Tennessee: Voter ID law faces challenge in U.S. District Court | Lebanon Democrat

Tennessee’s voter ID law may have its day in court now that a group of college students has filed a federal lawsuit alleging the state is violating rights guaranteed to them by the U.S. Constitution. At issue is the exclusion of student ID cards from the accepted list of voter IDs. Jon Sherman, an attorney with the Fair Elections Legal Network, is representing the students. “The state has discriminated against students and discriminated on the basis of age,” he states. “They’ve made it easier for older voters to cast ballots without showing ID and made it harder and harder for students to cast their votes.”

Tennessee: Voter ID Law Challenged in U S District Court | Public News Service

Tennessee’s voter ID law may have its day in court now that a group of college students has filed a federal lawsuit alleging the state is violating rights guaranteed to them by the U.S. Constitution. At issue is the exclusion of student ID cards from the accepted list of voter IDs. Jon Sherman, an attorney with the Fair Elections Legal Network, is representing the students. “The state has discriminated against students and discriminated on the basis of age,” he states. “They’ve made it easier for older voters to cast ballots without showing ID and made it harder and harder for students to cast their votes.”

Tennessee: Students sue over voter ID law | The Tennessean

A student organization filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday claiming Tennessee’s voter identification law violates the rights of college students by not allowing them to use school IDs to vote. The lawsuit comes after a four-year debate, protests and multiple failed attempts in the Tennessee General Assembly to allow use of the identification. “For four years, the Tennessee General Assembly has rejected every attempt to add college student IDs to the voter ID list, systematically shutting young voters out of the political process just as they become eligible to vote,” Jon Sherman, a staff attorney for the Fair Elections Legal Network, said in a statement. The Fair Elections Legal Network, a national voting rights organization, and Nashville law firm Barrett Johnston Martin & Garrison, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Nashville Student Organizing Committee, a student-run social justice and civil rights organization.

Tennessee: State’s photo-ID law for voters questioned | Daily News Journal

Voting-rights advocates questioned and pushed for reforms in Tennessee’s photo-ID voting law during a lecture at Middle Tennessee State University Thursday. More than two dozen people packed a small classroom at MTSU for the lecture by Fair Elections Legal Network’s Jon Sherman, who tied the Tennessee law passed in 2011 to a series of other state laws he said are meant to suppress people from casting ballots. The state law requires all voters to provide either a state driver’s license, a state or federally issued photo identification, a military photo ID, a U.S. passport or a Tennessee carry permit to cast their ballots in person. Student identifications and city- and county-issued ID cards are not accepted under the law, according to the Tennessee Secretary of State’s Office.

Editorials: Treating Voters the Same, Not Counties and Towns | Fair Elections Legal Network

Last week, the Wisconsin State Senate approved a bill that would bar early voting on weekends and cap total early voting per week at 45 hours.  If this bill is passed and signed, early voting in clerks’ offices will only take place on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.  Utah is on the verge of passing Election Day registration; Massachusetts is set to approve early voting; and voters in Missouri are collecting signatures to put early voting on the ballot in November.  But Wisconsin seems determined to march into the past.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald has offered the press two explanations for this self-inflicted wound on Wisconsin’s election system: (1) rural constituents are saying “‘Why is there such a wide gap between certain parts of the state and how many hours are available to vote when that is not offered to some of those citizens that live in a very rural part of the state?’”; and (2) rural clerks do not have the staff and resources to keep the same early voting hours as cities.  If you are scratching your head, don’t feel alone on this one. No one should expect rural clerks to have the same staff and resources as Milwaukee and Madison’s clerks because population sizes, demand for early voting, and strain on municipal clerks’ offices vary wildly.  According to the 2010 Census, only 10 of the 1,852 municipal clerks (are responsible for over 1 million voting-age residents, or almost a quarter of Wisconsin’s voting-age population.

