Republicans long for the days when “nice” women and minorities “didn’t want” the vote.
According to figures compiled by the Brennan Justice Center, only 66% of voting age women nationwide have ready access to documents that prove their citizenship and is in their current legal name.
The reason why is pretty straightforward. When women marry or divorce, they change their surname. This means that ID which proves their citizenship and their new legal name won’t match. That leaves women’s votes vulnerable to challenges.
If we go by the 2000 census, that means 32 million women may have access to documents that prove their citizenship – but those documents are not in their current legal name.
Megan Devlin of The American Prospect wrote about the implications of voter ID laws on women’s “eligibility” to vote in 2011.
Here’s where women get stuck. American women change their names in about 90 percent of marriages and divorces. So newly married and recently divorced women whose legal names do not match those of their current photo ID will face opposition when voting, especially in the seven states with the stricter voter-ID rules. They cannot provide personal information like a birthday or take an oath swearing to their identity in lieu of showing a photo ID. Instead, they will have to fill out substitute ballots and later return with valid documentation like a certified court document showing a divorce decree or marriage license.
Things have gotten radically worse since then. For one thing, more states are in the business of suppressing votes with more restrictions on the types of ID they deem acceptable and with a host of other tricks intended to shut out votes by women and minorities.
Without question, the ALEC inspired “Voter ID” law in NC, and in other red states, target votes by blacks and Hispanics. Make no mistake about it. ALEC has women’s votes in the cross hairs too. The hard numbers provided by the Republican controlled State Board of Elections in North Carolina show that 64% of women who are eligible voters don’t have the ID they will need to vote in 2014. That is 62% of women without the newly required ID who voted in 2012.
Republicans cling to the fantasy that women and minorities don’t need the vote because as Sarah Jones pointed out, ”Republicans were our champions 100 years ago.”
It also took decades of organizing, signing petitions and picketing by women to gain the right to vote before Republicans passed the 19th Amendment. Racial minorities still faced discrimination and many lost their lives fighting for the vote. Meanwhile rich white men have the luxury to take the right to vote for granted because in their minds it is their “God given” right, while it is their right to decide if and when women and minorities should be bestowed the “privilege” of voting. That’s why the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965. It remains necessary today because Republicans would rather rule without accountability. They prefer to champion corporate greed, while declaring war on the rights of living breathing human beings. In other words, today’s GOP is nothing like Lincoln’s Republican Party.
Even if Republicans continued to champion our interests that isn’t a substitute for the vote. Obviously, the rich white men in the Republican Party are well aware of the distinction.
Ms. Woodbury has a graduate degree in political science, with a minor in law. She is a qualified expert on political theory with a specific interest in the nexus between political theories and models and human rights.
Based on her interest in human rights and the threats that authoritarian regimes are to them, Ms. Woodbury’s masters thesis examined the influence of politics on the enforcement of international criminal law was cited in several academic studies.
Published work includes case summaries for the War Crimes Research Office.
She has an extensive background doing legal research in international and domestic law.
Ms. Woodbury’s work for politicusUSA includes articles on voting rights, the right to asylum and other civil/human rights.