Amid our vacations, fireworks and barbecues Wednesday, it’s easy to forget that we are actually commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The most famous phrase from that document is one of our nation’s founding values: “All men are created equal.” As it happens, this July Fourth week brings two significant victories for that value that are worth celebrating. Most Americans are probably not aware that since 2011, more than two dozen measures have passed that will make it more difficult for some eligible citizens to vote, denying them the opportunity to participate equally in our democracy. Too often, it appears that politicians are trying to manipulate voting laws to save their jobs and pick their voters, rather than allowing all voters to choose their politicians. The good news is that the public, the courts and some elected officials have fought these new restrictions in several states, including Ohio, Maine, Missouri and, just Tuesday, Michigan. To the surprise of many — at the urging of good government and voting rights groups, several editorial pages and many of Michigan’s citizens — Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed a package of restrictive voting laws in that state. One of the bills would have restricted voter registration drives.
Under that bill’s proposed rules, the League of Women Voters of Michigan, which has conducted voter registration drives for decades, would need to attend mandatory, state-approved training sessions. But the law did not say how widely those trainings would be available. The law also would have required volunteers to sign an intimidating form threatening them with criminal prosecution for vaguely defined offenses. (In May, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle stopped a similar requirement in a Florida law, saying this can have “no purpose other than to discourage voluntary participation in legitimate, indeed constitutionally protected, activities.”) Also this week, the state of Florida confirmed it will likely not resume its purge of the voter rolls, which gained national notoriety and could have kept thousands of eligible citizens from voting in November.
Full Article: Fight back against restrictive voting laws – CNN.com.