National: Three Campaign-Finance Lawsuits On the Heels of ‘Citizens’ | Law.com

Three key campaign-finance challenges, one already at the U.S. Supreme Court, seek to push through doors left open by the justices’ controversial Citizens United decision. Advocates and opponents of campaign-finance regulations are watching, in particular, U.S. v. Danielczyk, now being briefed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. The government is appealing a district court ruling that struck down the federal ban on direct corporate contributions to candidates.

The two other challenges tackle federal prohibitions against foreign campaign contributions and contributions by individuals with federal contracts. “These lawsuits are all at least theoretically outgrowths from Citizens United,” said Tara Malloy of the Campaign Legal Center. In Citizens United v. FEC, a 5-4 Court struck down the federal ban on the use of general treasury funds by corporations for independent campaign expenditures. “Citizens United is, of course, not directly on point in terms of the law, but its reasoning is certainly being used in new areas of campaign-finance law,” said Malloy. The plaintiffs in the three cases are using, to different degrees, language in Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion that campaign-finance regulations cannot discriminate based on the identity of the speaker, Malloy said. “This is not necessarily even the holding but it is this type of reasoning that is being leveraged,” she added.

National: Redistricting Spurs Debate Over Voting Rights Act | Roll Call

As new Members take the oath of office in January 2013, something unprecedented may occur: Not a single white Democrat from the Deep South could be a Member of the 113th Congress. Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and South Carolina already have just a single Democratic Representative in Congress. Each of those Democrats is African-American and represents majority-black districts.

It’s a trend that may extend to a fifth state in the Deep South. Georgia’s Republican-written Congressional redistricting map, which became law earlier this year and was approved by the Department of Justice just before Christmas, undermines the current Democratic bent of Rep. John Barrow’s district. He’s the Peach State’s one white Democratic Member. The new map is likely to leave Georgia’s delegation with only four Democrats — representing the state’s four majority-black districts.

National: Voter ID battle will spread from South Carolina to several other key states | theGrio

The Justice Department’s decision last week to block a new South Carolina law requiring voters to present photo identification is only the first of what will be a year-long battle between advocates and opponents of stricter voting laws. And the results of those fights could determine the winner of the 2012 presidential election.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a Republican, said her state will appeal DOJ’s decision in court, casting it as “bullying” by the federal government. At the same time, civil right groups are promising to fight similar provisions in states such as Wisconsin and Texas, arguing these laws unfairly target minorities, who are less likely to hold photo identification.

National: Civil Rights Groups Press Justice Department To Block Other Voter ID Laws | TPM

It wasn’t long after the Justice Department blocked South Carolina’s voter ID law on Friday that Republicans accused the Obama administration of putting the President’s reelection ahead of preventing voter fraud. “Obama’s S.C. voter ID decision shows he’s putting the 2012 election above policy by opposing efforts to protect against cheating and fraud,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus wrote on Twitter, indirectly acknowledging that voter ID laws suppress Democratic voter turnout. “Moreover, from S.C. decision looks like they just want to benefit from cheating and fraud.”

“It is outrageous, and we plan to look at every possible option to get this terrible, clearly political decision overturned so we can protect the integrity of our electoral process and our 10th Amendment rights,” Gov. Nikki Haley said in a statement.

Here’s the problem, though: In-person voter impersonation fraud is an extremely risky and ineffective way to try to steal an election and there’s been no evidence of in-person voter impersonation fraud — the only type of voter fraud that strict voter ID laws could potentially prevent — taking place in South Carolina. But Republicans have taken the position that the laws are necessary. They also strongly reject the suggestion that the laws are racially discriminatory, though South Carolina’s own data showed that non-white voters were 20 percent more likely than white voters to lack the specific type of photo voter ID required under South Carolina’s statute.

National: Americans Elect Makes Plans to Broker the 2012 Presidential Election | Irregular Times

Richard Winger and Mark B. identify a revealing section of the Americans Elect corporate bylaws recently posted online by the states of Nevada and Florida. The Americans Elect corporation, which aims to arrange the election of its own candidates for President and Vice President of the United States, imagines a circumstance in which Americans Elect [“AE”] wins one or more states but not enough to win the presidency for itself. What will its designated electors do then?

