Grimes Compares Voter ID Laws to Jim Crow Era Suppression

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is speaking out against the rise of voter identification laws across the country, and she blames Republican leaders for pushing the measures.

Several states have passed new measures to protect the integrity of elections, but they have also made registering and voting more difficult. Many of the laws require voters to present a government-issued photo ID before casting a ballot.

But opponents, including Grimes, say the new laws target young, minority and elderly voters, who tend to vote Democratic. 

“Here in Kentucky we’ve seen no indication of in-person fraud, which would indicate that we would need to change or alter or amend our current ID requirements. But what we have seen in states surrounding us, they are Republican controlled both at the governor’s level and state legislature level. We have seen ID requirements being strengthened to be a government issued id,” she says.

Those in favor of voter ID laws received a victory from the courts when a Pennsylvania judge refused to halt a new state law on Wednesday, rejecting claims it will disenfranchise thousands of residents. Civil rights groups had argued the law is unconstitutional and would bar thousands from the polls on Election Day.

The judge did not make a decision on whether the law violates the state constitution, but rather ruled that the plaintiffs had failed to show that requiring an ID would disenfranchisement voters.

Earlier this year, a Republican lawmaker in Pennsylvania raised concerns about the new law when he said it is going to allow GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney to win the state.

Grimes, who is a Democrat, says states that are adopting voter ID laws are returning to an era similar to Jim Crow segregation.

“What we’re seeing is a resurrection of Jim Crow laws, in essence what I equate to being a poll tax,” she says. “Regardless of whether they’ll admit it or not, the unintended consequence is suppression of the vote.”

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