Voter Rights Matter:

In the News

Ohio set to pass tough new round of voting restrictions »

MSNBC —

Ohio Republicans are poised to pass a new round of restrictive voting laws this week. Taken together, the measures could limit access to the ballot in this year’s midterms and the 2016 presidential race, and revive the obscenely long lines at the polls that plagued the Buckeye State a decade ago.

No Republican has ever won the White House without winning Ohio, and it remains the single most pivotal state in presidential elections. That status is giving an added intensity to the battle over voting rights there.

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Judge to decide proof-of-citizenship voting rule »

SF Gate —

A federal judge says his decision in a lawsuit asking federal election officials to require proof-of-citizenship for voter registrations will be based on who gets to decide what is necessary to determine voter qualifications.

U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren is hearing arguments Tuesday in a lawsuit brought by Kansas and Arizona seeking a court order to force the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to modify federal voter registration forms to require more documentation for residents of their states.

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Holder - Repeal laws restricting voting by ex-convicts »

USA Today —

Attorney General Eric Holder called Tuesday for the repeal of state laws that restrict the voting rights of millions of former prison inmates.

In a speech to the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights at Georgetown University Law Center, Holder said it is “time to fundamentally re-think laws that permanently disenfranchise people who are no longer under federal or state supervision.”

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In Ohio, The Subtle - And Not-So-Subtle - Strategies of Voter Suppression »

Huffington Post —

As everyone knows, Presidential elections can swing on the outcome in Ohio. Voters - and votes - in the Buckeye State are courted, coveted, and counted with care.

In recent days, an alarming episode has been on unfolding in Hamilton County, where I serve as a Cincinnati City Councilman. Cloaked in the guise of an administrative relocation is a Republican move aimed at voter suppression.

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Judge to decide proof-of-citizenship voting rule »

SF Gate —

A federal judge says his decision in a lawsuit asking federal election officials to require proof-of-citizenship for voter registrations will be based on who gets to decide what is necessary to determine voter qualifications.

U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren is hearing arguments Tuesday in a lawsuit brought by Kansas and Arizona seeking a court order to force the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to modify federal voter registration forms to require more documentation for residents of their states.

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Texas Voter ID Law Took Effect Yesterday »

Ms. Magazine —

A restrictive voter identification law took effect in Texas yesterday - the same day that early voting for the state’s November 5 elections began - despite an ongoing lawsuit by the Department of Justice to stop it. The law will require Texans to show one of a narrow list of acceptable government-issued photo IDs in order to vote. The list includes expired gun licenses from out of state, but does not allow voters to present student IDs or social security cards.

These laws are enacted under the guise of protecting against voter fraud–which is extremely rare–but in reality they strip voting rights from students, women, people of color, and low-income voters who are less likely to have an eligible ID.

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Secretary of state issues final voter ID rules »

Montgomery Advertiser —

The Alabama Secretary of State’s office Tuesday issued final rules on the implementation of the state’s voter identification law, with an eye toward making voter ID cards available by January.

In 2011, the Legislature passed a law requiring voters to present a photo ID issued by a government, tribe, college or university for the 2014 elections. The law initially was subject to preclearance by the U.S. Department of Justice under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, but the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the criteria for preclearance earlier this year.

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Halt Voter Purge; Leave Rolls To Supervisors »

TheLedger.com —

Here we go again.

As we gear up for another election, Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner has announced another attempt at purging the state’s voter rolls of non-U.S. citizens.

Hearken back to last year’s voter-purge debacle, in which the state’s list of targeted non-U.S. citizens started at 182,000, shrank to 2,600 and was further reduced to 198. The county supervisors of election stopped the effort shortly before voting started for the presidential election.

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Coalition will boost Jewish participation in improving voting rights »

St. Louis Jewish Light —

A new partnership aimed at increasing Jewish participation in a coalition to protect voting rights and promote civic engagement was launched this week.

The Andrew Goodman Foundation, named in memory of a civil rights activist who was murdered by the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi in 1964, and Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice, will work together for the next two years as part of a national, multi-racial, interfaith and intergenerational coalition.

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Advocates Hopeful About Restoring Voting Rights to Ky. Felons »

WKMS 91.3 FM —

Advocates who have pushed unsuccessfully for years to restore voting rights to convicted felons after they’ve completed their sentences are hopeful that support from Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul will provide a needed boost.

Lexington resident Tayna Fogle had her voting rights restored by former Govs. Paul Patton and Ernie Fletcher. Fogle said the initiative seems to be energized heading into January’s legislative session.

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Virginia election officials purging almost 40,000 voters »

Washington Post —

The Virginia Board of Elections has purged more than 38,000 names from its voter rolls just weeks before Election Day, despite serious concerns from local election administrators that many of those voters are still eligible to cast a ballot.