Elector agrees that Elector shall remain unpledged until convening of votes for the Electoral College, with the exception of the following conditions:

a. Plurality or Majority Vote for AE Ticket: If the AE ticket receives more votes nationally than any other ticket, the Elector shall solely vote in the affirmative for the AE nominees and for no other candidate;

b. Coalition Agreement: If the AE ticket receives fewer popular votes nationally than the ticket of at least one of the major political parties but no party has attained a majority of the national popular vote and the AE delegates have convened in the Convention after the general election but before the Electoral College vote and endorsed a candidate of either major political party on such terms as may be reflected in the vote of endorsement, the Elector shall vote solely for the candidates as instructed by the Delegates and for no other candidate.

Under the law, of course, presidential electors are free to support whichever candidate they please. But according to the bylaws, Americans Elect will require its electors to sign a contract agreeing to the above plan or to pay a penalty of half a million dollars:

National: New laws in 2012: More voter ID | MJ Lee/Politico.com

Even as the feds move to block South Carolina from requiring voters to show a photo ID, a handful of other states are set to ring in 2012 with new laws mandating that voters produce picture identification cards before they are permitted to cast ballots. Beginning on Jan. 1, new laws will take effect in Kansas, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Texas requiring residents present a certified government-issued ID if they want to vote, according to a list of new 2012 laws compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Civil rights groups like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which co-authored an extensive report earlier this month detailing 25 voter restriction measures that passed in 2011 – eight of which were photo ID laws — say the measures represent a coordinated conservative effort to repress the voting rights of minority groups.

“Many surprises came out of the 2008 elections, including record turnout, registration and participation,” said Hilary Shelton, NAACP’s Washington bureau director, who called the number of voter laws that passed last year “unprecedented.”

National: Justice Department Rejects South Carolina’s Voter ID Law | NYTimes.com

The Justice Department on Friday blocked a new South Carolina law that would require voters to present photo identification, saying the law would disproportionately suppress turnout among eligible minority voters.

The move was the first time since 1994 that the department has exercised its powers under the Voting Rights Act to block a voter identification law. It followed a speech this month by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. that signaled an aggressive stance in reviewing a wave of new state voting restrictions, largely enacted by Republicans in the name of fighting fraud.

In a letter to the South Carolina government, Thomas E. Perez, the assistant attorney for civil rights, said that allowing the new requirement to go into effect would have “significant racial disparities.”

National: Americans Elect Seeks Third-Party Contender | TIME.com

In a city that thrives on power, being attacked is often a sign that you have some. So in mid-December, when President Obama’s advisers took aim at Americans Elect, a bipartisan clutch of political elites planning to bankroll a third candidate in the 2012 presidential election, the group’s members reacted with dramatized indignation that couldn’t quite disguise their glee. “On the left, the Democrats are worried,” says Doug Schoen, Bill Clinton’s former pollster and a frequent Obama critic. “On the right, the Republicans are worried. That tells us we are doing something right.”

What Americans Elect has done is fashion a new twist to the quadrennial quest for a credible third-party contender. Instead of an outside party, it has crafted a parallel nominating process: a nonpartisan online convention. Anyone with a valid ID and an Internet hookup is eligible to become a “delegate,” and candidates can either register by completing a questionnaire or be drafted by popular support. Through a series of online ballots, the slate of contenders will be whittled down to six in April, and then to a single winner in June. In keeping with the group’s shibboleths, the nominee must tap a member of a different party as a running mate, forming a “unity ticket” that will occupy the chasm in the political center.

National: Under Partisan Fire, Holder Soldiers On | NYTimes.com

For nearly three years, Republicans have attacked Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on national security and civil rights issues. For months, they have criticized him over a gun-trafficking investigation gone awry, with dozens of leaders calling for his resignation. Last week, more than 75 members of Congress co-sponsored a House resolution expressing “no confidence” in his leadership. The intensifying heat on Mr. Holder comes as the Justice Department is stepping into some of the most politically divisive social issues of the day, including accusing an Arizona sheriff known for his crackdowns on illegal immigrants of racial profiling, scrutinizing new restrictions on voting in search of signs that they could lower turnout among minorities and telling judges that a law banning federal recognition of same-sex marriages is unconstitutional.

As Mr. Holder’s third year as attorney general draws to a close, no member of President Obama’s cabinet has drawn more partisan criticism. In an interview last week, Mr. Holder said he had no intention of resigning before the administration’s term was up, although he said he had made no decision about whether he would continue after 2012 should the president win re-election. “I think that what I’m doing is right,” Mr. Holder said. “And election-year politics, which intensifies everything, is not going to drive me off that course.”

