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“Lowest voter participation in the nation. Lowest voter registration in the nation. We dug a deep deep hole in Texas. And what we’ve gotta do is stop digging.”
-Leland Beatty

 

           Voting is a right and it’s some states it’s pretty easy to do. You register, and then you go to the polling place and mark your ballot. But in more than half the states, laws have been passed called voter ID laws, that require you to not only register but bring specific forms of ID with you when you go to vote.

There are concerns these voter ID laws discourage some people from going to the polls and voting — particularly poor and minority voters. The federal courts are reviewing a voter ID law passed in North Carolina, and in North Dakota, Native American leaders have filed a lawsuit claiming that Voter ID laws in that state disproportionately impact their community. And in Kansas the ACLU is challenging a requirement that residents show proof of citizenship when they try to register to vote.

And then there’s Texas and its voter ID law. By 2050 the state’s population is expected to double–and most of that growth will come from the Latino community. How are all of these voter ID laws impacting who votes today in the US, and who will have access to the polls in the future?

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PRODUCTION NOTES

Harris County USA was reported by Jonathan Hirsch  and edited by Annie Aviles with sound design and production by Jonathan Hirsch. Production assistance from Tony Gannon, Ashley Cleek, Alyssa Bernstein, Kirsten Jusewicz-Haidle, Shani Aviram and Nancy Mullane.

Our advising scholar on Harris County was Heather Ann Thompson. Dr. Thompson’s new book, Blood in the Water: The Attica Uprising of 1971 and its Legacy  will be published in 2016 by Pantheon Books.

Full transcript of Harris County

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This episode of Life of the Law was funded in part by grants from the Open Society Foundations, the Law and Society Association, the Proteus Fund and the National Science Foundation.

We want to thank  Squarespace for sponsoring this episode.

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