Wisconsin Republicans are pushing state legislation that would block local governments from issuing voter ID cards — which are required at the ballot box under a 2011 law — even though the locals IDs currently being considered in a Milwaukee program aren’t meant to be used for voting. Republican state Sen. Van Wanggaard and state Rep. Joe Sanfelippo are floating a proposal that would bar cities and villages from issuing any photo ID card, according to the Journal Sentinel. It also would require that any ID issued by local governments to state clearly that it does not meet the state’s voter ID requirements. Nor can local government IDs be used for any public benefits program, under the proposal.Full Article: Wisconsin GOPers Want To Block Local Governments From Issuing Voter IDs.
Wisconsin: Judge’s ruling a mixed bag for those challenging voter ID law | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
A federal judge has thrown out portions of a challenge to Wisconsin’s voting laws but is allowing a key part of the lawsuit to proceed that could allow more types of identification to be used under the voter ID law. In his ruling last month, U.S. District Judge James Peterson in Madison also found the liberal One Wisconsin Institute could pursue its argument that recent restrictions on early voting violate the U.S. Constitution. The group brought its lawsuit in May, contending the voter ID law, limits on early voting and other policies were designed to make it harder for minorities, the poor and those backing Democrats to vote.Full Article: Judge's ruling a mixed bag for those challenging voter ID law.
Republican Missouri legislative leaders, backed by veto-proof majorities, will try again in 2016 to require voters to show photo identification at the polls, despite numerous failed attempts over the past decade. Sen. Will Kraus, a Lee’s Summit Republican running for secretary of state, pre-filed a proposed constitutional amendment to allow for photo identification and a bill that would require voters to present government-issued photo ID. GOP House members pre-filed similar measures. A change to the state’s constitution would be necessary before implementing a photo ID law because the Missouri Supreme Court struck down a similar measure in 2006 as unconstitutional.Full Article: Missouri lawmakers renew push for photo ID for voters - Fairfield Citizen.
North Carolina: Elections officials notifying voters who have no valid IDs | Greensboro News & Record
State election leaders sent letters last week to 825 registered voters in North Carolina, warning that they “may not possess an acceptable form of photo ID” for voting next year. State law will require all North Carolina voters to show a picture ID to vote. Ted Fitzgerald, the state’s lead voter outreach specialist, said Monday the letter went to a narrow slice of voters: those who signed a form at the polls this year saying they don’t have the acceptable ID required to vote in 2016. The letter asks people to fill out a form about whether they plan to get an acceptable ID, or if they need help getting one. The ID requirement is part of legislation state Republican legislators passed in 2013. The Voter Information Verification Act also reduced the early voting period from 17 to 10 days, eliminated same-day voter registration and abandoned out-of-precinct provisional voting.Full Article: North Carolina elections officials notifying voters who have no valid IDs - Greensboro News & Record: Gnr.
Wisconsin’s requirement that voters show photo identification at the polls has survived another legal challenge after a federal judge Thursday dismissed portions of a wide-ranging lawsuit alleging the mandate burdens the right to vote. One Wisconsin Institute Inc., a liberal group; Citizen Action of Wisconsin Education Fund, a voting rights organization; and a half-dozen individual voters filed the lawsuit in June. They argued a number of provisions Republicans have added to state election law since they took over the Legislature in 2011, most prominently the photo ID requirement, violate the federal Voting Rights Act, the First Amendment and the equal protection clause. U.S. District Judge James Peterson issued an order saying he has granted the state’s motion to dismiss the portion of the lawsuit challenging the voter ID requirements. He said the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has already upheld the mandate in a separate case in October 2014. But he added he’s not convinced that the requirement promotes any confidence in the electoral process. He also rejected another section of the lawsuit alleging that statutory changes impermissibly favor voters who move to Wisconsin from out of state.Full Article: Federal judge dismisses voter ID challenge - StarTribune.com.
North Carolina: State attorneys oppose call for preliminary injunction against photo ID law | Winston-Salem Journal
Attorneys for the state filed court papers Friday opposing the request for a preliminary injunction against the state’s photo ID requirement before the March primaries. The N.C. NAACP filed a motion for a preliminary injunction last month, arguing that allowing the photo ID requirement during the March primaries would cause “irreparable harm” to minority voters. They argue that state officials haven’t done enough to educate voters about the photo ID requirement or about changes that state Republican legislators made to the requirement in June.Full Article: State attorneys oppose call for preliminary injunction against photo ID law - Winston-Salem Journal: Elections.