With F.B.I. agents standing guard outside his hotel room on Tuesday, Mr. Holder spoke hours before delivering a speech at the Lyndon B. Johnson presidential library here that criticized the largely Republican-led efforts to put new restrictions on voting in the name of fighting fraud. At that moment, protesters were rallying outside the library, some in support of stricter voter identification laws and others holding signs urging Mr. Holder to resign over the disputed gun-trafficking investigation, known as Operation Fast and Furious. Several dozen jeered when his motorcade arrived.

National: Civil rights groups fighting voter ID law | Hattiesburg American

National and local civil rights groups are asking federal officials to aggressively challenge new election laws in Alabama, Mississippi and other states, saying the laws threaten to reverse decades-old efforts to expand voting rights to all Americans. “

It’s a widespread rollback of voting rights the likes of which we haven’t seen since poll taxes,” said Judith Browne Dianis, co director of the Advancement Project, a voting rights group based in Washington. “So we’re going to fight like we did in 1964.” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said he understands the fight, calling voting rights protection a priority for the Justice Department.

“Despite so many decades of struggle, sacrifice, and achievement, we must remain ever vigilant in safeguarding our most basic and important right,” Holder said in a speech in Texas Tuesday. “The reality is that in jurisdictions across the country, both overt and subtle forms of discrimination remain all too common.”

National: The Dangers of Man-in-the-Middle in Voting Machines | ezinemark.com

The Election Day is fast approaching in every state in the country. Security experts and researchers from Vulnerability Assessment Team or VAT at Argonne National Laboratories made a video that demonstrates a simple and non-cyber man-in-the middle or MITM attacks on the voting machine – the Diebold AccuVote TS Electronic Voting Machine. The researchers Jon Warner and Roger Johnston inserted customized hardware costing only 10 dollars into the Diebold AccuVote TS.

They were able to read the touchscreen vote using it and they were able to alter the information that was stored within. Changing the electronic votes isn’t really new; however, with the addition of a 16 dollars, the team was able to have a remote control that can operate and perform the MITM attacks even if they were miles away from the machine.

It was even stated that the levels of sophistication needed to accomplish the deed was comparably easy; even starters can accomplish it without any hardships. The same multi-disciplinary team of Argonne National Laboratories that is composed of physicists, digital computer forensics experts, computer engineers, white hat hackers, security researchers and also social scientists has demonstrated the same flaws on the machines of Sequoia Voting Solutions.

National: Missouri researchers to study online voting | Washington Examiner

Civic-minded soldiers stationed across the world could one day obtain absentee ballots from their laptops or mobile phones as part of a new federal research effort to increase participation among overseas troops and other voters who are out of the country during elections.

A team of Missouri researchers trained in technology, cyber-security and elections management will use a $740,000 Department of Defense grant to explore Internet-based and mobile phone voting applications.

The project initially will focus on speeding the delivery of overseas ballots, Boone County Clerk Wendy Noren said at a Thursday press conference announcing the collaboration. Noren emphasized that voters won’t actually cast ballots online, but researchers will study ways to surmount the security obstacles to online voting. “The time it takes to deliver ballots and have ballots returned is unacceptable,” she said. “This has been a long, ongoing problem by military and overseas voters.”

National: In wake of robocalls case, Cardin seeks new federal law against election tricks | The Washington Post

Maryland Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D) on Wednesday said tricks designed to suppress voter turnout, especially those of historically disenfranchised minorities, require Congress to pass an update to the nation’s 50-year-old voting-rights legislation.

Cardin said he would file a bill Wednesday to make it a federal offense to produce or use fraudulent election material to try to mislead or discourage voting within 90 days of an election. For one, Cardin said the bill would allow prosecutors nationwide to guard against the kind of robocalls that a Maryland jury this month decided were intended to suppress black voter turnout in the state’s 2010 gubernatorial race.

Former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich’s (R) campaign manager, Paul E. Schurick, was found guilty of four counts of election law violations stemming from ordering the calls, which told voters in Prince George’s County and in Baltimore to “relax” and to not bother going to the polls. The automated call said Democratic candidate Gov. Martin O’Malley and President Obama had already been successful. Schurick is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 16, and faces potential jail time.

National: Holder to wade into debate over voting rights | The Washington Post

The Obama administration on Tuesday will wade into the increasingly divisive national debate over new voting laws in several states that could depress turnout among minorities and others who helped elect the president in 2008.

