In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, sixteen Democratic Senators urged the Department of Justice to use their “full power” to review new voter identification laws passed by state legislatures across the country out of concern that the new legislation will “block millions of eligible American voters without addressing any problem commensurate with this kind of restriction on voting rights.”
New laws requiring voters to provide government-issued photo identification, such as a state driver’s license, have swept through numerous states in recent years including Wisconsin, South Carolina, Alabama, Texas, Kansas and Tennessee. These laws, the Senators argue, restricts as many as 11% of voters nationwide, particularly senior, racial minority, low-income and student voters.
Many of these same constituents are disproportionately affected by key environmental concerns, and face the greatest levels vulnerability from pollution-induced healthcare costs, climate change and environmental accidents.
Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) initiated the letter, which was cosigned by Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV), Sens. Dick Durbin (IL), Chuck Schumer (NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Sherrod Brown (OH), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Jeff Merkley (OR), Mark Begich (AK), Ben Cardin (MD), Mary Landrieu (LA), Patty Murray (WA), Ron Wyden (OR), Tom Harkin (IA), Herb Kohl (WI) and Tom Udall (NM).
Read the full text of the letter here.