No photo ID, no democracy

Catherine Schurz (The Guilfordian)

Catherine Schurz (The Guilfordian)

Election season strikes again.

“I lose sleep over voter suppression,” U.S. Representative Steve Israel, D-NY, told ABC News. “I lose sleep over the fact that the Republicans have said they are embarked on a strategy that could deny millions of voters their right to go to the polls and actually vote for a candidate.”

In an attempt to disenfranchise minorities, laws have been passed in Georgia, Arizona, Virginia, and beyond requiring voters to provide photo identification at the polls. Seven other states are scheduled to pass this legislation within the year.

While the claim of disenfranchisement is an extremely bold allegation, it is also an extremely disturbing reality.

The United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the new legislation and, by extension, eliminated millions of Americans’ role in the U.S. democratic process. As the law transcends borders, the United States’ glow withers to a dim bulb.

Too often politicians observe the fall of their own communities without fighting injustices, unfortunately, at the expense of their constituents. Formally immaculate images of GOP candidates are now tarnished by their support of voter photo ID laws.

No person of good character can support a law like this that snuffs the voices of racial minorities, the elderly, college students, and low-income Americans.

Israel, who serves as chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, disclosed that plans to combat photo ID-related injustices are in motion.

His optimism might stem from America’s rich history of civil action. When faced with a blatant discriminatory law intended to weaken the democratic infrastructure of our nation, there is only one option: joining together in unified opposition to end the Republicans’ siphoning of American voices.

All of this nonsensical prejudice is reminiscent of the Jim Crow days when blacks had to pass unreasonably difficult literary tests in order to vote. The motives behind Crow voting laws were to limit the power of a minority race and to control the outcome of elections.

Sadly, the motives for the photo identification laws are eerily similar.

Exit polls conducted in states with photo ID requirements, such as Washington, Florida, and New Mexico, revealed that the majority of voters rejected at polls were black, Latino, and Asian.

Photo ID laws have far too many damaging repercussions to ignore. The Republican party is attempting to diminish as many Democratic voices as possible.

President Obama’s victory in 2008 proved the importance of the minority voice. Political participation amongst racial minorities has remained at a record high since ‘08. The increase in voter turnout poses a threat so large to the Republicans that they’ve resorted to desperately stripping voters of their power and rights as U.S. citizens.

GOP motivations for this law are entirely selfish.

If it were you who was challenged to prove your a registered voter, worthy of voting that day.

Imagine it’s election day, the day you’ve been awaiting for months. The footage of brutal candidate debates replays in your head as you stand in line prepared to select the weakest link. You’ve been an avid viewer of the debates and kept a keen eye on the primary polls thus far. This is your opportunity, your time, to be an American citizen.

Participating in government process and selection of your nation’s leader is a powerful privilege that you value greatly. And now it’s time. You enter the local public school where polls are set up and calling your name. You’ve got on your bright red pin flashing the name Bachmann, Romney, Cain, or whatever mediocre candidate the GOP selects by then. You strut to the polls with pride, wearing your leather cowboy boots and rocking your “NOBAMA” tee shirt. Picture a table with little old ladies from your community, pencils and check-in books before them. Suddenly, it’s your turn to have your status challenged.

“Excuse me, sir … Can we see a formal photo identification card, please.”