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Ruling on Voter ID Law May Spur Tighter State Regulation

The Supreme Court voted 6 to 3 Monday to uphold an Indiana law requiring voters to show photo identification at polling stations. The National Law Journal's Marcia Coyle examines the impact of the Supreme Court decisions on voters and state regulations.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Indiana's photo I.D. law has been called the strictest of its kind in the nation. Today, the Supreme Court added its opinion, ruling the law is well within the Constitution.

    Ray Suarez has that story.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    What was the court's reasoning behind today's 6-3 decision? And what does it mean for next week's primary in Indiana?

    For that, we turn to NewsHour regular Marcia Coyle of the National Law Journal.

    And, Marcia, remind us what was at issue before the court.

  • MARCIA COYLE, National Law Journal:

    All right. In 2005, Indiana passed what is acknowledged to be the most restrictive voter photo I.D. law in the country. It requires voters to produce a government-issued photo I.D. at the polling place.

    It doesn't apply to absentee ballots or to people who live and vote in a state licensed facility, such as a nursing home.

    Shortly after it was enacted, two lawsuits were filed claiming that the law violates the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, that it burdens the right to vote. That was what was at issue before the court.

    When the law was moving through the legislature, the Republicans in the Indiana legislature all supported it, claiming that it was important to curbing voter fraud.

    All the Democrats opposed it, saying that there was no evidence of voter fraud at the polling place. It's a law that's designed to deter poor, elderly, minority voters, disabled voters, many of whom tend to vote Democratic.