Senators Ask GAO to Probe Voter ID Laws as 'Poll Tax'

Four senators have asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate state laws that leave voters “unreasonably hindered or burdened” while trying to prevent voter fraud.


Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sens. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) asked GAO Comptroller Gene Dodaro in a letter today to conduct the study on an “alarming number” of voter laws — 19 — that have sprung up in 14 states.

The senators cite an unspecified study that found “the enactment of strict voter identification laws directly impacts the 21 million citizens who do not have access to a government-issued ID, the majority of whom are young voters, African Americans, Hispanics, those earning $35,000 per year or less, and the elderly.”

The letter adds that state measures requiring proof of citizenship place “extreme burdens on third-party registration efforts.”

“We know that many hard-working Americans cannot afford the costs associated with complying with these laws, from the hundreds of dollars in documentation fees required in one state to register, to the time an individual living in a rural state needs to take off from work to travel to the nearest DMV which is hours away and is no longer open late or on weekends,” the senators write. “It is clear that these state requirements can and do become de facto poll taxes for many low-income individuals.”


The senators call “voter impersonation fraud — the purported justification for these unnecessarily burdensome requirements — reportedly minimal.”

In order for Congress to “take the action necessary” against voter-ID laws, they need “an accurate picture” from the GAO, the letter states, including what percentage of eligible voters have necessary documents, broken down by race, gender and socioeconomic status, and which states have curtailed early voting to comply with new laws.

“We also request that the GAP conduct a study and present data on any prosecutions or convictions for voter impersonation fraud within each state during the previous 10 years,” the senators conclude.

On the day of the Minnesota caucus, PJ Media broke James O’Keefe video showing how easy it is to register Tim Tebow and Tom Brady to vote in the state.


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