Guest Blog: Spread the Vote Atlanta

Voter ID Laws are Voter Suppression

Written By Seth Reuter

Voter ID laws are voter suppression. Full stop. But we’re fighting back against them.

In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in an effort to counter clearly racist voting restrictions pioneered in the former confederacy. Sadly, Chief Justice John Roberts undid Johnson’s good work in Shelby County v. Holder, and the states that had been covered by the Voting Rights Act resumed discriminating against the same people the Voting Rights Act was meant to protect.

And here we are today, in one of the States that thinks a photo ID is necessary to vote. It is not. The most common argument in favor of voter IDs is that it prevents in-person voter fraud, but in-person voter fraud isn’t a problem. Voter ID laws have one purpose: to prevent people from voting. And the people they prevent from voting are exactly the people you’d imagine: homeless, poor, old, and black. People on the fringes of society. People who have been battered by history. People who need a voice in government more than most of us.

Voter ID laws prevent these people from voting by placing unnecessary barriers between the voter and the right to vote. In order to exercise your right to vote in Georgia, you need to present one of these photo IDs. And to get one of these IDs, you need to present other paperwork, such as birth certificates and proof of address. These barriers are insurmountable for someone with no home.

Spread the Vote attacks this problem by helping disenfranchised voters get the paperwork they need. We talk about which address they want to call their voting address. We help them order a birth certificate and social security card. And we take them to the Department of Driver Services to help them get their ID. And Spread the Vote pays all the fees associated with getting the photo ID. We are enfranchising every Georgian, one voter at time.

If you want to help every Georgian realize the right to vote, email georgia@spreadthevote.org.

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