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Apr 18th

NAACP argues Supreme Court challenge to Indiana voter id policy

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On January 9th, the Supreme Court heard argument in a pair of cases concerning an Indiana law that requires all citizens to present valid, government issued photo identification when they appear at the polls to vote. Indiana's law creates substantial and unnecessary barriers to the vote fencing out those living in poor and marginalized communities from the democratic process. The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) filed an amicus brief in support of the law's challengers in November 2007. On January 9th, the Supreme Court heard argument in a pair of cases concerning an Indiana law that requires all citizens to present valid, government issued photo identification when they appear at the polls to vote. Indiana's law creates substantial and unnecessary barriers to the vote fencing out those living in poor and marginalized communities from the democratic process. The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) filed an amicus brief in support of the law's challengers in November 2007.

"Indiana's law ignores the fact that voting in our country is a fundamental right and not a privilege. Many citizens seek to participate in our political process, but there are those who simply do not have the resources to obtain driver's licenses or passports," said Ted Shaw, LDF's Director-Counsel and President, following today's arguments.

Last year, federal trial and appellate courts ruled that Indiana's law does not unduly burden the right to vote. LDF's brief urges the Supreme Court to strike down Indiana's photo identification measure because it will have a burdensome impact in the places where impoverished and marginalized African Americans are concentrated: America's urban and rural centers. LDF contends that the photo identification measure unnecessarily excludes eligible voters from the political process and disproportionately affects impoverished communities of color.

Many in these communities lack the resources and documentation necessary to secure the kind of identification required under Indiana's law. By requiring these voters to pay significant fees to obtain copies of these documents, Indiana's law bears a striking resemblance to a poll tax that discourages the poor from taking part in our democratic process. For many living in marginalized communities, voting is their only voice in the political process and most effective means of effectuating change.

"Black voters today face numerous hurdles including long lines, inaccurate voting rolls, deceptive practices, and intimidation. Government-issued identification further compounds existing problems and creates barriers too burdensome for many voters to overcome," said Shaw.
 

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