Your papers please

How to suppress the vote:

When [Ohio] Gov. Mike DeWine last week signed what’s been called the nation’s strictest voter ID law, it raised fears that it would disenfranchise large numbers of voters in poor communities where people are less likely to meet the new requirements.

Why? Because strict ID is not wealth-neutral.

Those fears seem to be supported by a September report that estimates 1 million Ohioans have suspended licenses because of debts from things such as a lack of insurance, unpaid fines, and court costs. That’s in a state with 8 million registered voters.

The analysis, by the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, said the suspensions by far fall most heavily on impoverished urban communities of color. In other words, debt-related suspensions disproportionately affect some of the communities least likely to vote for the Republican officials who passed and signed the voter ID law.

It’s a nice little racket. You want laws that protect rich people at the expense of poor people? Simple: make it harder for poor people to vote.

“There is absolutely no evidence that we need a voter ID law to prevent voter fraud,” said Colin Marozzi, deputy policy director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, which opposes the law.

Even so, the voter ID law, House Bill 458, makes it considerably harder for many of the poorest to vote in Ohio. While voters previously could use documents such as bank statements and utility bills to establish their identity, they now must have a driver’s license, state ID, passport or military ID to cast a vote.

Not education-based ID though. That won’t work.

Perhaps tellingly, college, and university IDs didn’t make the list of acceptable IDs approved by Ohio’s heavily gerrymandered Republican legislature. College students were credited with helping to deliver victories to Democrats in key races around the country in the November election.

Suppress that vote.

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