Editorials: Florida voter purge will repeat mistakes | Robert M. Brandon/Orlando Sentinel

Secretary of State Ken Detzner’s attempt to establish confidence in Florida’s upcoming purge of voters has raised more questions than it answers. Rather than providing information on how this round of purges protects the integrity of the voter rolls, his so-called Project Integrity tour has proved that this voter-list-maintenance process lacks transparency, support and validity. Throughout his meetings with supervisors of elections and the public, Detzner and his staff did not answer many important questions on how the state plans to remove suspected noncitizens from the voter rolls while not repeating the same mistakes of the past. Despite Project Integrity’s façade of explaining the purge process and touting its validity, several supervisors of elections expressed concern with the use of the Department of Homeland Security’s SAVE database and the process of carrying out this purge. Many questions remained unanswered, such as what the potential cost will be and what the procedure will be to correct wrongly targeted voters.

Florida: Voting rights watchdogs give thumbs down to Florida elections bill | Palm Beach Post

Several Florida organizations that watchdog voting rights issues are giving a thumbs down to the elections bill currently awaiting a vote in the Florida legislature. In a letter delivered to House Speaker Will Weatherford, the organizations argue that the bill has a disproportionately harmful impact on minorities and they offer several recommendations for strengthening the measure. HB 7013 gives supervisors of elections discretion to decide if their county should have early voting between eight and 14 days. Before the GOP-controlled legislature rewrote elections law in 2011, 14 days of early voting was mandatory. The change contributed to long lines in the 2012 election, the groups say in their letter, and they ask that those 14 days be restored.

Voting Blogs: As deadlines loom, push is on to get people registered | electionlineWeekly

With voter registration looming in most states in early to mid-October, advocacy groups, political campaigns and elections officials are putting on a full-court press to get as many Americans registered in time to cast a ballot on November 6. The National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) has deemed September as National Voter Registration Month, and for the first time this year, the country will celebrate National Voter Registration Day on September 25. National Voter Registration Day was created by a working group of organizations including Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance Education Fund, Bus Federation Civic Fund, Fair Elections Legal Network, League of Women Voters, Nonprofit Vote, and Voto Latino.

Pennsylvania: Voter ID Law Will Prevent College Students from Voting | PolicyMic

This November should be an exciting time on Pennsylvania college campuses. Students across the state, many for the first time, will cast a vote in the presidential election. Unfortunately, many Pennsylvania students will be kept out of our political process. Some will not bother to go to the polls because they lack any of the recently specified forms of required photo identification; others will be turned away because they are unaware of the state’s new law. This is because of Pennsylvania’s new, complex voter ID law that puts strict requirements on which student IDs are acceptable for voting. Several student IDs issued by Pennsylvania colleges and universities currently do not comply with the new voter ID law. The few types of identification cards that will be acceptable in Pennsylvania for the November election include U.S. military IDs; employee photo IDs issued by federal or Pennsylvania state, county or municipal governments; photo ID cards issued by a Pennsylvania care facility; photo IDs issued by the U.S. Federal Government or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, or photo ID cards from an accredited Pennsylvania public or private institution of higher learning.

Florida: Broward Supervisor of Elections: Gov. Scott’s Voter Purge Will Remove Eligible Voters From Rolls | Think Progress

According to the Broward County Supervisor of Elections, eligible voters will be removed from the voting rolls as a result of the massive voter purge ordered by Governor Rick Scott. “It will happen,” Mary Cooney, a spokeswoman for the Broward CouPress Thisnty Supervisor of Elections, told ThinkProgress. Late last year, Governor Scott ordered his Secretary of State, Kurt Browning to “to identify and remove non-U.S. citizens from the voter rolls.” Browning could not get access to reliable citizenship data. So Scott urged election officials to identify non-U.S. citizens by comparing data from the state motor vehicle administration with the voting file.

