A Fresh Look at the Voting Process : Organization Urges Pennsylvania Schools to Update Their Student IDs to be Ready

Dear Pennsylvania ADP Campus Coordinators,

This November will be an exciting time on Pennsylvania college campuses. Students will vote–many for the first time–in a pivotal election. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law will make it more difficult for many of your students to exercise their democratic rights. We are writing to ask you to protect your students’ right to vote by making sure that a student ID can be used as voter ID by adding an expiration date if it does not already have one.

Governor Tom Corbett signed the new voter ID law on March 14.  A student ID from an accredited Pennsylvania public or private institution of higher learning is on the list of acceptable photo IDs, but it must contain an expiration date.  According to a study by PennPIRG, about 85% of students in Pennsylvania attend a college or university with a student ID that lacks an expiration date.  A more recent survey done by the ACLU, Rock the Vote, and the Fair Elections Legal Network indicates that most schools have no plans to change their IDs or to implement an education campaign to inform students about the new law. Without a conforming student ID, many students may be unable to vote in 2012.

Your school can help students participate in this election in the following ways.

    • Distribute a sticker with an expiration date that students can affix to their IDs.
    • Change the design of the student ID so that it has a printed expiration date.
    • Implement a proactive plan to give students new IDs or stickers and alert the student body of the changes.
    • Print stickers that explicitly state that the printed date is an expiration date. The Secretary of State has stated that volunteers at polling places will decide on Election Day whether a sticker with just “Fall 2012,” for example, is sufficient or not.
    • Inform students of the new requirements and that, if they wish to vote in Pennsylvania, they need to have an acceptable voter ID with them on Election Day.

Thank you for taking the time to consider this important issue. If you have questions about Pennsylvania’s new ID law or other ways in which your school can actively promote voter registration and voting, contact Dan Vicuña, Staff Attorney and Campus Vote Project Coordinator, Fair Elections Legal Network (dvicuna@fairelectionsnetwork.com).

Rest of the article here

Reading the Voter Eligibility Charts : Current Info on Voting Laws and Eligibility in Your State

Voting Eligibility Example

Existing Law:
Vote a challenged or provisional ballot or vote, if s/he is identified by two poll workers as an eligible a voter on the poll list, and both poll workers sign the voting sign-in register by the voter’s name.
New Law:
Vote a provisional ballot or vote a regular ballot if s/he is identified by two election officials as an eligible voter on the poll list, and both election workers sign a sworn affidavit so stating.

Rest of the charts with country-wide details here

Symptoms of Voter Suppression : Republican Voting Obstacles in Kansas

If you think the metastasizing problem of photo voter ID laws has no connection to anti-immigrant, “illegal alien” paranoia, one need only examine the example of Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach. Not satisfied with the strict photo voter ID bill he helped become law in Kansas last year, Kobach also created a law that would make first-time voter registrants show proof of their citizenship — a law that isn’t slated to kick in until 2013, but which Kobach wants in place by this November’s elections. State senators recently blocked Kobach’s wishes to speed up the proof of citizenship requirement, but it’s clear where the secretary of state is headed with this: a system where anyone who is an immigrant, or even looks like they might be an immigrant, but is eligible to vote will feel discouraged from showing up at the polls to exercise their franchise toward democracy.

As Kobach keeps upping the ante for who can vote in his own state, he’s also traveling around the country kibitzing in conversations around how to make voting and immigration more difficult in other states. Note the recent report from KanVote, which through freedom of information act requests documented Kobach’s calendar and whereabouts for much of the last year. It shows Kobach spending more time lawyering immigration cases in states like Nebraska, California and Pennsylvania than he has been spending time helping Kansas government agencies administer the photo voter ID law he imposed on voters. It also shows him gathering at events sponsored by the controversial American Legislative Exchange Council and with groups that have taken hard stances against immigration.

Remember that Kobach is behind the notorious anti-immigrant bills in Arizona (SB 1070) and Alabama (HB 56) (For a perfect graphic of Kobach’s ties to anti-immigrant bills in Alabama and beyond peep this from Mother Jones), both of which have been challenged by courts and the federal government. And deny as he may his connections to organizations that have little value for South American immigrants, there is plenty of evidence that Kobach has been pallin’ around with such groups, as spelled out recently by Heidi Beirich at HateWatch.

Rest of the article here

Early to Bed, Early to Rise… Voter Suppression… the Who’s, Where’s and Why’s.

Similarly, Texas has purged over 300,000 individuals from the rolls. For Texans under 30, the largest demographic in the 2008 electorate, one in five voters’ registration was suspended.   According to the Houston Chronicle, an additional 1.5 million voters could be purged from the rolls if they fail to update their records or vote for two consecutive federal elections.

