An attack on the right to vote is underway across the country through laws designed to make it more difficult to cast a ballot. If this were happening in an emerging democracy, we’d condemn it as election-rigging. But it’s happening here, so there’s barely a whimper.
The laws are being passed in the name of preventing “voter fraud.” But study after study has shown that fraud by voters is not a major problem — and is less of a problem than how hard many states make it for people to vote in the first place. Some of the new laws, notably those limiting the number of days for early voting, have little plausible connection to battling fraud.
These statutes are not neutral. Their greatest impact will be to reduce turnout among African Americans, Latinos and the young. It is no accident that these groups were key to Barack Obama’s victory in 2008 — or that the laws in question are being enacted in states where Republicans control state governments. Read More
Grassroots democracy activists in China are challenging the ruling Communist Party in unprecedented numbers by harnessing Twitter and other online social media tools to campaign in elections.
More than 100 “independent” candidates including farmers, factory workers, university professors, students, journalist and writers have announced their intention to stand for election, rattling senior Party officials.
China’s network of district assemblies have traditionally been stuffed with candidates “elected” from a carefully preselected list of mostly Communist Party members, although according to the law anyone can stand if they have the support of 10 local voters. Read More
State legislatures across the country have passed a record number of laws this year requiring photo identification to vote, a controversial move pushed by Republicans and opposed by Democrats.
Proponents say the measures prevent vote fraud. Opponents say they are designed to stifle turnout among students, poor people and minorities, who are more likely to vote for Democrats but might lack government-issued IDs, such as driver’s licenses and passports.
Buoyed by big Republican gains in the 2010 elections, six states have enacted photo ID laws since January — Alabama, Kansas, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee and Wisconsin. Bills in New Hampshire and North Carolina await gubernatorial action. Read More
Friday, the Indiana Supreme Court denied appeals in the case against Secretary of State Charlie White (R).
White was indicted by a Hamilton County grand jury earlier this year, on seven counts including voter fraud, theft and perjury. White is accused of voting in the wrong precinct while he was on the Fishers Town Council. White maintains it was an honest mistake. He’s also at the center of another investigation, accused of accessing a confidential report about him made by his predecessor, the previous secretary of state Todd Rokita (R). Read More
This could be a rough week for Charlie White.
Indiana’s embattled Secretary of State is to be the subject of an eight-hour Indiana Recount Commission hearing Tuesday. The first-term Republican isn’t the only one who will be grilled by Democrats who want him thrown out of office.
His wife Michelle will, too. So will his ex-wife, Nicole Mills, and her husband. His neighbor will be subpoenaed. So will the developer of his new condominium and the saleswoman who showed it to him.
The purpose of the hearing is to determine whether White’s voter registration last year was valid. If it was not, he could be removed from office. Read More
Voter advocates across the state and nation cheered today’s announcement by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon that he would veto a repressive voter identification bill passed last month by the Missouri legislature.
“Gov. Nixon’s veto of SB 3 protects the rights of all Missouri voters and goes a long way to ensure that all eligible voters are able to cast a ballot,” said Denise Lieberman, senior attorney and Missouri Voter Protection Advocate for Advancement Project, a voter protection group among the dozens of groups who joined to oppose the measure. “The governor’s action today sends the message that no Missouri voter should be relegated to second class citizenship solely because they do not have or cannot get a state ID.”
Voter advocates have been lobbying the Governor to veto the repressive voter identification bill since the legislature passed it during the final week of the legislative session in May. A coalition of 45 organizations representing diverse constituencies sent a letter to the governor urging him to stand up for Missouri voters, and nearly 2,000 voters from across the state signed a petition urging the Governor to veto the legislation. Read More
The Alabama Legislature is notorious for providing solutions to problems that don’t exist. Requiring photo identification at the polls is one such example. There’s just been no compelling evidence of election fraud by voters who aren’t who they claim to be.
Yet in the waning hours of the 2011 legislative session, the Legislature approved a bill that will require voters to show photo identification at the polls before voting, with some exceptions. The bill takes effect with the 2014 elections. Read More
A law that would require Maine voters to present photo identification for every election is still before the Legislature, though it has failed to gain the two-thirds support it needs for passage. While a majority of senators voted against the bill, lawmakers eventually decided to send it back to committee for revision.
Also uncertain is the fate of a recently passed bill that would eliminate Maine’s 38-year-old law allowing same-day voter registration, with at least one group vowing to lead a people’s veto campaign against it. Opponents of both measures say they are part of a nationwide Republican effort to restrict voting by certain populations.
“Voter suppression bills have been advanced in states all across the country with the effect of surely reducing voter turnout in the next elections,” said Shenna Bellows, executive director of the Maine Civil Liberties Union.
She said the bills would affect young voters, elderly voters and those who struggle to get time off from work to vote. Read More
The Rev. Jesse Jackson kicked off the Rainbow PUSH Coalition’s 40th annual conference Saturday by warning that photo ID laws in some states impinge on the voting rights of blacks, college students and others who are less likely to carry official identification.
Speaking before about 150 people at Rainbow PUSH headquarters in the Kenwood neighborhood, Jackson said the requirement that voters in Indiana, Georgia and six other states bring photo ID cards to the polls is a new form of disenfranchisement. PUSH remains important four decades after he founded the organization in Chicago, Jackson said, because it brings attention to these issues.
