Dems Blast Indiana's 'Unfair Voter ID Laws'

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:31 PM EDT

( - Tuesday's primary election in Indiana offered Democrats another chance to blast a new state law requiring voters to identify themselves at the polls.

A federal court last month upheld the Indiana law requiring people to show a government-issued photo ID before voting.

Tuesday's election was the first test of that new law, which Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean described as a Republican effort to keep legitimate voters from casting their ballots.

"I applaud Hoosiers who headed to the polls today in the face of an unfair law that disproportionately prevents poor, minority, elderly, rural, disabled and student voters from being able to exercise their most fundamental right as Americans-the right to vote," Dean said in a press release.

He "strongly encouraged" anyone who had trouble casting their ballots to report the problem to the DNC.

"We simply must stand up to the Republican effort to keep people from voting," Dean said.

The Indiana State Department of Health and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles offered extended hours Monday and Tuesday, trying to make it a little bit easier for would-be voters to get copies of their birth certificates, which in turn would allow them to get state ID cards or driver's licenses.

The photo-ID requirement, passed by the Republican-dominated Indiana General Assembly in 2005, is intended to reduce voter fraud.

According to the Associated Press, U.S. Rep. Julia Carson, a Democrat seeking her sixth term, ran into a snag at the polls on Tuesday because her congressional ID card did not have the expiration date required under the new law. She finally was allowed to vote, however.

People with out-of-state driver's licenses and other unacceptable ID cards were allowed to cast provisional ballots, which will count only if they follow up with the County Election Board within 13 days -- providing an acceptable photo ID at that time.

Indiana's congressional incumbents won their primaries on Tuesday.

See Earlier Story:
Democrats Will Appeal Ruling on Indiana's Voter ID Law (April 18, 2006)

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