A wave of at least 180 proposed laws tightening voting rules washed over 41 statehouses in 2011 and 2012, by the count of New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice. Only a fraction of those bills passed and survived the scrutiny of the courts, but the new rules cover voters in 13 states, several quite populous, in time for next month’s election. More laws are to start afterward. Partisans and experts are arguing, over the airwaves and in the courts, about the effects of all this on voter turnout, for which few studies exist. (The most rigid voter ID laws are believed to affect about 10 percent of eligible voters, said Lawrence Norden of the Brennan Center.)
Here are four types of voter laws and where they have been put in place since 2011:
EARLY VOTING REDUCTIONS: In effect in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Ohio eliminated part of its early voting for everyone except members of the military. A federal court ruled that it must be available to all voters, and the Supreme Court recently let that ruling stand.
TOUGHER RULES FOR EX-CONVICTS: Governors in Florida and Iowa and the South Dakota Legislature made it harder to restore voting rights to those with criminal convictions.
VOTER REGISTRATION: In effect in Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. These laws add restrictions on groups that organize registration drives or individuals. Parts of Florida’s law have been blocked by a federal court.
VOTER IDENTIFICATION: In effect in Kansas, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Virginia. Pennsylvania’s strict photo ID law was recently blocked from going into effect for this election, but voters there have continued to get erroneous information from government agencies and a utility with 1.3 million customers in the state, saying that the ID law is still in place.
Those new voter ID laws join many others already in place across the country. A total of 30 states will require some form of identification, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Full Article: Getting to Vote Is Getting Harder – NYTimes.com.