Who Gets To Vote? States Battle Over Voter ID and Election Day Registration

Cross-posted at Project Vote's blog, Voting Matters

Weekly Voting Rights News Update

By Erin Ferns

In light of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold Indiana's voter ID law, the state-by-state battle to pass similar legislation has escalated with politicians seeking partisan gain furiously pushing laws that hinder access to the ballot. However, lawmakers seeking to dismantle barriers to electoral participation are just as committed to election integrity and protecting the voting rights of potentially millions of voters by calling out voter ID laws as "sheer political posturing." Meanwhile, positive measures to increase participation through Election Day Registration (EDR) are gaining ground in several states even as Iowa prepares to test-drive its new EDR law in the June 3 primary.

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'Victory for Voter's Rights' Ensures Fair Elections

Cross-posted at Project Vote's blog, Voting Matters
Weekly Voting Rights News Update

By Erin Ferns

The battle  to protect the voting rights of low income and minority citizens was marked by several victories last week. In addition to the "three key battles" on voting rights outlined by Steven Rosenfeld last Friday - Missouri's controversial voter ID defeat, Arizona's agreement to comply with federal voter registration law, and voter ID crusader, Hans von Spakovsky's withdrawal from his Federal Election Commission nomination- on Monday Kansas governor, Kathleen Sebelius vetoed a voter ID bill citing "I cannot support creating any roadblock to prevent our citizens from adding their voices to the democratic discourse that makes our nation great," she said.

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Texas AG Treads Familiar Voter Suppression Path

By Nathan Henderson-James

Reports out of Texas over the past month show a pattern familiar to voting rights groups: top law enforcement officials engaged in deeply politicized efforts to push prosecutions and policies that disenfranchise low-income and minority voters. Steve Rosenfeld, writing in the Texas Observer, lays out the the whole story in detail, but the general gist feels a lot like the politicization scandal the US Department of Justice brought to light over the course of 2007.

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UPDATED - VICTORY!: MO Bid To Disenfranchise 300,000 Down To The Wire!

By Nathan Henderson-James

Partisan efforts to keep up to 300,000 eligible Missouri citizens, mostly progressive-leaning voters from elderly and low-income demographics but also including such large blocks as married women, permanently off the voting rolls are coming to a head in the Missouri Senate today as the Legislature prepares to adjourn. Measures not passed by that time will die, pending the Governor calling a special session.

Voting rights and progressive activists, led by Missourians for Fair Elections are fighting back and report an extremely tough but increasingly winnable fight against what the Kansas City Star is calling a "real deception...being perpetrated by legislators, whose claims of fraud are driving what appears to be a political agenda".

Robin Carnahan, Missouri's Secretary of State, and an opponent of the measure, HJR 48 - which would amend Missouri's constitution to require proof of citizenship to register and vote, will be holding a press conference today in Kansas City to point out the partisan agenda behind this measure.

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Block The Vote! Proof of Citizenship On The Rise, Flashpoint Mo.

Cross-posted at Project Vote's blog, Voting Matters

Weekly Voting Rights News Update

By Erin Ferns

Requiring proof-of-citizenship in order to register to vote is the latest addition to voter suppression arsenal. Spurred by Arizona's 2004 implementation of proof of citizenship requirements and the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold Indiana's strict voter ID law, proof of citizenship bills - often coupled with voter ID - are gaining traction across the country. With more than 13 million Americans lacking ready access to citizenship documentation and scant evidence of voter registration fraud by non-citizens (or any voter for that matter) leading to illegal votes, proof of citizenship requirements could have a significant impact on the electorate. Wasting no time after the high court's decision, the neighboring states of Kansas and Missouri have swiftly moved forward with efforts to pass such legislation that could take effect in the November election.

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