Just as ALEC’s “Stand Your Ground” Laws don’t seem to have done much to stop crime but have definitely allowed paranoid bigots to act out their deadliest desires, ALEC’s voter ID laws, which their backers tout as a way to stop the nonexistent problem of people using fake IDs to vote, have instead kept at least nine voters who have every right to vote from being able to do so. Here are some of their stories:
Ricky Tyrone Lewis is a 58 year-old Marine Corps veteran. Despite the fact that he was able to offer Wisconsin voting officials proof of his honorable discharge from the Marines, Milwaukee County has been unable to find the record of his birth that he needs in order to obtain a voter ID card.
Ruthelle Frank is an 84 year-old former elected official who voted in every election for the last 63 years, yet she will be unable to obtain a voter ID unless she pays a fee to obtain a birth certificate from the Wisconsin government — despite the fact that the Constitution explicitly forbids any voter from being charged a fee in order to vote. Worse, because the attending physician at her birth misspelled her name on her original birth certificate, she may need to pay hundreds of dollars in court fees to petition the state judiciary to correct her certificate before she can obtain a voter ID.
Dorothy Cooper is a 96-year-old African-American woman who says she has voted in every election but one since she became eligible to vote. Yet, when she attempted to obtain a voter ID, she was turned away because she did not have a copy of her marriage license. In a subsequent interview, Cooper said that she didn’t even have problems voting in Tennessee “during Jim Crow days” — only now under Voter ID.
You know, it might be time to ask certain big companies that like to promote themselves as nice guys — like, say, Microsoft and its founder Bill Gates — why they continue to back ALEC and the groups backing its initiatives when its most famous legislative fruits have given us disenfranchisement and death, both of which have the specter of racial bigotry behind them.