New Republic piece puzzles out why RI passed a voter ID law

The pension overhaul wasn’t the only surprising-for-a-blue-state policy Rhode Island enacted in 2011. Another that passed to liberals’ dismay was the new law requiring that voters show an ID before they cast a ballot.

The New Republic’s Simon van Zuylen-Wood, who graduated from Brown last year, returned to Rhode Island recently in an effort to answer the question that headlines his new article, out today: “Why Did Liberal African-Americans in Rhode Island Help Pass a Voter ID Law?”

Here’s an excerpt:

Whether minority legislators voted for voter ID in good faith, or to disenfranchise ethnic rivals, the law effectively contributes to the state’s increasingly conservative slant. More important, Rhode Island’s poor, elderly, and minority citizens risk losing their vote when the law takes effect in 2014. And while Rhode Island’s law is actually more lenient than those passed in other states, and was not part of the centralized Republican push to move such bills through state legislatures, it may have more staying power.

Read the whole story here. (Full disclosure: Simon interviewed me as he prepared his story.) The best quote comes from State Rep. Anastasia Williams, D-Providence, who tells TNR she noticed one particular case of voter fraud because the alleged perpetrator “was a hottie.”

• Related: Is RI’s new voter ID law just an ‘oddity’ – or a ‘game changer’? (July 28)

  • OREO

    More important, Rhode Island’s poor, elderly, and minority citizens risk losing their vote when the law takes effect in 2014.
    Can someone please explain this to me? I see it as illegal’s losing out?

  • Abner

    Here’s an idea, instead of crying about having to produce an ID, how about taking steps to obtain one. They have two years. If you can’t put that together in that timeframe, I would suggest that the “poor, elderly, and minority citzens, who risk losing their vote” are more interested in avoiding scrutiny regarding their eligibility to vote, than any impediment to their doing so. You have TWO YEARS. Make a move.

  • Downsized54

    Its not that hard to pick up an ID card.Well unless you are wanted by the police.The Democrats want their illegals to vote for them.

    • a cut above the rest

      I would be very suspicious of an adult going to vote (or anywhere for that matter) that cannot present ID when asked. That’s very shadey.

  • RISailor

    “More important, Rhode Island’s poor, elderly, and minority citizens risk losing their vote when the law takes effect in 2014.”

    What a load of CRAP! As everybody has pointed out – it is EASY to get an ID if you are here legally and are not wanted by the police. And the Secretary of State’s Office noted that it would facilitate issuing ID’s for the purposes of voting.

    The claim that the poor, elderly, and minority citizens will be disenfranchised is a liberal myth that lazy writers continue to repeat.

    • a cut above the rest

      I so agree with your post. You drive=you have a picture ID, you go to college=picture ID, all my workplaces in the last 15 years=you have a picture ID….

      You can’t produce one as an adult–something’s not right.

  • a cut above the rest

    Good! We need to show proof of ID to vote. I lived in Bristol, RI and I questioned many at the booths! I saw many family members coarsing their parents, who couldn’t speak a word of english, to who to vote for, standing side by side with them pointing at ballots.

    The volunteers at the polls worried more about eating their donuts than monitoring the lines, the voters and keeping things running smoothly and organized.

    Glad I’m not living in that town anymore!

  • PalmTree

    The difference with hindering someone from voting is voting is a constitutional right. There are only a handful of voting ID issues nationwide and there has not been an issue in state of RI so passing the voter ID law was needless and can only violate someone’s constituional right.

    • Abner

      “Hindering” them?? They won’t be “hindered” if they GET AN ID. Name one person, legally eligible to vote, who claims they cannot obtain an ID in two years time, and why they can’t do it. Just one.

    • SentToCoventryRI

      The right to keep and bear arms is also a constitutional right. Do you support repealing ID requirements to purchase firearms?

  • Phrankie

    Does any one else find it puzzling that the same people who cry about big government are the same ones who want the government to pass laws to stop abortions and also want people to obtain a government issued ID?

    • Mr. Fish

      sssshhhhhh. Don’t point out their hypocrisy. The “disappearing” will start soon enough.

    • Abner

      What “same people” Phrankie? Or did you make that up?

  • Stash-a-licious

    Anastasia Williams is an embarrasment to the legislature. If she is aware of a specific individual who works for the City of Providence and is engaged in voter fraud, she is obligated to denounce that person – as a citizen, as a public employee (of the City, no less) and as an elected official.

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