The phrase “voter suppression” means trying to keep certain voters from voting. The way to do it is make people show identification papers (IDs) before voting. Drivers’ licenses, birth certificates and passports are forms of identification.
Low-income voters may not have a drivers’ license. Minority voters may feel threatened by a demand for identification. Many of these legal papers may be hard to find. Not having these IDs may disqualify voters.
The political reason for the dispute is that minority voters favor Democrats.
Republican lawmakers say fraud by voters is widespread. Democrats say there is almost no voter fraud in the United States.
State officials say only legitimate voters should be able to cast a ballot. They claim they are safeguarding democracy.
Advocates said a law making voters show an ID judge is not constitutional. A Pennsylvania judge disagreed. He said the state could ask for identification before allowing someone to vote.
Other states have passed laws like Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania will issue free voter-ID cards beginning August 27, 2012. Residents will have to show they do not have other forms of identification.