How do you obtain a voter ID?
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Figure 1: Percentage Black and State Driver’s License Offices, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. The map
demonstrates that in the areas with the greatest concentrations of rural black voters, no state driver’s license
offices are open more than two days per week. The figure also shows that many of these states’ parttime
offices are located in the areas with the highest concentrations of black voters. The crosshatched
areas outline the 13 contiguous “black belt” counties in Mississippi, 11 contiguous “black belt” counties in
Alabama, and 21 contiguous “black belt” counties in Georgia where all state driver’s license offices are open
two days per week or less.
Figure 2: Percentage Hispanic Population and Driver’s License Office Locations, Texas.
The map shows that in some areas in Texas with high concentrations of Hispanic voters,
there are few or no ID-issuing offices. The map depicts concentrations of the Hispanic
voting-age population, by 2010 Census Block Group, together with the number of
hours per week each office location is open. The crosshatched areas represent the 32
counties in the U.S.-Mexico border region with few or no ID-issuing offices.
Figure 3: Poverty Rate and Driver Service Center Locations, Tennessee. The figure shows three rural regions
of the state (crosshatched) — cumulatively home to more than 300,000 eligible voters — with no ID-issuing
offices. The map shows the poverty rate, by 2010 Census Tract, and the locations of Tennessee Driver
Figure 5: Poverty Rate and Driver’s Service Center Locations, Knoxville, Tennessee.
The figure shows that the one ID-issuing office near Knoxville is located outside of
the city center, which is home to the city’s largest concentration of poor residents.
The map shows the poverty rate by 2010 Census Tract, and the location of the one
ID-issuing office by Knoxville.
Figure 8: Poverty Rate and Department of Revenue ID-issuing Offices, Wichita, Kansas.
The map shows the poverty rate, by 2010 Census Tract, and the location of ID-issuing
offices near Wichita.
Keesha Gaskins, Senior Counsel in the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program and Sundjeep Iyer, the Principal Quantitative Analyst at the Brennan Center at NYU School of Law recently wrote “The Challenge of Obtaining Voter Identification”, a brief analysis of some of the difficulties that eligible voters face when trying to attain their voter ID.
Ten states have implemented highly controversial and restrictive voter ID laws: Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. The Voter ID law requires for individuals to have government photo ID’s in order to vote. The problem is that 1 in 10 eligible voters do not have the specific paperwork that is required to get the ID. Federal courts declared that states with restrictive voter ID laws must make the necessary paperwork available without a cost. But for the 10 percent of voters without these documents, the burden reaches further than a financial one.
- Many live in rural areas with minimal public transportation options.
- Many ID issuing offices maintain extremely limited hours; a few days a month for a few hours a day.
- More than 10 million eligible voters live more than 10 miles from their designated ID-issuing offices.
- 1.7 million of those eligible voters are black and Hispanic.
More than 10 miles for voting rights
Finding an open ID office
Most ID office have irregular and reduced hours of operation, limited weekend hours, reduced business hours in areas with high concentration of people of color, and sometimes even idiosyncratic hours.
Some ID offices maintain hours so bizarre that it is necessary to consult a calendar to determine when the office is open. The office in Sauk City, Wisconsin is open only on the fifth Wednesday of any month. But only four months in 2012 have five Wednesdays. Other offices in Wisconsin are open only once every two months: For example, the office in Phillips is open only on the first Wednesday of February, April, June, August, October, and December.
In Alabama, the Rockford office is open only on the third Thursday of the month.
In Mississippi, the Woodville office is open only on the second Thursday of each month.
Limited ID office access in rural areas
In areas that are more rural and a higher concentration of African American and Hispanic eligible voters, there are fewer ID offices available and most are open less hours than in their white neighboring counterparts.
The not-so-free cost of Voter ID
Although the ID itself may not be at a cost, the documents needed to get the voter ID are not free: Official birth certificate $15-30, Passport $135, Replacement naturalization certificate$345, Copy of marriage license $5-40.
The systematic difficulties that underprivileged individuals will face as they attempt to get their voter ID’s make it very difficult to believe that the law was not passed in order to keep certain unwanted peoples away from the voting polls. The number of people that go to the polls in the 10 aforementioned states will be much less than in the past.
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Article source: http://thegrio.com/2012/07/19/how-to-do-you-obtain-a-voter-id/