New York, NY, September 20, 2006 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today criticized passage by the House of Representatives of the so-called "Federal Election Integrity Act of 2006," legislation that would require all voters to obtain and show a government-issued photo ID that proves citizenship in order to vote.
Deborah Lauter, ADL Civil Rights Director, issued the following statement:
Despite its title, this legislation would actually undermine access to our electoral process, because many eligible voters cannot afford the cost of the government-issued ID required by this bill. Requiring proof of citizenship and a photo ID would disproportionately impact minority voters, the elderly, low income individuals and new voters.
The House action is a giant step backward from the action Congress took in July to strengthen and reauthorize expiring sections of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965. We are especially disappointed in today's action as just this week voter photo ID laws like this one were struck down in both Georgia and Missouri as constitutional violations. In striking down the Missouri photo ID law, Judge Richard Callahan was eloquent on this point: '…it is those very people outside the mainstream of society who are the least equipped to bear the costs or navigate the many bureaucracies necessary to obtain the required documentation.'
Fundamental rights should never be restricted to those who can pay for them. The Senate should reject this legislation, which violates the spirit of the Voting Rights Act and imposes unnecessary barriers to equal access to the ballot box for all Americans.