Florida: Voting rights groups ask Scott to stop non-citizen voter purge | Palm Beach Post

A coalition of voting rights groups is asking Gov. Rick Scott to stop a statewide effort to purge thousands of potential non-citzens from the voting rolls, and U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, also plans to ask the governor to stop the scrub. Lawyers for the groups said in a letter to Secretary of StateKen Detzner that the voting purge is in violation of the National Voting Rights Act which prohibits systematic purging of the voter rolls 90 days prior to a general election. The purge effort falls within that 90-day prohibition because of Florida’s Aug. 14 primary. Last month, Detzner sent a list of more than 2,600 potentially ineligible voters to the state’s 67 elections supervisors flagged as potentially ineligible by matching driver’s license and voting records. But the list was riddled with errors and included some voters who were born in the U.S. and others who had become citizens since getting their driver’s licenses or state-issued ID cards. Detzner’s office then went to work on scrubbing a list of up to 180,000 flagged voters whose citizenship is in question.

Editorials: Overcoming Obstacles to Photo ID Laws | Robert M. Brandon/Huffington Post

This past week, the decision by the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) to shut down its Public Safety and Elections Task Force, the task force that refined and promoted strict photo ID legislation that has been popping up in state legislatures over the past two years, was a significant victory for voting rights advocates. However, the damage is already done. Strict voter photo ID laws will be in place in several states this election, potentially disenfranchising millions if they don’t get the ID they need to vote. While several voting rights groups are fighting to get these laws overturned in the courts, organizers and community groups on the ground are stepping up to make sure that voters will have the IDs they need to be able to vote. Already, in Tennessee and Wisconsin, community groups and statewide organizations have developed programs to identify voters that lack a photo ID and to help them get the ID they need to vote.

National: New voting laws prompt efforts to educate students across nation | The Marquette Tribune

Last year, changes tightening Wisconsin voter ID laws sparked controversy among college students across the state, with some students and state officials claiming the new requirements would dissuade student participation in elections. Now, advocate groups have reacted to these concerns and sought to educate students about what they need for the polls. The Campus Vote Project, an initiative started in 2012 by the Fair Elections Legal Network, aims to mobilize students on college campuses across the country to work with college administrators and election officials to educate students about voting. According to Campus Vote Project’s website, the organization hopes to “overcome barriers students often face to voting that students often mention such as residency laws, registration deadlines, and strict voter ID requirements.” Students who contact the Campus Vote Project can receive a “tool kit,” which includes information about roadblocks to student voting and how to educate colleges about voting requirements.

National: Project Seeks to Help Students Overcome Barriers to Voting | The Chronicle of Higher Education

A national advocacy organization that focuses on increasing voter registration for underrepresented groups announced on Wednesday a campaign to spur student participation in elections and to help students overcome voting barriers. The Fair Elections Legal Network kicked off its campaign, the Campus Vote Project, at George Washington University’s Law School. At the event, members of an advisory board on student voting met to talk about ways to create campuswide policies and programs that make voting more accessible for students. “Voting is a universal right,” said Victor Sánchez, president of the United States Student Association and member of the advisory board. “With help and guidance, there should be better ways to help go about increasing access to voter registration and increasing voters on campus.”

New Mexico: Watchdog: Probe of voter registrations detrimental | The Santa Fe New Mexican

A national elections watchdog group has told Secretary of State Dianna Duran that her referral of 64,000 voter registrations to the state Department of Public Safety for investigation might undermine confidence in the system and violate state law.

In a letter to Duran dated Thursday, Ben Hovland, senior counsel for the Washington, D.C.-based Fair Elections Legal Network, wrote, “We fear that your attempt to ensure ‘accuracy and integrity’ in the system has had the opposite effect as unsubstantiated claims of large numbers of irregularities on voter registration records do not lead to greater accuracy of records and may, indeed, serve to undermine confidence in the system.”

Hovland asked for additional details as to the nature of this investigation, including the methodology used to select and examine the 64,000 registration records, when the investigation might be finished, and information about the steps taken to protect the private data in the registration records being investigated.