October 14th, 2012
09:00 AM ET

Opinion: Voter ID laws reminiscent of poll taxes

Editor's Note: Kevin Gaines is a professor of history and Afroamerican and African studies at the University of Michigan. He is the author of "Uplifting the Race: Black Leadership, Politics, and Culture During the Twentieth Century." He is a past president of the American Studies Association.

By Kevin Gaines, Special to CNN

(CNN) - It is a stunning irony that the Republican Party, the onetime party of Lincoln that expanded democracy and voting rights after the end of slavery, has embraced voter suppression as a key strategy for winning the 2012 elections.

Defenders of a spate of voter ID laws claim they are trying to prevent voter fraud.

Their quixotic battle against an imagined crisis of voter fraud visible only to them undermines the voting rights of all Americans, and makes a travesty of our democracy.

Voter ID cases: Invisible voter v. imaginary fraud

Those seeking to prevent eligible voters from exercising their fundamental right of citizenship threaten to take us back to an era of state-sanctioned discrimination. FULL POST