A dozen states this year tightened rules requiring voters to present state-issued photo identification at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Although Democratic governors vetoed four of the measures, liberal and civil rights groups have been raising alarms about the remaining laws, calling them an “assault on democracy” and an attempt to depress minority voter turnout. Supporters of the tighter laws say they are needed to combat voter fraud.

With the presidential campaign heating up, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. will deliver a speech Tuesday expressing concerns about the voter-identification laws, along with a Texas redistricting plan before the Supreme Court that fails to take into account the state’s burgeoning Hispanic population, he said in an interview Monday.

National: Federal Election Commission dysfunction not just politics, it’s personal | Politico.com

Behind closed doors they snipe at each other. In public they question each other’s motives. And in front of Congress, they hang each other out to dry.

That’s life on the Federal Election Commission, a panel that is supposed to answer the most important questions in campaign finance law, but whose commissioners can’t always manage civility, never mind reach agreements on the biggest fundraising and spending questions it’s tasked to answer.

Matters are expected to get worse for the commission next year, thanks to numerous federal court decisions that will likely prompt a flood of questions the panel must consider. At the helm, there will be a new chairman, who will be elected on Thursday — likely Republican Caroline Hunter, the current vice chairman.

National: Senator Cardin to introduce voter fraud bill | baltimoresun.com

Sen. Ben Cardin said he will unveil legislation Wednesday to impose criminal and civil penalties for those who distribute false voting information before an election. The effort, which Cardin is making along with New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer, comes days after Paul Schurick, former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.’s campaign manager, was found guilty of election fraud for attempting to suppress turnout with a last-minute robo-call.

The call, directed at black neighborhoods in Baltimore and Prince George’s County, told voters to “relax,” and stated before polls had closed that Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley’s reelection was assured. Schurick’s attorney, arguing that the call was protected under the First Amendment, has vowed to appeal the ruling.

National: Some liberal groups fight early-voting limits | USAToday.com

More than half a dozen states have passed new laws to reduce early voting, setting up a clash with civil rights groups and Democrats who claim the rules could disenfranchise minority voters in the 2012 election for the White House and Congress. Among states with new restrictions: Wisconsin and Florida, presidential swing states that also are key battlegrounds in the fight for control of the U.S. Senate, where Democrats hold a narrow advantage.

In Florida, nearly 3.3 million Democrats cast in-person ballots before Election Day in the 2008 contest that swept President Obama into power. By contrast, 810,666 Florida Republicans participated in the in-person early voting that year, according to the Florida secretary of State’s office. Obama won the state by 3 percentage points.

Five other states — Ohio, Georgia, Maine, Tennessee and West Virginia— this year approved laws shortening early voting, according to the non-partisan National Conference of State Legislatures. With the exception of West Virginia, Republicans control the governor’s offices and legislatures in those states. The Republican-controlled Legislature in another key presidential battleground state, North Carolina, plans to revisit a proposal next year to reduce early voting from 16 days to 10.

National: Thousands Stage Manhattan Voting Rights Demonstration | The Afro-American

The assault on voting rights and voting practices drew loud and targeted protest in New York City Dec. 11 as a coalition made up of civil rights, organized labor and community advocacy organizations staged a march and rally they called the Stand for Freedom in midtown Manhattan. The rally, attended by approximately 25,000 demonstrators, according to one estimate, marked the vanguard of a counter-assault on the drive to erode voting rights, according to its organizers who say voting rights for minorities are under siege.

The coalition initiating the march and rally included the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the National Urban League, Service Employees International Union Local 1199, and the American Civil Liberties Union, the demonstraters rallied against efforts by lawmakers in 34 states to undermine voter rights and zeroed in on 14 states where such laws have been passed. They also are trying to block attacks on early voting, Sunday voting and same-day registration.

National: New GOP Data Shows No Need For Voter ID | OpEdNews

The Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA) in an attempt to discredit a NAACP report this week on the lack of voter fraud evidence has bolstered the view that there is no need for voter ID laws, imposed by many states. The RNLA produced data showing 46 states and various convictions for voter fraud. Presumably by their absence, 4 states and the District of Columbia had no convictions.

Viewing the data for the period 2000-2010, the report by its own account shows there is no link between voter fraud in states and the need for stricter voter ID laws.   The data shows that during the entire 10 year period, 21 states had only 1 or 2 convictions for some form of voter irregularity.   And some of these 21 states have the strictest form of voter ID laws based on a finding of 2 or less convictions in ten years.   Five states had a total of three convictions over a ten year period. Rhode Island had 4 convictions for the same 10 years. Taking a close look at the RNLA data shows 30 states, including the District of Columbia had 3 or less voter fraud convictions for a 10 year period.

