As the number of states passing voter ID laws is increasing, Democrats are up in arms about disenfranchisement of voters. Despite this, there are good reasons to believe that fraud might be widespread and producing identification hardly seems like a difficult barrier.
Nonetheless, a group of Democratic Senators recently sent a letter to the Justice Department asking them to scrutinize the states that have recently passed voter ID laws:
Sixteen Democratic Senators have written a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder urging the Justice Department to carefully review the "highly restrictive photo identification requirements" that are sweeping state legislatures across the country.
Concerned that the measures could "block millions of eligible American voters without addressing any problem commensurate with this kind of restriction on voting rights," the Senators ask DOJ to use the "full power of the Department of Justice to review these voter identification laws and scrutinize their implementation."
But there's one interesting wrinkle here, as noted by the Republican National Lawyers Association -- deep blue Rhode Island just passed a voter ID law. Here's the letter the group sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on July 7 about the matter:
United States Senator Harry Reid
522 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Reid:
On behalf of the Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA), we are writing to express our concern about your letter dated June 29, 2011 addressed to Attorney General Holder regarding voter ID legislation passed in several states. You requested that the Department of Justice investigate voter ID legislation which you alleged has “the potential to
block millions of eligible American voters without addressing any problem…”
The Rhode Island legislature, which has a majority of Democrats, passed voter ID legislation. Yesterday, Governor Lincoln Chafee, an independent and one of your former colleagues, signed the bill into law. This law requires voters to show identification at the polls in 2012 and a photo before casting a ballot in 2014.
Senator Harold Metts (D – District 6, Providence), a minority and member of your political party, was the sponsor of this voter ID bill in the Rhode Island Senate. Confronted with communications about fraud at several Providence polling locations, he proposed a voter ID bill in Rhode Island. He has said, “Fraud has gone unchallenged and ignored, and it must be stopped.”
In the Rhode Island house, Democratic House Speaker Gordon D. Fox and Jon Brien co-sponsored the bill along with Republicans.
You should ensure that elections are open, fair and honest by joining Senator Metts, Speaker Fox, Representative Brien and other Rhode Island Democrats by supporting voter ID legislation and abandoning these baseless assertions that voter ID violates civil rights laws.
David Norcross Cleta Mitchell Michael Thielen
Chairman President Executive Director
cc: Senators Bennet, Durbin, Schumer, Gillibrand, Brown, Shaheen, Merkley, Begich, Cardin, Landrieu, Murray, Wyden, Harkin, Kohl and Udall
Will the Justice Department investigate Democratic Rhode Island? Stay tuned!