Monday, October 26, 2015

Virginia Democrats' Misuse of the Voting Rights Act

Liberal distaste for voter ID requirements is nothing new. Voter ID laws have faced legal challenges across the country from Democrats cying "voter suppression." In states like Wisconsin, Texas, and North Carolina, Democrats claim that voter ID laws are restrictive because obtaining a photo ID is a burden which negatively affects minority voters. This claim has been repeatedly debunked,  so Democrats in Virginia a trying a new tactic.

Marc Elias, the lead lawyer for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, and Virginia Democrats have filed suit against Virginia's voter ID requirement. Unlike the challenges in other states, Elias and company are not focusing on the burden of obtaining a photo ID. The named parties in the Virginia case each have a photo ID and are instead claiming that the "burden" of being required to show the ID at the polls is enough to invalidate the law. 

Kaylan L. Phillips, an attorney with the Public Interest Legal Foundation, points out in a recent piece that Democrats "admit that their challenge is based on the potential for inconvenience at the polling place. Throughout the court pleadings, they claim that if voting requires a person to remember to bring an ID with him to the polls - or wait in a line to vote, or apply to vote after serving a criminal sentence - that cost is too high.

Under this theory, what wouldn't constitute a burden? What about the transportation costs associated with getting to a polling location? What about the burden of waking up early or staying out late after work in order to cast a ballot? Where exactly does this logical fallacy come to an end? To reiterate one of Ms. Phillips' arguments: "[i]n reality, voting - like all civic duties - does come with a price. It does require a modest amount of personal sacrifice. The Voting Rights Act was designed to ensure that no eligible voter is denied the right to vote based on race, not to make voting a mindless exercise."

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