“We’ve come full circle,” Jackson said from the stage, conjuring memories of the civil rights battles he waged alongside the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s. “All that Dr. King stood for, fought for, that we now honor him for, is under attack.” Read More
On June 3, the Nevada legislature passed Assembly Bill 301, and today, Governor Sandoval ignored the bipartisan will of the legislature and vetoed A.B. 301. By issuing a veto for this bill, Governor Sandoval failed to seize a significant opportunity to expand voting rights and support racial justice in Nevada. The bill had aimed to make the voting rights restoration process more efficient and help Nevada move closer to a fair and fully functioning democratic system.
A.B. 301 was written to streamline and simplify Nevada’s incredibly complicated patchwork of laws governing the restoration of voting rights after a criminal sentence. The bill would have automatically restored voting rights to anyone who honorably completes a felony sentence of imprisonment, probation, or parole. The Brennan Center, along with key allies including the American Probation and Parole Association and the ACLU of Nevada, worked hard to shape and support this important voting rights bill. Brennan Center attorney Lee Rowland introduced the bill in March 2011 and again gave testimony in support of the bill in May of 2011. Read More
Mississippi needs to do more to stop voter fraud. Mississippi needs to make changes in voting procedures to make voting more accessible and convenient. Mississippi should always pursue efforts to ensure voter integrity.
There are a lot of things Mississippi could do to improve voting procedures. Voter ID isn’t one of them.
Requiring voters to show a photo identification at the polls would do little or nothing to achieve any of these admirable goals. Still, thousands of Mississippians have signed petitions calling for a voter ID amendment to be added to the state constitution and, in November, voters will most likely do just that. Read More
Democrats on a legislative committee made Secretary of State Dianna Duran the butt of jokes and criticism Friday, saying she had mishandled an investigation into voter fraud.
Duran, a Republican, has forwarded 64,000 voter records to state police so its investigators can help determine whether any laws were broken. Those under investigation account for about 5 percent of New Mexico’s 1.16 million registered voters.
State Sen. Cisco McSorley, D-Albuquerque, told fellow members of the Courts, Corrections and Justice Committee that the massive scope of Duran’s investigation shocked him. He questioned her logic and her tactics. “I sure don’t think this is a public-safety issue,” McSorley said of Duran’s decision to involve police. Read More
What started out as a review of 37 cases of possible voter fraud has mushroomed into a massive investigation by the State Police of some 64,000 cases. The Secretary of State’s Office, headed by newly elected Republican Dianna Duran, has turned over truckloads of voter records for the State Police to review.
Daniel Ivey-Soto, executive director of the organization that represents New Mexico’s 33 county clerks, has derided the investigation as a “64,000-record fishing expedition.” We disagree.
In fact, we’d like to see the investigation expanded further still, if that’s what it takes to finally bring resolution to an issue that has festered for far too long, casting doubt — justified or not — on our electoral process. And, while Ivey-Soto thinks the clerks would be better positioned to conduct such an investigation, we believe only a thorough and complete review by the State Police will be seen as credible. Read More
Funding for the independence referendum campaign will not be properly policed because the SNP is refusing to allow the Electoral Commission to be involved, the UK government has claimed.
The SNP yesterday said it intended to press ahead with plans contained in the 2009 white paper – which state that the Electoral Commission would not have oversight over campaign funding. Instead Holyrood will set up a Scottish Referendum Commission. But yesterday the Conservative Scotland Office minister David Mundell hit out at the SNP’s plans, saying it would “hardly inspire confidence” in the campaign. Read More
Minister of Gender Affairs Dr Jacqui Quinn-Leandro has said the highest corridors of power throughout the region continue to reflect unacceptably low levels of female representation, despite recognition of their positive influence in building democracy and fostering social programmes.
“There is an absence of a critical mass of women in ministerial positions as the movers and shakers of Caribbean political economies,” the minister noted during a workshop on Thursday at the City View Hotel to promote women’s participation in politics for good governance. Read More
Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Election Commission (EC) Sunday declared that all arrangements had been completed to hold the scheduled June 26, elections in AJK in free, fair and transparent manner. A spokesman of the AJK EC said in a statement that since short time was left in the elections, some of the complaints about the voters lists and polling schemes, reached to the election commission, could not be redressed as the voter lists and polling schemes were prepared by the Revenue department staff.
The spokesman continued in the statement that it was the decision of the government to engage field staff including the Patwaris of the Revenue department, instead of the staff of the Education department, for the preparation of the voters lists. The spokesman said a lot of mistakes/errors emerged after the fresh/updated voters lists were printed. Read More
NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has appointed an expert panel to examine the introduction of recall elections so voters can dump “corrupt, incompetent governments”. The move makes good on an election promise Mr O’Farrell made ahead of the March poll to voters angry at the then Labor government.
“People across this state were desperate for an early election so they could throw out an incompetent, disastrous and corrupt government that NSW had,” Mr O’Farrell told question time on Monday. Read More
A writ of summons at the Ashaiman Circuit Court has directed the Electoral Commission (EC) in the Ashaiman Municipality and the Ashaiman Constituency Chairman of the National Democratic Party (NDC) to produce the Naa Amui Electoral Area ballot box and the entire ballot papers of the recently ended district level elections for recounting.
The writ filled by a candidate for Naa Amui Electoral Area, Mr Nicodemus Fumey and five polling agents and his supporters, dated January 19, 2011 was to compel the Ashaiman Municipal Electoral Commission and the Constituency Chairman of the NDC to make appearance in eight days or judgement would be given in their absence.