The purge comes a few months after the board said it would use several databases to find voters who were now ineligible to vote, either because they had been convicted of a felony or moved out of state. But after the board sent an initial list of voters who would be purged to local election administrators, those administrators found what they said were hundreds of voters who shouldn’t be removed.

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NJ lawmaker: Thousands of votes for gov. to be voided »

Philly.com —

Thousands of mail-in votes for New Jersey’s gubernatorial election will be voided because they were sent in the same envelope used for Wednesday’s special election, Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman said Thursday.

Coleman, a Democrat whose district covers Mercer and Hunterdon Counties, said the decision was made by the state Attorney General’s Office, which did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Rick Scott finally admits 2012 voter purge was flawed »

MSNBC —

As he prepares to launch his second voter purge in less than two years, Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s administration is finally admitting that his first purge effort was less than perfect.

“I accept responsibility for the effort,” Scott’s Secretary of State Ken Detzner, told the Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times. “It could have been better. It should have been better.”

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Rick Scott Administration Acknowledges Voter Purge Flaws »

Huffington Post —

Florida Governor Rick Scott’s (R) administration is acknowledging problems with its attempt to remove noncitizens from state voter rolls during the 2012 election, admitting that the program was flawed from the beginning.

“I accept responsibility for the effort,” Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner said in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald. “It could have been better. It should have been better.”

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Not All Voters Equal as States Move to Two-Tier Ballots »

Bloomberg —

Arizona and Kansas, where top state posts come up for grabs next year, are creating two-tiered voting systems to bar some residents from casting ballots in all but congressional races unless they prove they’re U.S. citizens.

The dual methods are in response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that bars Arizona from rejecting federal voter-registration forms that don’t include proof of citizenship, which is required by both states. To comply, both plan to provide those voters with ballots listing just federal races.

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N.C. voting changes affect students »

The A&T Register —

By 2016, college students and citizens in North Carolina will have to adhere to new policies in regards to voting.

By way of a Youtube video, Governor Pat McCrory announced in August that he signed House Bill 589. “Common practices like boarding an airplane and purchasing Sudafed require photo ID, and we should expect nothing less for the protection of our right to vote,” the governor said.

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Texas' Voter ID Laws Are Plain and Simple Discrimination »

US News —

Last month, the Department of Justice sued Texas over the state’s discriminatory and punishing voter ID law, SB 14. The same law was blocked by a federal court last summer, which determined that a “law that forces poorer citizens to choose between their wages and their franchise unquestionably denies or abridges their right to vote.”

In a state and country where voters of color are significantly more likely to live in poverty than white voters, the impermissible choice that Texas has imposed on voters discriminates on the basis of class and race both. In the wake of Supreme Court’s decision earlier this summer in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, which immobilized a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, the Department of Justice’s lawsuit represents the next phase in pushing back against measures that are intended to make it harder for people of color to vote, and less likely that our votes will count when we do.

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Wasserman Schultz: King fought for voting rights »

USA Today —

On August 28, 1963, when the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King climbed the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to deliver that immortal speech, the idea of racial harmony and equal opportunity was – as he so eloquently put it – a “dream,” one that did not resemble the waking reality of segregation and racial bias that pervaded all aspects of mid-20th Century America.

In the half-century since, America has made progress toward achieving social justice and yet the challenge King placed upon future generations remains. To truly honor the anniversary of the March on Washington, we must renew our commitment to making King’s dream real.

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Republican Urges Congressional Action on Voting Rights Act »

US News —

It’s a lonely place to be as a Republican, but Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., took a leap Monday and called for Congress to update the Voting Rights Act, the landmark civil rights legislation that insured nondiscriminatory ballot box practices for nearly 50 years.

A core provision, a formula that determined which areas of the country received extra scrutiny when adjusting voting laws, was struck down by the Supreme Court in June.

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Department of Justice Sues Texas Over Voter ID Law »

Politico —

Attorney General Eric Holder will sue to challenge the Texas voter ID law, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

The Justice lawsuit will allege that the Texas law violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which was among the elements of the law that remains in effect after the Supreme Court invalidated the preclearance requirements in Jun.

Justice will also seek to intervene in a separate lawsuit against Texas over the state’s redistricting laws, arguing that the state should still be forced to submit to federal preclearance.

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Department of Justice Sues Texas Over Voter ID Law »

ABC News —

The Obama administration will sue Texas to block its voter ID law, the Justice Department said on Thursday.

The lawsuit will challenge the law under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or language. Texas moved swiftly to implement its voter ID law after the Supreme Court in June struck down a requirement that states with a history of racial discrimination seek permission from the federal government to change their voting laws.

