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Voter ID laws have been passed in many states in the last five years. For many years, the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 essentially made such laws unconstitutional, but when some of the key provisions of that law were struck down by the United States Supreme Court in 2012,...

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Voter ID laws have been passed in many states in the last five years. For many years, the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 essentially made such laws unconstitutional, but when some of the key provisions of that law were struck down by the United States Supreme Court in 2012, many Southern states (the ones affected by the Voting Rights Act) passed these laws and others designed to make voting qualifications more stringent. Essentially, most voter ID laws require potential voters to present a valid state-issued photo identification card when they show up to vote. Supporters of these laws, overwhelmingly Republican, argue that they are essential to prevent voter fraud at the polls. Opponents argue that they are disproportionately aimed at poor voters, especially African-Americans (who are less likely to have a state-issued ID in the form of a driver's license.) Since these people are more likely to vote Democrat, opponents portray these laws as a cynical attempt to suppress votes in favor of Republicans. They also argue that the laws address a non-existent problem, since there were few documented cases of voter fraud in the years before the laws were passed. Supporters point out that a driver's license is not the only valid form of identification, and that voters can get state-issued ID cards made specifically for the purpose of voter identification. It is not that difficult, they say, to fulfill this requirement. As you can see in the link, a North Carolina voter ID law was just ruled constitutional in federal court, but this decision, along with others, is likely to make its way to the US Supreme Court.

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