Compiled by Maddie Peare, a Summer 2012 Leadership Conference Education Fund Intern
Although many conservatives argue that the implementation of Voter ID laws will decrease voter fraud, opponents argue that incidents of voter fraud rarely occur and that these laws will likely disenfranchise people of color, seniors, and low-income communities. Voter ID laws require citizens to present government-issued identification in order to vote, which disproportionately affects the aforementioned groups who are less likely to have such identification. Benjamin Todd Jealous, the CEO and president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) vehemently opposes the Voter ID laws and compares them to the civil rights battles of the 1960s. He further argues that these laws attempt to suppress the vote, and thus democracy.
In 2011, Texas passed a law which requires voters to show photo identification at the polls. Supporters of this measure argue that the majority of those who are registered to vote will have a photo ID and that it will not suppress minorities from voting. Opponents, on the other hand, argue that as many as 1.4 million voters will not be able to vote under this new law because they lack the proper identification. Although the Obama administration blocked the Texas ID law in March, Texas filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department. The trial is currently in federal court in Washington.
Are You Upwardly Mobile? Probably Not
Even though the majority of Americans believe that the American Dream is achievable, this is not necessarily the case. The probability that one achieves the American Dream, which occurs when one elevates him/herself to a higher income bracket than his/her parents, has more to do with socioeconomic status and race than with ambition. Those who are from the bottom of the income ladder are more likely to stay there than move upward, especially if they are African American. This is known as the “racial mobility gap.” According to a new study, 53 percent of African Americans in the poorest income level are unlikely to achieve upward mobility. In comparison, only 33% of whites in the same income bracket will remain there.