Panel Suggests Ways to Improve Elections
Will Lester, AP - Sep 19, 2005
WASHINGTON - A private commission trying to restore public confidence in national elections recommended on Monday requiring a free photo ID for voters, drawing opposition from Democrats and some voting rights activists.
Critics suggested that having to acquire the ID cards in order to vote could be an obstacle for minorities, the poor and older Americans and might intimidate some people.
"We believe such a requirement would constitute nothing less than a 21st century poll tax," said a letter from Reps. John Conyers, D-Mich., and John Lewis, D-Ga. Poll taxes were once used in some states to prevent black citizens from voting.
Former President Carter, a co-chair of the commission, said he was hesitant about the free photo ID proposal at first, but laws passed in some states like Georgia convinced him that a national approach was a better idea. Republican lawmakers in Georgia pushed through legislation that requires a new voter identification card that costs $20 for five years.
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