New Voter ID Affecting Seniors.

The new voter ID laws that are being passed in a number of states may
be disenfranchising many senior voters. The laws, purportedly enacted
to prevent voter fraud, require voters to have a government-issued photo
identification card — something nearly one in five seniors lack,
according to a study.

Voter ID card laws have been generating a
lot of controversy this election year. Over the past year and a half,
Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee have enacted voter
ID laws. Meanwhile, the U.S. Justice Department has put laws in
Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas on hold, and a federal court held that the
Texas law cannot be implemented. In addition, a voter ID law in
Wisconsin was declared unconstitutional by a state court (the state is
appealing the decision). Proponents of the laws argue that the laws
prevent voter fraud, but opponents point out that there is little
evidence of such fraud and say the ID requirements are overly
burdensome.

A valid voter ID card can be a driver's license, military ID with a photo, or a state-issued ID card. According to the Brennan Center for Justice,
18 percent of voters over age 65 do not have a valid ID. The most
common form of ID is a driver's license, but many seniors no longer
drive and have given up their licenses. Seniors may also not be able to
easily get to the office that is issuing voter ID cards. Once they've
reached the office, seniors may find they lack the required paperwork.
Many seniors have lost birth certificates or were never issued one.
While it can be possible to get a voter ID card without a birth
certificate, it is a more difficult process.

The AARP along with
the League of Women Voters and the American Civil Liberties Union have
been challenging these laws in court. Daniel Kohrman, senior attorney
for AARP Foundation Litigation said, "We should not be a society where
voters are forced to jump through so many hoops in order to vote,
particularly if they’ve been voting for decades."

For more information from AARP on how these voter ID laws affect seniors, click here.

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