Editorials: Voter ID bills take stage | Amarillo Globe-News

The next great presidential election battle could turn on a simple and reasonable concept: Voters should be required to present valid identification before casting a ballot. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has signed legislation requiring a valid photo ID from Texas voters.

In many so-called “battleground states,” in which Democratic and Republican presidential candidates will fight for an edge over the other, this has become a potentially huge issue.

Editorials: An attack on elections with broad implications in Wisconsin | JSOnline

The past few days in Wisconsin were made for the 24-hour news cycle. To start, over the howling protests of their lawyers, bipartisan election officials approved petitions signed by tens of thousands of voters that established special recall elections for three Republican state senators. Then, a circuit judge struck down a controversial new law that would severely curb union bargaining rights, finding that the Senate improperly passed the law without allowing for public comment. “The right of the people to monitor the people’s business is one of the core principles of democracy,” she admonished.

Finally, in case anyone’s blood pressure remained at normal levels, the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee voted to gut the state’s Impartial Justice Act, which provides public funds for judges running for the state’s highest court.

Even worse, the plan is to use the savings – about $1.8 million – toward implementing the new $7 million voter ID law signed by Gov. Scott Walker. Under the plan, all those Wisconsin voters who checked the box on their income tax form designating some of their taxes to fund clean judicial elections will instead see their tax dollars used for an unnecessary ID policy that will make voting in the Badger State more difficult than anywhere else in the country.

Editorials: Voters should be outraged at Florida Legislature | South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Over the past few months, the world’s attention has been focused on the struggle among Muslim states in the Middle East and North Africa toward the first, difficult steps of political freedom. Unfortunately for them, the road to democracy will be difficult at best, and we may not like the results. Americans understand this, as our own path to voting rights for all was long and bloody.

When the nation was founded, not everyone was able to vote, as religious clauses and property requirements limited full enfranchisement. The rights and privileges of citizenship were limited to a few land-owning, white males.

But, in the 1850s, provisions requiring citizens to own property and pay taxes in order to vote were eliminated. Not long after the end of the Civil War, black men were extended the right to vote with the 15th Amendment. Women would have to wait another half-century until the 19th Amendment in 1920 assured their right to vote.

Editorials: Voter patience, participation necessary in Wisconsin recall process | Green Bay Press Gazette

As our state elections agency navigates uncharted territory in the recall of nine state senators, the problems and delays point to this: Voters should be more engaged in regular elections.

Had that happened in the previous cycle — when voters last fall put Republicans in charge of both houses of the Legislature and the governor’s office — it is likely the outcome would have resulted in far fewer demands placed on the system. Instead, the elections agency is overburdened and lawmakers facing recalls must spend more time defending their position than legislating.

… It’s unfortunate that in all the delays and challenges, accusations have been leveled against the top election official, Kevin Kennedy, for allegedly favoring Democrats. GOP supporters have said it is unfair to move forward in filing petitions against Republicans while taking more time to review Democratic challenges.

Editorials: Identification: More troubling than you might think | Michael Casiano/The Diamondback

In February 2010, one of my roommates had the misfortune of hearing that his basement had flooded. In it, his parents had stored many of his personal legal documents, including his birth certificate and Social Security card. After successfully getting a job, he was required to present his employer with multiple forms of identification.

Possessing only a driver’s license, he had to send away for the other supporting documentation. It’s easy enough for an American citizen to do so, not factoring in the time, money and hassle of getting the documents. In the time being, however, we all joked, “You’re illegal!”

Editorials: Supreme Court recount worthwhile? Our answer? Absolutely. | Appleton Post Crescent

The recount in the state Supreme Court race is done and, as expected, incumbent David Prosser is the winner over challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg. Prosser held a 7,316-vote lead heading into the recount and finished with a 7,006-vote lead.

So, the question is, was the recount worthwhile? Our answer? Absolutely.

On its face, the margin after the election — about a 7,000-vote victory with about 1.5 million votes case — was close enough to make a recount a legitimate request. But the extraordinary circumstances nearly demanded a recount.

Editorials: Bill to end same-day voter registration in Maine a solution in search of a problem | Bangor Daily News

In 1973 the last Republican-controlled Legislature unanimously passed “same-day registration” allowing voters to register and cast their votes in a one-step process on Election Day. Same-day registration has been an overwhelming success.

Since it passed, Maine has risen from 21st in the country in voter participation to 3rd in the country. A higher percentage of Maine voters participate in our local and national elections than the voters of any other state except Minnesota and Wisconsin, both of which also have same-day voter registration. In fact, same-day registration is the single-most important thing states can do to improve voter participation by 5 to 15 percent.

Editorials: Ben Chipman: Bill to end same-day voter registration in Maine could take away right to vote for thousands of people | Portland Daily Sun

For the last forty years, Maine has allowed people to register to vote on Election Day and cast a ballot if they have proof of residency and some form of identification. A bill making its way through the Maine Legislature this session, L.D. 1376, would prohibit same-day voter registration and eliminate voting rights we have had since 1972.