National: EAC: Zombie Agency – Two Remaining Commissioners Resign One Year After Agency Loses Quorum | Rep. Gregg Harper Press Release

Today, Subcommittee on Elections Chairman Gregg Harper, R-Miss., issued the following statement after the resignation of the two remaining commissioners at the Election Assistance Commission (EAC):

“Exactly one year ago today, EAC Commissioner Hillman resigned from the agency leaving it without a quorum and unable to make policy decisions. In the last week, the two remaining commissioners announced their resignations, and the President nominated the general counsel and acting executive director for a position at another agency.

National: McConnell warns of popular vote ‘catastrophic outcome’ | NBC

Addressing what he called “the most important issue in America that nobody is talking about,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell warned Wednesday that the National Popular Vote movement is “getting dangerously close to achieving their goal of eliminating the Electoral College without actually amending the Constitution — without anybody even noticing, unfortunately, what they’re up to.”

The National Popular Vote is a compact among state legislatures under which they pledge that they’ll award their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the most popular votes nationwide, even if that candidate was not the majority choice of their state’s voters.

So far, California, seven other states, and the District of Columbia (all of which have large Democratic majorities) have passed legislation taking the National Popular Vote pledge. Those states and D.C. account for 132 electoral votes. The compact says it is to take effect when states with a total of at least 270 electoral votes have agreed to it.

National: GOP Nonprofit Backs Electoral College | Roll Call

An obscure but well-funded campaign to reinvent the Electoral College and elect the president via a national popular vote has alarmed GOP leaders, who have mounted a counterattack with the help of a newly revived nonprofit. The fight over the Electoral College is “the most important issue in America nobody’s talking about,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said at a Wednesday forum co-sponsored by the Heritage Foundation and the State Government Leadership Foundation, a GOP-friendly nonprofit that has recently unveiled a new website and ramped up its operations.

The National Popular Vote campaign would replace the Electoral College system, which assigns electors to states based on the size of their Congressional delegations and requires a candidate to win at least 270 of 538 electoral votes to become president. Eight states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws that would instead deliver their Electoral College slates to the candidate who won the most popular votes nationwide. The laws will go into effect when enough states pass similar legislation to break the 270-vote threshold.

National: Postal Service cuts could interfere with elections, delay ballots | The Daily Caller

With Congress debating plans to shut down post offices and possibly eliminate Saturday mail delivery, some election officials are worried that bringing the U.S. Postal Service out of the red could harm election procedures — perhaps even in time for the November 2012 presidential election.

In November the Postal Service announced it lost $5.1 billion in fiscal 2011, not including the mandated $5.5 billion owed to the federal government to prefund retiree health benefit payments. For the service to return to profitability, it must cut $20 billion by 2015.

Senate legislation would protect Saturday service for the next two years, but a House bill would permit a reduction to five-day-per-week mail delivery six months after enactment. The Postal Service has said it intends to cut Saturday service unless Congress requires it to continue.

National: As 2012 turnout battle brews, Justice Department eyes voter ID laws | NBC

If it’s presidential campaign season, it must be time for another furor over voter fraud and voter suppression. As the Democrats did in 2008, they are again charging that Republicans are trying to use photo identification laws and other changes in election laws to winnow out would-be Democratic voters.

The difference this time: six more states have enacted laws, or strengthened their existing laws, requiring voters to show a form of photo identification such as a driver’s license in order to cast a ballot. The standout among the new voter ID states: Wisconsin, which may have a recall election next year for Republican Gov. Scott Walker. It also has a marquee Senate race and will likely be a battleground in the presidential race.

Last week Democratic National Committee chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz launched a new mobilization effort, saying, “Republicans across the country have engaged in a full-scale attack on the right to vote, seeking ways to restrict or limit voters’ ability to cast their ballots for their own partisan advantage.”

National: NAACP targets tougher voter qualifications | USAToday.com

The NAACP launches a campaign Monday against new state laws that tighten voter qualifications. The NAACP and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, two separate organizations, will release a report that finds the laws tend to suppress minority voting — a trend the report says emerged after unprecedented minority turnout in the 2008 election and Census figures that show people of color gaining a larger share of the population.

