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Press release/statement

Sixteen Senators Request DOJ to Review Restrictive Voter ID Laws

For Immediate Release
June 29, 2011

Alex Amend, [email protected], 212.389.1411
Anna Pycior, [email protected], 914.330.1103

Demos Has Published Numerous Reports on Negative Impact of Voter ID Legislation

Read the Full Letter: 

New York -- Today, Demos, a national public policy and advocacy center that has long championed pro-voter election reform, applauded a group of US Senators for calling on the Department of Justice to review a slew of restrictive photo identification laws passed or introduced in a number of states. In a June 29 letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, 16 Senators request that the DOJ examine voter ID requirements to ensure that the laws do not violate the Voting Rights Act, particularly in jurisdictions covered by Section 5. These states and localities with a history of past discrimination must show that any proposed election change does not adversely affect the voting rights of minority voters before they can be implemented. 

Strong voter participation and engagement are fundamental to a healthy democracy.  Nevertheless, many states are focused on restricting, rather than expanding the franchise. Studies have shown that 11 percent of eligible voters nationwide do not have a government-issued ID.  This percentage is higher for seniors, racial minorities, low-income voters and students. Young people, African Americans and Latinos turned out to vote in historic numbers in the last presidential election. 

As stated in the Senate letter, "Highly restrictive photo identification requirements at the polls can make it more difficult for well-intentioned voters to cast their ballots, and as far as America’s civil rights trajectory is concerned, that sort of effect takes America in the wrong direction." 

The record is clear that these restrictive photo identification serve no legitimate purpose. While proponents cite the need to guard against voter fraud, numerous recent investigations have found no evidence of substantial voter fraud of the kind voter ID laws would protect against.

Demos has been at the fore of this issue, publishing a comprehensive report on the negative impact of voter identification laws nationally ( and in states like Kansas (, Missouri ( and Wisconsin ( 

For more information on voter identification legislation, visit To interview a Demos voting rights expert please see contact information above.