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The right to vote is a cornerstone of democracy in America.
For the past two years, several states have passed some form of legislation requiring voters to show government-issued photo identification in order to register to vote and/or cast a vote. These laws may make voting more difficult for senior citizens given the barriers to obtain identification. This is particularly concerning to senior citizens of color who are more likely to lack the documents to get a government-issued ID because of Jim Crow and other historical factors.
In our new short report, Citizens Denied, we estimate that in states with strict photo ID laws:
- Nearly one in two Black voters 65 and older may have a harder time voting.
- Nearly one in three Latino voters 65 and older may have a harder time voting.
- Seniors of color may be excluded at a rate two to three times the rate of White seniors.
- A total of nearly 140,000 voters of color 65 and older may have a harder time voting in the 2012 election.
Because many photo ID laws have yet to pass, the electoral implications go well past the 2012 elections. Our new report shows that strict photo ID laws have the potential to make it harder for nearly a half million senior voters of color to vote. Combined with other reports that show that approximately 700,000 youth of color may be disenfranchised by photo ID laws, the case for reconsideration of photo ID laws is clear.