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New voter identification laws take effect in several states this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
NCSL is a bipartisan group that provides research and data to state governments. Its research shows that in the 2012 election millions of Americans will be required to show photo identification when they head to the polls in four states in 2012. Kansas, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Texas will require voters to prove their identity at the ballot box.
Thirty-one states require all voters to show ID before voting at the polls. In 15 of these states, the ID must include a photo of the voter; in the remaining 16 states non-photo forms of ID are acceptable.
Voter ID has been the hotest topic of legislation in the field of election this year. There are three states, Oregon, Vermont and Wyoming, that don’t have a voter ID law and didn’t consider voter ID this year.
Politico shows that as many as 11 percent of eligible voters do not have government-issued photo ID. By that measure, it finds that the new laws would affect 3.2 million voters in the states where the change is scheduled to take effect before the 2012 election.
Seniors, people of color, people with disabilities, low-income voters and students would be greatly affected by these changes. Many citizens find it hard to obtain government photo ID’s because the underlying documentation needed and the expenses.
The U.S. Department of Justice has denied South Carolina’s request for pre-clearance of its voter ID law. The department said a new South Carolina law that would require voters to present photo identification would disproportionately suppress turnout among eligible minority voters.