Between 2011 and 2012, voter identification and voter registration laws have been at the forefront of voter suppressive tactics. The legislative process, however, is limited to state sessions, executive orders, and the confines of Federal law. While conducting voter purges, states have taken to implementing mandates outside the parameters of federal law.

“Purges are more likely to pick up outside legislative sessions,” said Hilary Shelton, Senior Vice President of Advocacy and Policy and the Director of the Washington Bureau. “However, purges outside of the 90-day limitation can be enacted throughout the year and often under little oversight, leaving room for states to pursue purges that can largely impact those wholly eligible to vote.”

The NVRA excludes purging within 90-days of a Federal election. Additionally, the law states that purges can be conducted only in a way that is “uniformed, nondiscriminatory, and in compliance with the Voting Rights Act.”

Rest of the article here

Clearing a Path For a Reliable Voting Process : Passing the Voter Empowerment Act

…the NAACP announced its strong support for H.R. 5799, the Voter Empowerment Act.  Introduced by Congressman John Lewis (GA) and co-sponsored by 125 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, the new legislation expands and protects voters’ access to the polls and increases accountability and integrity among election officials and poll workers. The Voter Empowerment Act focuses on guaranteeing early voting, allowing same-day registration, outlawing “voter caging,” counting provisional ballots, and penalizing voter intimidation.

“Voter suppression measures launched in several states potentially disenfranchise over five million eligible voters,” said Hilary O. Shelton, the Director of the NAACP Washington Bureau and the Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy. “Although the NAACP and other organizations are increasing efforts to mobilize and inform voters of voting and registration laws, the new legislation provides an opportunity for Congress to ensure that the right to vote for all Americans is protected fairly and uniformly throughout the country”

Rest of the article here

Remedies for Republican Voter Suppression : Congressional Black Caucus Leads March With Eric Holder Against Voter Suppression

The first individual efforts by a CBC member will be a voter symposium hosted by Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.). Clay will be joined by Rev. Al Sharpton for an event on March 16 in his St. Louis district on voter suppression. There will also be voter registration and education at the event. The Missouri legislature is considering a new voter ID law that could pass in time for the November elections.

Sharpton, who hosts Politics Nation on MSNBC and the nationally syndicated radio program Keepin’ It Real, will broadcast from Alabama the week of the march. He and many members of Congress believe the voter suppression effort is an attempt to systematically roll back the gains of the Civil Rights movement.

“The drama of going back to Selma and staying every night where they stayed in 1965 creates a irrevocable picture to America that they are uprooting and undermining what was achieved in the Civil Rights movement,” Sharpton said.

Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), speaking on the tie between the march and the larger Civil Rights movement, recounted a story of how her father taught her how to deal with the Ku Klux Klan.

“We cannot go back. Too many people fought and died like my daddy so that I could vote. So that I could exercise the right to vote and I refuse — I refuse to go back,” Wilson stated. “I will march with Rev. Sharpton, I will march with anyone who is trying to stop the clock from going back,” she declared.

Wilson also said she served in the Florida legislature for 12 years and no voter ID laws passed.

“All of a sudden after the 2008 election, these [voter ID laws] miraculously appear. Why? Because we have a Black President in the White House. It’s to stop all of the people of color from standing in line and from coming out to vote,” Wilson added, putting a strong tone of urgency on the issue.

Rest of the article here

Developing Stronger Voter Access : Detroit Citizens Protest Republican Gov. Snyder’s Voter Suppression Bills

“This is the worst governor we’ve ever had, and he needs to go.”
Snyder has said the bridge will not cost Michigan taxpayers and could create up to 10,000 jobs, many of which will be available for Detroit residents.
Separately, Rev. Charles Williams II of the National Action Network led a small march from Gratiot Avenue to the church, protesting what he has called “voter suppression” bills awaiting the governor’s signature.
The series of bills would require residents to present valid identification when registering to vote or requesting an absentee ballot. If they do not have ID, they could sign an affadvit of identity, but their ballot would automatically be considered “challenged” and subject to review.
Michigan law already requires residents to present valid picture ID when voting in person, and the new legislation would require them to sign an affirmative statement of citizenship before receiving a ballot.
State Sen. Bert Johnson, D-Highland Park, attended the meeting on other business but stood with the protestors outside the church.
“These bills are part of a larger scheme that’s taking place across the nation,” he said. “It’s an agenda from tea party activists to supress urban votes, to suppress folks who are impoverished and keep them away from the polls,…
Rest of the article here