by Monica Davis
Where there is smoke, there is fire. The smoke of the Voter ID laws has voided the voting rights of more than 21 million US citizens do not have government issued ID, as the fire of voter suppression negates the voting power of millions by disenfranchising them. Eighteen percent of senior citizens have no current government issued ID. Twenty-five percent of voting age blacks have no current ID, and millions of elderly blacks who were born under Jim Crow laws, have never had birth certificates. This is not hidden information; it is well known and it is being used to disenfranchise millions of black Democrats.
Survey results: photo identificationAs many as 11 percent of United States citizens – more than 21 million individuals – donot have government-issued photo identification. Eleven percent of the Americancitizens surveyed responded that they do not have current, unexpired government-issuedidentification with a photograph, such as a driver’s license or military ID.8Using 2000census calculations of the citizen voting-age population, this translates to more than 21million American adult citizens nationwide who do not possess valid government photo ID.Elderly citizens are less likely to possess government-issued photo identification.Survey results indicate that seniors disproportionately lack photo identification. Eighteenpercent of American citizens age 65 and above do not have current government-issuedphoto ID.9Using 2005 census estimates, this amounts to more than 6 million seniorcitizens.Minority citizens are less likely to possess government-issued photo identification.According to the survey, African-American citizens also disproportionately lack photoidentification. Twenty-five percent of African-American voting-age citizens have nocurrent government-issued photo ID, compared to eight percent of white voting-agecitizens.10Using 2000 census figures, this amounts to more than 5.5 million adultAfrican-American citizens without photo identification. Our survey also indicated thatsixteen percent of Hispanic voting-age citizens have no current government-issued photoID, but due to a low sample size, the results did not achieve statistical significance.11Citizens with comparatively low incomes are less likely to possess photo identification.Citizens earning less than $35,000 per year are more than twice as likely to lack currentgovernment-issued photo identification as those earning more than $35,000. Indeed, thesurvey indicates that at least 15 percent of voting-age American citizens earning less than$35,000 per year do not have a valid government-issued photo ID.12Photo identification often does not reflect current information. For many of those whopossess current, valid government-issued photo ID, the documentation does not reflect theircurrent information. For example, survey results show that ten percent of voting-agecitizens who have current photo ID do not have photo ID with both their current addressand their current legal name. The rate is higher among younger citizens: as many as 18percent of citizens aged 18-24 do not have photo ID with current address and name; using2004 census tallies, that amounts to almost 4.5 million American citizens.13 SOURCE
The reason minorities are so much harder hit by these seemingly benign laws has its roots in the tragic legacy of race in this country. They still work because that old Black man, born into Jim Crow in 1940, may have had no birth certificate because he was not born in a hospital because of poverty or discrimination. Names may have been misspelled on African-American birth certificates because illiterate midwives sometimes gave erroneous names.MORE