The Fraud of 'Voter Fraud,' Cont.

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Yesterday, we got a bit muddled in the voter fraud thread. I allowed some conflation between voter ID laws and voter photo ID laws. It's important that we understand the difference.  


The majority of states in the country require some form of identification for voting. But what qualifies as identification ranges from Virginia, where you can vote with a social security card to Tennessee where you can vote with a social security card and a utility bill to South Carolina which is about the business of requiring a state issued photo ID.


In terms of voter ID, Eric Holder's beef is clearly with the latter

Since January, more than a dozen states have advanced new voting measures. Some of these new laws are currently under review by the Justice Department, based on our obligations under the Voting Rights Act. Texas and South Carolina, for example, have enacted laws establishing new photo identification requirements that we're reviewing. We're also examining a number of changes that Florida has made to its electoral process, including changes to the procedures governing third-party voter registration organizations, as well as changes to early voting procedures, including the number of days in the early voting period.

We can debate the efficacy of voter ID laws. But in terms of the present business, it's important to understand that we are talking about the implementation of the most radical voting ID laws in the country. It's also important to understand that they are being implemented in states with lengthy histories of disenfranchisement, where "voter fraud" has always been a decidedly one-sided crime.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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