Justice Department clears New Hampshire voter ID law
The U.S. Department of Justice has precleared a voter ID law in New Hampshire under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
The Voting Rights Act requires the Justice Department or a federal court to preclear laws affecting voters in jurisdictions with a history of voting discrimination, including New Hampshire.
The Republican-led New Hampshire legislature passed legislation in June that requires voters to present a government-issued photo identification before casting a ballot.
New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch (D) vetoed the bill because it limits the number of acceptable identifications in 2013. Student IDs and other forms of IDs issued by state, county and municipal governments will be accepted in the upcoming November election, but will not be accepted beginning in September 2013. The bill “would put into place a photo identification system that is far more restrictive than necessary,” Lynch said.
But the New Hampshire state Senate overrode the governor’s veto by a 18-5 vote days later.
U.S. Attorney General has been highly critical of voter ID laws. In a speech to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), he compared the voter ID law in Texas to poll taxes, which were used to prevent African Americans from voting.
But the Obama administration does not uniformly oppose Republican-backed voter ID laws. Last month, the Department of Justice also precleared changes to Virginia’s voter ID law.
Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin have all passed new voter ID laws since 2011.
[Casting a ballot via Shutterstock]