The groups will send the document to congressional leaders, state attorneys general, secretaries of state and the Department of Justice in hopes of prompting legislation to roll back laws requiring government-issued identification at the polls and reducing the number of early-voting days and other measures they say could disenfranchise as many as 5 million voters. The NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, will lead a march to United Nations headquarter in New York on Saturday to draw attention to the issue.

National: House votes to end election commission | The Hill

The House on Thursday approved a bill ending the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) that was set up to ensure states meet certain standards at the voting booth, and ending the public financing of presidential campaigns. The bill passed in a mostly partisan 235-190 vote.

The vote followed a sometimes contentious debate in which some Democrats charged that the GOP effort to end the EAC is in line with other Republican attempts to suppress voter turnout in next year’s election. The EAC was established in 2002 after the very close and controversial presidential election of 2000 election, and was meant to ensure states meet certain voting standards. The EAC has disbursed more than $3 billion in “requirements” payments to states to update voting machines and enhance election administration.

National: The GOP’s War on Voting Comes to Washington | Mother Jones

Republicans in state legislatures across the country have spent the past year mounting an all-out assault on voting rights, pushing a slew of voter ID and redistricting measures that are widely expected to dilute the power of minority and low-income voters in next November’s elections. Now that effort has come to Capitol Hill, where a congressional committee will vote Thursday on a GOP-backed bill to eviscerate the Election Assistance Commission (EAC)—the last line of defense against fraud and tampering in electronic voting systems around the country.

The EAC was created in the wake of 2000’s controversial presidential election as a means of improving the quality standards for electronic voting systems. Its four commissioners (two Republicans and two Democrats) are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. The commission tests voting equipment for states and localities, distributes grants to help improve voting standards, and offers helpful guidance on proofing ballots to some 4,600 local election jurisdictions. It also collects information on overseas and military voters and tracks the return rate for absentee ballots sent to these voters.

On Friday, a House subcommittee on elections will vote on Rep. Gregg Harper’s (R-Miss.) bill eliminating the EAC along with the longstanding public financing system for presidential campaigns. Republicans claim that the commission has already achieved its aim of cleaning up elections. Its responsibilities, they argue, can be reabsorbed by the Federal Election Commission (FEC), which oversaw voting machine certification prior to the EAC’s creation in 2002. Ending the EAC, Republicans estimate, will save $33 million over the next five years.

National: Democrats Planning Major Effort To Counter Voter ID Laws | huffingtonpost.com

Democrats said Thursday they are planning a major effort to protect voting rights in the 2012 election after several states passed voter identification laws and restrictions on early voting and same day registration. Concerned over what they call voter suppression efforts in states, party officials said they were organizing on a number of fronts to overturn some of the measures, educate voters on the types of documents necessary to vote and pursue lawsuits if necessary.

“We have a history of challenging these matters in court if need be. We’ll be more than prepared to continue that into the future,” said Will Crossley, the Democratic National Committee’s counsel and director of voter protection.

Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin have passed laws this year that allow voters without the required photo ID to cast provisional ballots, but the voters must return to a specific location with that ID within a certain time limit for their ballots to count. Efforts to restrict early voting have been approved in Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin.

National: House Votes to End Presidential Campaign Fund and Election Assistance Commission | Roll Call News

The House voted today to end taxpayer financing of presidential elections.
In a 235-190 vote, the House approved a measure to terminate the Presidential Election Campaign Fund and shut down the Election Assistance Commission, a national clearinghouse on the mechanics of voting.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the bill has no chance in the Senate, harshly criticizing House Republicans for advancing it. “Instead of making it so it’s easier for people to vote, they want to do everything they can to make it easier to make it harder for people to vote. I don’t understand this,” Reid said. “They want to have as few people to vote as possible.”

National: Voter ID Laws ‘Assault’ On Minority Voters, Says DNC Chair | huffingtonpost.com

In an effort to beat back what Democrats are calling a Republican assault on the voting rights of blacks, Hispanics and other minority groups ahead of the 2012 presidential election, the Democratic National Committee has launched a new initiative to educate voters on restrictive mostly Republican-sponsored voter ID laws.

The initiative includes the release of a report, “A Reversal in Progress: Restricting Voting Rights for Electoral Gain,” and the launch of a websitewww.protectingthevote.org. Both are intended to “expose efforts by the Republican party to limit the right to vote for political gain,” said Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz during a conference call this morning.

Schultz called the laws “a full-scale assault” on the voting rights of mostly minority voters in states where both groups strongly supported the president in 2008. And that the laws are “essentially designed to rig an election when Republicans can’t win these election on the merits.”