 2008, did uphold Indiana’s voter identification law in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board. In a 6-3 decision, the court concluded it was in the state’s interest to prevent voter fraud and keep voter confidence, and the burden on voters to produce a photo ID does not outweigh this.

A report from the National Conference of State Legislatures makes it clear that no voters are unnecessarily blocked from their rights to vote. Each of these state laws do include either an option to sign an affidavit if the voter is not in possession of a photo ID or an option to cast a provisional ballot and return with a valid photo identification by a specified date:

“In no state is a voter who cannot produce identification turned away from the polls—all states have some sort of recourse for voters without identification to cast a vote.” the report read.

The states with voter ID laws in place — Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin — have distinct laws, some of which do not even demand certain types of photo IDs. Most laws allow for student IDs, as well.

Texas’ law allows for a license to carry a concealed handgun to be used as photo ID, and those over 70 may use a voter registration certificate. Kansas’ law even makes exceptions for those who are physically disabled, those in the merchant marines and uniformed services absent from the county, and those who have religious beliefs that prevent them from getting a photo ID. The Kansas bill also allows citizens 65 or older to use expired photo IDs.

An additional 16 states require voter identification, though not necessarily photo identification.

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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