Earlier this month, 16 senators sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder calling for DOJ to examine whether the voter ID laws, which are the centerpiece of the GOP’s war on voting, violate the Voting Rights Act. Earlier this week, over 100 members of the House of Representatives wrote to Holder echoing this call for the Justice Department to take action to preserve America’s democracy:
Approximately 11 percent of voting-age citizens in the country — or more than 20 million individuals — lack government-issued photo identification. We urge you to protect the voting rights of Americans by using the full power of the Department of Justice to review these voter identification bills and scrutinize their implementation.
The Voting Rights Act vests significant authority in the Department to ensure laws are not implemented in a discriminatory manner. […] [T]he Department should exercise vigilance in overseeing whether these laws are implemented in a way that discriminates against protected clauses in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
The VRA not only forbids laws that are passed specifically to target minority voters but also strikes down state laws that have a greater impact on minority voters than on others. Because voter ID laws disproportionately affect minority communities, it is difficult to see how many of the voter ID laws being pushed in GOP-controlled states could survive scrutiny under this law.