As the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is being challenged in the Supreme Court, Americans’ equal access to casting their ballots has been called into question, again. While Democrats are committed to fighting to ensure all Americans are able to exercise their fundamental right to vote, many states have continued to put in place laws that make it harder for some Americans – especially minorities, seniors, and youth – to participate in the electoral process. A new study shows that voter ID laws are having a very real effect on young minorities. According to POLITICO:
“As a handful of state legislatures around the country consider enacting stricter voter ID laws, a new study finds that young people – and especially young minorities – are disproportionately affected by those laws when they go into effect.”
“…significantly more minority youths age 18-29 were asked to show identification than white youth: 72.9 percent of black youth were asked for ID, compared with 60.8 percent of Latino youth and 50.8 percent of white youth.”
“Even in states where there are no voter ID laws on the books, 65.5 percent of black youth were asked to show ID at the polls, compared with 55.3 percent of Latino youth and 42.8 percent of white youth.”
“And for many young minority youths, even the concept of a required ID was a primary reason they didn’t go to the polls last year: 17.3 percent of black youth and 8.1 percent of Latino youth said their lack of adequate ID kept them from voting, compared with just 4.7 percent of white youth.”
This just adds to an already long list of evidence that extreme voter ID laws make it harder for Americans to cast their ballot. Lawmakers should be taking steps to improve voter participation, as the House Democrats’ Voter Empowerment Act seeks to do, rather than block participation in our electoral process. Democrats remain committed to protecting this fundamental right not just for some but for all.