The National Press Club Newsmakers Committee hosted a debate on the status and impact of the new state voter identification laws. Laura Murphy, Director of the Washington legislative office of the American Civil Liberties Union, and Hans von Spakovsky, Senior Legal Fellow and Manager of the Civil Justice Reform Initiative in the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at the Heritage Foundation, discuss the actual and potential impact of the laws.
Thirty-one states have laws requiring voter identification, but some are more strict than others. Of those states, 8 have strengthened or enacted their laws within the past year. In the past in many states, voters could show a voter registration card or a utility bill at the polls to cast their vote, but now more states are making laws that require a photo ID.
Supporters of the law say that the photo ID requirement prevents fraud, but opponents say the laws single out minority groups less likely to have photo IDs. Civil liberties groups and the Justice Dept. are currently challenging voter ID laws in South Carolina, Texas, Kansas and Wisconsin.