Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge (D) has asked Attorney General Eric Holder to review two new proposed voting laws in the state on the grounds that they are unfairly aimed at suppressing the votes of African-Americans.
According to Cleveland.com, Fudge contends that Ohio state Senate Bill 238 and House Bill 260 are attempts by Republicans in the legislature to disenfranchise minority voters, who historically have voted Democratic.
The two bills, she said, violate Section II of the Voting Rights Act, which forbids states from enacting “any voting qualification or practice applied by the state which results in the denial or abridgment of the right to vote based on race.”
The two bills together enact some of the stiffest photo ID requirements for voting in the country. They also shorten the time period during which voters can go to the polls early and eliminate “one step voting,” in which voters can register and cast a vote on the same day.
In her letter, Fudge noted that these types of policies have repeatedly been shown to disproportionately affect nonwhite Americans.
Over 900,000 eligible voters in the state of Ohio, she said, don’t have the necessary photo IDs to vote under the new laws, a high percentage of whom are poor, elderly or nonwhite.
“With no indication that voter fraud is a widespread problem in Ohio,” she wrote, “this proposal is a thinly veiled attempt to reduce the number of people able to exercise their right to vote. They are attempts to suppress the voting rights of African Americans and other minorities.”
She asked Holder to ”exercise your authority to examine these bills so that voting rights are not jeopardized.”
Republicans were beaten back by the courts in 2012 when they tried to restrict early voting and invalidate same day vote registrations, with one Republican committee head openly boasting that his party is doing it’s best to disenfranchise the “African-American voter turnout machine.”
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
Raw Story is a progressive news site that focuses on stories often ignored in the mainstream media. While giving coverage to the big stories of the day, we also bring our readers' attention to policy, politics, legal and human rights stories that get ignored in an infotainment culture driven solely by pageviews.
Founded in 2004, Raw Story reaches 9 million unique readers per month and serves more than 30 million pageviews.