Eric Holder got it right, said Bruce Ackerman in the Los Angeles Times. The U.S. attorney general enraged conservatives last week when he described Texas’s controversial voter ID law as the 21st-century equivalent of a “poll tax.” The poll taxes of the Jim Crow era were designed to dissuade poor black people from voting in elections, and the Texas law requiring a photo ID from all prospective voters is no different. An estimated 1.4 million Texans, predominantly the lower-income and minority voters who tend to vote Democratic, don’t have a driver’s license or other photo identification. To apply for a voter ID card, Texas requires people to travel to a state office and supply fingerprints and proof of identity, such as a birth certificate—copies of which cost $22. Discouraging people from voting this way is illegal, which is why Holder’s Justice Department rightly blocked this “disgraceful” law back in March. Soon, a federal court will rule whether Texas’s law—and similar laws in a dozen states—violates the Constitution.
Comparing photo ID to a poll tax is “utter nonsense,” said Peter Roff in USNews.com. “No one can operate successfully in contemporary America without a photo ID.” You need to show ID to rent a car or hotel room, borrow a library book, or pick up a package from the post office. Asking voters to prove their identity will simply safeguard the integrity of our elections. Let me point out the obvious, said Armstrong Williams in TheHill.com. Texas and other states are now home to millions of illegal immigrants. Holder, obviously, wants to “turn a blind eye” to the possibility of widespread illegal voting, since it would benefit his boss, Barack Obama.
That possibility is nothing but a Republican fantasy, said Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post. An aggressive five-year investigation by George W. Bush’s Justice Department convicted a grand total of 86 people for having cast invalid ballots. That’s in the entire nation. Voter ID laws have one real purpose—“to disenfranchise as many likely Democratic voters as possible.” Just ask Pennsylvania Republican state Rep. Mike Turzai, who recently bragged that the state’s new voter ID law is “gonna allow Gov. Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.” About 9.2 percent of state residents, you see, lack a photo ID—most of them likely Obama voters. Republicans have been promising to “take back” the country. “Now we know how.”