New Report Released: Got ID? Helping Americans Get Voter Identification
Since 2011, eight states enacted laws requiring voters to present government-issued photo identification before casting a ballot. Proponents of these laws argue that the new laws will prevent voter impersonation fraud but in reality they are a costly solution in search of a problem that only serve to effectively disenfranchise certain voters. Millions of Americans – including an estimated 25% of African-Americans – are at risk of having their right to vote taken away by these new voter identification laws, while it is more common to be struck by lightning than be impersonated at the polls. While the voting rights community fights back to overturn these unnecessary laws, we must actively help voters obtain the ID needed to their fundamental right to vote.
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law along with Common Cause, Demos, and the Fair Elections Legal Network interviewed community organizations in Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Colorado about their programs to acquire identification in order to vote.
A new report, Got ID? Helping Americans Get Voter Identification provides an outline for how state and local organizations can stand up for democracy by helping voters secure the necessary ID. The report draws lessons from programs implemented by interviewees and details the best strategies that community groups are using to help voters ensure they’ll be able to vote. The report provides community leaders and organizations guidance on:
- Creating a diverse, engaged coalition of local organizations to support a voter outreach program;
- Identifying and reaching eligible voters who do not have the necessary ID;
- Addressing voters’ hurdles to obtaining required ID, such as transportation to DMV offices or the costs of obtaining the necessary underlying documentation like a birth certificate; and
- Advocating for legislation to make obtaining the required IDs simpler and easier, including no-cost birth certificates and extended DMV hours.
We hope that this report will be a helpful tool for community organizations in states that have passed these laws to ensure voters have the documents they need to fully participate in our democracy this November.