It is hard enough to get people to vote now. Why would anyone propose making voting more difficult? Some have said that processing new registrations on Election Day is too much of a burden for city and town clerks and that allowing people to register and vote the same day opens up the potential for fraud.

Editorials: Jon Ralston: If only Heller had done his job as secretary of state, we wouldn’t have mess to replace him as U.S. representative | Reno Gazette-Journal

If only Secretary of State Dean Heller had written regulations for a House special election, we wouldn’t have such controversy over filling U.S. Sen. Dean Heller’s seat.

But the Republican did not, as a 2003 law instructed, write any rules, so now we have chaos, thanks to a Carson City judge’s stunning decision last week that overturned the guidelines proposed by Heller’s Democratic successor, Ross Miller. And reading through the 97-page transcript of Judge Todd Russell’s decision reveals a jurist who seemed immediately predisposed to the GOP argument that party central committees should nominate and hostile to the Democratic Party claim that it should be, as Miller calls it, a “ballot royale.”

California: Dean Logan and Michael Alvarez: Needed – a 21st century voter registration system for California | San Francisco Chronicle

The world looks to California for 21st century innovation, especially for the application of technology that makes life less costly and more efficient.

Californians are well into the 21st century, working in the cloud, using smart phones and tablet computers, and getting their entertainment on-demand by satellite. But when it comes to voter registration, California seems to be stuck in the 18th century. State law won’t allow eligible citizens in our state to register online until at least 2015 — and maybe much later.

Editorials: John Tanner: Why voter ID won’t fly in Texas | statesman.com

It has started again. Proponents of voter ID requirements are preparing another push, confident that the law is on their side. In fact, they are backing into a buzz saw.

On the surface, the pro-ID group has reason to be complacent. It won in the Supreme Court in Indiana, which had the most restrictive ID requirement in the nation, and also in Georgia. Those states, however, are a world away from Texas.

Editorials: Scot Ross: Why voter ID bill may be unconstitutional | CapTimes

We believe Wisconsin’s new voter ID law is overly burdensome on voters and that the state is simply unequipped to administer this law and ensure legal voters will not be disenfranchised or subject to a poll tax. We continue to confer with legal counsel about what potential legal challenges can be made against Gov. Scott Walker’s voter suppression bill.

The bill originally was based on Indiana’s voter ID bill. According to the U.S. Supreme Court case upholding Indiana’s bill, the lower court found that “99 percent of Indiana’s voting age population already possesses the necessary photo identification to vote under the requirements.” The Supreme Court concluded that Indiana’s law was constitutional, specifically because so few Indianans were without the state-issued photo identification.

Editorials: League of Women Voters denounces passage of South Carolina voter suppression legislation | The Pickens Sentinel

League of Women Voters of South Carolina President Barbara Zia strongly denounced passage of the “voter photo identification” bill in the state General Assembly and calls on Governor Haley to veto this legislation.

The legislation requires eligible citizens to present specific government-issued photo identification in order to exercise their constitutional right to vote. This is an expensive new government program that will create barriers to voting for thousands of citizens in an effort to “fix” a problem that doesn’t exist.

Editorials: Voter ID Will Put Right Wing Democrats In Mississippi In Tricky Position | Majority In Mississippi

Of the three ballot initiatives that voters will decide upon this fall, the generally thinking is that they favor Republicans and will drive up conservative turnout- and I think it’s fair to say they will all pass. These would be the first ballot initiatives to get the okay from voters, should they get majority support.

One of the initiatives voters will decide upon is a law to require voter identification at the polls. Throughout the country, voter ID is generally popular and there is no reason to believe it is any different in Mississippi. As it was the Mississippi Republican Party that spearheaded the signature drive, we know where the GOP stands and this is certainly a good issue for them.

Editorials: Editorial: ‘Don`t mess with TCI’s voting system’ | Turks and Caicos SUN Newspaper

Many locals reject UK’s plan to move from the traditional first-past-the-post system. Residents of the Turks and Caicos Islands have made it abundantly clear to officials from Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and by extension, the United Kingdom (UK) Government, that they have no appetite for any proposed changes to the current voting system that…

Editorials: Vote-killing regulations in Florida | TBO.com

“It doesn’t matter who the losing political party is. The scheme is an affront to democracy.” Florida Gov. Rick Scott hates regulations. Indeed, the phrase “job-killing regulations” has become a virtual motto. But while he has little use for rules intended to protect the public health, consumers or the environment, he doesn’t object to “vote-killing” regulations.…

Editorials: Push for voter ID is a threat to turnout in Pennsylvania | Philadelphia Inquirer

Last week’s relatively problem-free Pennsylvania primary was the latest to demonstrate that requiring photo identification at the polls is a solution in search of a problem. People simply don’t risk prison time to impersonate other voters. In 2008, more than six million Pennsylvanians went to the polls for the presidential election, and only four were charged…