New York Time

Deciding who is eligible to vote’, is a letter to the New York Time newspaper editor. It is written by Ms. Cathy J. Cohen and Mr. Jon C. Rogowski. Ms. Cohen is a professor in the political science department at the University of Chicago. Mr. Rogowski is a PhD candidate at the same department. In this letter, the two respond to a story that appeared on the front page of the New York Times paper on 24th December, 2011. This article was entitled “U.S Cites Race in Halting Law over Voter ID”.

This was a story on the decision of the Judiciary to block a new law in South Carolina. This was intended to introduce photograph identification during voting. According to those proposing this law, it was to fight fraud by giving full identification of the voter. It was a law that had already been enforced in a number of states namely: Texas, Kansas, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Other more states are considering enforcing the same law. This law was turned down by the Justice Department because it was likely to suppress a certain group of voters, something that would give some parties undue advantage over others.

During the South Carolina case, Thomas E. Perez, the assistant attorney for civil rights had written to the government of South Carolina complaining that adopting this law would lead to gross racial disparities. This is the major reason that led to the invoking of the Voting Rights Act for the first ever time.  In his submission, he stated that there were quit a large number of young registered voters. These voters had not been registered for the photo identification. Adopting this law could lock them out of voting during the elections. Furthermore, those going to be affected were likely to be the minority black voters. 

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