Maryann Tobin

Voters rights have come under attack recently in a number of states. Many claim the new voter ID laws are discriminatory in nature and the U.S. Department of Justice agrees. In the state of Texas, the new voter ID law has been blocked.

The Department of Justice has ruled that Texas stepped over the line with their new voter ID law, which would have denied voting rights to anyone without a government issued photo ID. The law would have had a disproportionate effect on minorities, particularly Hispanics.

"The total number of registered voters who lack a driver's license or personal identification card issued by DPS could range from 603,892 to 795,955. The disparity between the percentages of Hispanics and non-Hispanics who lack these forms of identification ranges from 46.5 to 120.0 percent," according to the DOJ ruling.

States that have attempted to change voting laws to include the need for a government issued photo ID have sited voting fraud as their reason for such laws. However the claims are not backed up by facts.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, there is almost no voter fraud taking place in Texas, or anywhere else in the United States.

In addition to a lack of evidence to support any reason to restrict voting rights, taxpayers would be on the hook to foot the bill to enforce any approved voters ID laws. In some states, the price tag for voter ID law enforcement is upwards of $16 million.

Opponents of new voter ID laws claim they unfairly target the poor and minorities who are more likely vote for Democrats. That suggests that voter ID laws are little more than a ploy by GOP governors to attempt to influence the outcome of future elections in their favor on a state-by-state basis.

With 2012 being a presidential election year, limiting the number of Democratic voters may be the only way the GOP can win, since the electorate has not been very supportive of Republican ideas, according to recent polls.

If Republicans are so insecure about the future electability of their candidates that they feel they have to restrict entire segments of the population from having access to voting booths, then they must also know that the message they are sending is not one the public supports.

If a Democrat or Republican cannot win an election fairly by allowing as many Americans as possible to vote, then they have not earned the right to govern. That's how democracy is supposed to work.