Re "A poll tax in disguise," Opinion, July 15
Bruce Ackerman and Jennifer Nou say a Texas law will block the poor from voting because it requires voters to provide valid documentation that they are U.S. citizens, and because they would have to pay to obtain such documentation.
I agree that a citizen should not have to pay money to vote and that the poor should be provided appropriate identification at public expense. However, I wonder how many of the poor drive automobiles, receive welfare or perform activities that require (or should require) personal identification.
From a practical standpoint, I wonder how many of those about whom the authors are so concerned even bother to vote.
That the U.S. attorney general has involved himself tells me that it is more of a political issue than a legal problem.
Jefferson C. Romney
Thanks for reminding everyone about the civil rights of those who are being denied the vote by the Texas law, which isn't the only form of disenfranchisement taking place in this country.
According to a report this year by the Sentencing Project, about 2.5% of the U.S. voting-age population is disenfranchised because of a felony conviction. Ex-felons in 11 states are barred from voting after they have completed their sentences; they make up about 45% of the disenfranchised population. There are 2.6 million ex-felons without the right to vote. Of those, nearly 1 million are African Americans, according to the report.
I hope you continue to keep this issue in front of your readers.
As a Southerner (Georgia), I have seen the effects of discrimination against minorities and have lent my small efforts against such.
But I am equally dismayed when I note efforts by some to resist honest efforts to determine voters' eligibility. We should have no qualms, especially in today's world, about asking any voter to show proof of citizenship; it's an obligation that all should accept. The alternative is to degrade the value of citizenship, which I cannot abide.
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