A group of House Democrats and civil rights leaders gathered at the steps of the Capitol on Wednesday to urge the Department of Justice to battle voter-identification laws enacted by some states — laws that the Democrats and rights advocates contend are part of a coordinated effort by Republicans to disenfranchise many voters.
The people who convened outside the Capitol contend that the laws are meant to prevent students, minorities and older people from voting, according to an account on Talking Points Memo. They scoffed at a frequent argument of supporters of voter ID laws — that since photo identification is required for plenty of everyday activities, it should be required at the poll.
“You wanna know something?” Rep. Gwen Moore of Wisconsin asked rhetorically. “Getting a video from Blockbuster is not a constitutional right. Getting liquor from the liquor store is not a constitutional right.”
One lawmaker paid a compliment of sorts to Karl Rove, a political adviser to former President George W. Bush.
It was “not spontaneous generation” that so many states have enacted such laws, said Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee. “It was Rovian. This was an obvious Republican attempt to subvert our vote in 2012 and to hurt the President of the United States’ chance of reelection, which is the entire goal of the Republican House — to defeat Barack Obama even if they take down the United States economy while they do it.”
Sixteen states have laws requiring or requesting voters to present a photo voter ID to vote, and many others are considering or have recently considered such legislation, according to the Talking Points account. Debates over such laws are almost invariably accompanied by assertions that they are meant to hurt Democrats because the kinds of people affected by the laws typically vote Democratic.
Talking Points said a DOJ spokeswoman said the department’s Civil Rights Division continues to monitor legislative activity in the states.