This letter has been sent by Congressmen Conyers and Lewis to their colleagues:
Join with Us in Opposing Any New Discriminatory ID Requirement Will Make it Harder for Tens of Millions of Citizens to Vote
Deadline: COB Tomorrow
September 19, 2005
Dear Democratic Colleague:
Please join with us in introducing a Sense of Congress Resolution which states our opposition to any new ID requirement to vote in elections. We believe such a requirement would constitute nothing less than a 21st century poll tax. A Senate counterpart is being introduced by Senator Barak Obama along with Minority Leader Reid, Senator Dodd, Clinton and Corzine.
The nationwide voter ID requirement endorsed by the Carter/Baker Commission would inevitably disenfranchise minority voters and the most vulnerable among us -- those who live in poverty and the elderly. As a whole, the national ID requirement would place steep new hurdles in place for more than ten percent of voters, who currently do not have a photo identification card but are otherwise eligible to vote.
Though the Commission's report proposes giving away those cards to voters who cannot afford them for"free," this is an empty promise. Congress has a consistent record of imposing mandates on the states and then failing to fund the implementation of such mandates. Even if the new cards are cost-free, there is little doubt that the ID offices will prove inaccessible or expensive to access for many.
Moreover, the Commission's own review found there are incredibly few documented cases of voter fraud to even respond to via legislation. Essentially, the Commission would have us create a massive and intrusive new bureaucracy, and one that discriminates and disenfranchises, in order to deal with a non-problem. We are attaching for your review a recent New York Times Editorial opposing a voter ID mandate in Georgia.
Please contact Jessica Battaglia (x53801) for more information or to cosponsor the Resolution with us.
John Conyers, Jr.