Married, divorced women at risk of being disenfranchised on Nov. 6
Sat Sep 22, 2012 5:09 PM EDT
Women add to the list of voters who are potential casualties of disenfranchisement from restrictive voting laws, as reports show that women have an increasingly difficult path to obtaining proper photo ID.
Discrepancies over a voter's legal name and the name displayed on their photo ID could stand in the way of their ability to cast a ballot in states that have enacted strict photo ID laws. That means if a woman's name or address has changed due to marriage or divorce and her photo ID does not reflect the change, she could be turned away at the polls.
According to the Brennan Center for Justice, as many as 34% of voting-age women—who have proof of citizenship—do not have documents with their current legal name.
And as MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry points out, in Pennsylvania where a controversial voter ID has returned to a lower court, recently married or divorced women face an uphill battle in order to vote.
In an asterisk section at the bottom of the Pennsylvania Department of State Voter ID rules, the requirements reads:
*In this example a voter who recently changed her name by reason of marriage presents a valid Pennsylvania driver's license or Pennsylvania ID card accompaniedby a PennDOT update card, which is sufficient to satisfy the requirements of the Voter ID law regarding proof of identification.
"You need not one, but two forms of ID if you are a [woman]—there is officially a tax on being a woman in Pennsylvania if you want to vote," Harris-Perry said.
Ari Berman, who has covered voter ID laws extensively for The Nation magazine, added that Pennsylvania voters would also be subject to the individual discretion of workers at over 9,000 different polling places.
"We're talking about, at the very least, a lot of chaos on election day," he said.