It's not just DeMarco having a rough week. Conservative lawmakers all over the country have been trying to suppress progressive voter turnout in the form of voter ID laws for the past year. Voter ID laws have been compared to the poll taxes that kept black voters out of the polls before the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This week, however, the effort was shut down in two states with some of the most severe ID laws - Texas & Wisconsin. This is a huge win for civil rights activists and progressives all over the country. The Texas and Wisconsin judges' decisions to shoot down voter ID legislation is an affirmation that voting is a basic right in this country, and that any attempts at voter suppression are an unacceptable injustice against American citizens. The judge in Texas claimed that the state's voter ID law disproportionately disfranchised Hispanic voters. In a letter to the director of elections for Texas's secretary of state, the head of the Justice Department's civil rights division said “Even using the data most favorable to the state, Hispanics disproportionately lack either a driver’s license or a personal identification card." In Wisconsin, Circuit Judge Richard Niess ruled that photo ID requirements are "unconstitutional to the extent they serve as a condition for voting at the polls." The law was challenged by the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin. Neiss wrote, "A government that undermines the very foundation of its existence - the people's inherent, pre-constitutional right to vote - imperils its legitimacy as a government by the people, for the people, and especially of the people." And other states aren't off the hook. The UN Human Rights Council is now investigating voter ID laws throughout the U.S. The case was brought to the UN by the NAACP, who has been challenging photo ID laws on the grounds that it disproportionately disfranchises African American voters. It's no accident on the part of conservative lawmakers - black voters tend to vote progressive. "This really is a tactic that undercuts the growth of your democracy," said the NAACP's senior vice president for advocacy, Hillary Shelton. This issue will continue to be a major fight in the months leading up to 2012 elections. Does your state have a voter ID law? Find out and take action!
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