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Kan. proof-of-citizenship law targeting fraud puts voting rights in limbo for 15,000 residents »

Washington Post —

TOPEKA, Kan. — A few weeks after moving to suburban Kansas City from the Seattle area, Aaron Belenky went online to register to vote. But he ended up joining thousands of other Kansas residents whose voting rights are in legal limbo because of the state’s new proof-of-citizenship rule.

Starting this year, new voters aren’t legally registered in Kansas until they’ve presented a birth certificate, passport or other document demonstrating U.S. citizenship. Kansas is among a handful of GOP-dominated states enacting rules to keep noncitizens from voting, but the most visible result is a growing pool of nearly 15,000 residents who’ve filled out registration forms but can’t cast ballots.

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Courts will review N.C. voting law »

Durham — Judges have now been asked to decide whether an elections overhaul in North Carolina requiring photo identification to vote, scaling back early voting and ending same-day registration is discriminatory or permitted under the law.

But the future of the new law signed this week by Gov. Pat McCrory ultimately could be chosen by voters deciding in 2014 whether Republican legislators who wrote the law should be re-elected or turned out of office so Democrats can return to power.

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North Carolinians Oppose Voter Bill »

Public Policy Polling —

PPP’s newest North Carolina poll, conducted over the weekend, finds that only 39% of voters in the state support the voting/elections law to 50% who are opposed to it.

It’s true that voter ID on its own is a popular concept with voters. In January of 2011 we found 66/27 support for it. But all the other stuff lumped into the bill along with voter ID is unpopular enough to make the overall bill a loser in voters’ eyes.

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North Carolina Sued Over Early Voting Law by Women’s Group »

Bloomberg BusinessWeek —

North Carolina was sued by the League of Women Voters over claims that changes in the state’s election laws restrict early voting, and eliminate same-day voter registration and some provisional ballots.

The organization joined other non-profit groups in the suit, filed today in federal court, in arguing the recently enacted Voter Information Verification Act, signed into law today by North Carolina Governor Patrick McCrory, is “discriminatory and unduly burdensome” to their efforts to increase voter participation, according to the complaint.

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North Carolina governor signs extensive Voter ID law »

Washington Post —

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) on Monday signed into law one of the nation’s most wide-ranging Voter ID laws.

The move is likely to touch off a major court battle over voting rights, and the Justice Department is weighing a challenge to the new law, which is the first to pass since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the Voting Rights Act.

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Really? Governor Scott's Renewed Efforts to Purge Florida Voters Not Necessary »

Democrats.org —

Governor Scott is back at it. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act, Governor Scott announced he is taking another shot at purging Florida’s voter rolls of ‘noncitizens.’

Just to be clear, we’re talking about Republican purging efforts botched so badly that Governor Scott himself had to vote by provisional ballot in 2006 because the purge had determined he was dead.

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Florida’s Scott Rolls Political Dice With New Voter Purge »

Bloomberg —

Republican Governor Rick Scott is restarting his high-profile purge of suspected noncitizens from Florida’s voting rolls in a move to appeal to core supporters that risks losing the backing of key swaths of the electorate.

Scott, seizing on the U.S. Supreme Court’s rejection of a main element of the Voting Rights Act, has revived one of his administration’s most contentious missions: rooting out noncitizens from Florida’s list of 11.8 million voters.

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Kobach, Brownback team up to suppress Kansas voters »

Kansas City Star —

Gov. Sam Brownback has three options when it comes to the rights of Kansas voters.

  • Option 1: Agreeing with Kansas Secretary of State and fellow Republican Kris Kobach, Brownback could say publicly that he fully supports the new law that has prohibited more than 13,000 Kansans from completing their voter registrations.
  • Option 2: He could tell Kobach and others that he’s appalled by how the law is being implemented and he’ll make sure it’s repealed, post-haste.
  • Option 3: Finally, Brownback could take the meek, I’m-not-really-a-leader path and say, meh, this is Kobach’s worry.
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Brownback hesitant to weigh in on voter registration problems »

Lawrence Journal-World —

Topeka – Gov. Sam Brownback on Monday didn’t seem to want to get involved in the controversy over the 13,000 Kansans whose voter registrations are up in the air.

When asked about it, Brownback, a Republican, referred to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, also a Republican. “It’s in the secretary of state’s purview,” Brownback said.

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The case of 'zombie' voters in South Carolina »

Washington Post —

“We just recently learned that there are over 900 individuals who had died before the election (and had voted) and at least 600 of those individuals had died way outside the window that an absentee ballot could have been sent, so we know for a fact that there are deceased people whose identities are being used in elections in South Carolina.”

— South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson (R), on Fox News, Jan. 21, 2012

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