NPT Capitol: Chavez: Voter ID bill “will disenfranchise many El Pasoans”
State Rep. Norma Chavez, D-El Paso, has spoken out against the Voter ID legislation the Senate is poised to pass and hand over to the House next week. The Senate spent 23 hours jostling over the Republican backed bill on Tuesday/Wednesday, it being voted out of committee along party lines.
“Hundreds, if not thousands, of senior citizens in El Paso have been voting for decades at places such as the Chelsea Senior Center, Pooley and Buen Samaritano. Many of them do not have driver’s licenses or state-issued photo identification cards,” Chávez said in a press release yesterday evening.
Chavez cited research by the Brennan Centre for Justice that said, 16% of Hispanic voting-age citizens, 18% of over 65s and 15% of citizens earning $35,000 or less do not have a photo ID: “These citizens would not be able to vote should SB 362 become law,” said Chavez. The press release also cited research that found, “states with voter ID laws had a reduced turnout overall by 3%, 10% among Hispanics and 5.7% among African-Americans.”*
“Requiring citizens to pay for state-issued photo identification is a modern-day poll tax,” said Chávez.
*Chavez’s press release said the research was, “prepared by Rutgers and Ohio State Universities for the Federal Election Assistance Commission.”
— Ben Wright