Editorials: The public doesn’t support restrictive voter ID laws, but many new ones will be in force in 2016 | Herman Schwartz/Reuters
Defenders of photo ID laws regularly cite public opinion polls that show widespread support for their arguments. Yet these polls reveal no such support, and they prove nothing about this new restrictive legislation because the polls’ questions cover a far broader range of IDs than the actual laws accept as proof of identity. Many of the new laws do not accept a college student ID, for example, or an out-of-state driver’s license; but the polls drawing favorable responses encompass such IDs. As always, the devil is in the details. When Republicans won full control of 21 states in 2010, they promptly adopted measures to restrict and deter voting by minorities, the poor and the young, all key components of the Democratic base. One of the most effective measures requires voters to show one of a restricted set of photo IDs issued by either a state or federal government. Government studies have shown that these laws can prevent or deter significant numbers of poor and minority voters from voting. By 2015, 13 states had adopted what the National Conference of State Legislatures considers a “strict” voter photo ID law, including seven Southern states formerly subject to federal oversight under the Voting Rights Act.Full Article: The public doesn’t support restrictive voter ID laws, but many new ones will be in force in 2016.
Federal transportation officials will investigate whether Alabama violated civil rights laws by cutting back on motor vehicle services in predominantly black counties. The cutbacks already are under fire by civil rights activists who say they make it harder to get a photo ID, a requirement to vote under a new state law. Transportation officials wrote Wednesday to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, citing concerns over the reduction in services.Full Article: Transportation officials probe possible civil rights violations in Alabama.
A federal lawsuit challenging Alabama’s law that requires voters to present identification before they can cast a ballot was filed Wednesday by Greater Birmingham Ministries and the Alabama NAACP. The lawsuit alleges Alabama violated the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 when the state enacted a photo ID law in 2011. Alabama’s secretary of state had estimated that at least 280,000 registered voters would be immediately blocked from voting, the lawsuit states “If the Photo ID Law remains in place, hundreds of thousands more eligible and registered voters will be barred from voting in the years to come,” according to the lawsuit.Full Article: Greater Birmingham Ministries, NAACP sue Alabama over voter ID law | AL.com.
The top federal prosecutor in North Alabama says she is reviewing a lawsuit filed Wednesday by groups challenging Alabama’s law requiring people to present photo identification before they can vote. “We received a copy of the lawsuit … We are certainly reading the lawsuit with great interest,” said U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance. But Vance said it was “too speculative” at this point on whether the U.S. Department of Justice would get involved in the issue. But, she added, “we are acutely concerned with protecting the right to vote.”Full Article: U.S. Attorney reviewing voting rights lawsuit filed against Alabama | AL.com.
We’ve long wondered what the legislature’s wrong-headed laws are costing North Carolina, both in reputation and in taxpayer dollars to defend them in court. It may be impossible to put a precise dollar figure on the state’s reputation, but we now know the legal cost: More than $8 million. The Associated Press reported last week that the Republican-led General Assembly has budgeted $4 million a year for the next two years to pay outside lawyers to defend controversial N.C. laws.Full Article: N.C.’s regrettable use of $8 million | The Charlotte Observer.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People asked a federal judge on Tuesday to halt the implementation of a photo identification requirement for North Carolina voters, saying the measure discriminates against black and Latino residents. The North Carolina chapter of the NAACP and other plaintiffs filed a motion for a preliminary injunction seeking to stop the requirement, which will take effect next year, ahead of primary elections in March. “North Carolina’s voter ID requirement remains an undue and unlawful burden on voters of color,” Reverend William J. Barber II, president of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, said in a statement. “A preliminary injunction would ensure democracy is not disrupted for eligible voters of color,” he said.Full Article: NAACP seeks to halt implementation of North Carolina voter ID law | Reuters.
The point was to protest what the 30 people assembled said was the state’s misplaced priorities in recent attempts to shut down rural driver’s license offices – major sources of photo IDs required for voting – while keeping some money-losing Alabama Beverage Control (ABC) stores open. “They would leave state-owned liquor stores open that were losing up to $75,000 a year,” said Sen. Hank Sanders, D-Selma. “What it did was told us over how many a year it was easier to get alcohol than it was to get the ballot. They work hard to make sure you get alcohol. They work hard to make sure you don’t get the ballot.” The crowd chanted “Give us the ballot, not just the bottle” at the end of the performance. The Save Ourselves Movement for Justice and Democracy organized the event.Full Article: Rally: 'Give us the ballot, not just the bottle'.
Editorials: Despite the Voting Rights Act, right to vote under siege | Ari Berman/Philadelphia Inquirer
The Voting Rights Act of 1965, which turned 50 in August, is widely regarded as the crowning achievement of the civil rights movement and the most important civil rights law of the 20th century. When he signed the legislation at the U.S. Capitol, President Lyndon Johnson described the act as the final victory against America’s original sin of slavery. “Today we strike away the last major shackle of those fierce and ancient bonds,” Johnson said. The act had an immediate transformative impact. Literacy tests were suspended across the South, the attorney general filed lawsuits successfully challenging the poll tax, and government observers were sent to monitor elections in the South’s most segregated areas. Within days of the act’s signing, federal examiners were registering black voters at a rapid clip in places like Selma, Ala. The law has enfranchised millions of Americans over the last five decades and enabled the election of the country’s first black president. But the act didn’t end the debate over voting rights, as Johnson predicted. In recent years there has been a proliferation of new measures to tighten access to the ballot, such as requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote, shutting down voter-registration drives, curtailing early voting, disenfranchising ex-felons, purging the voter rolls, and mandating government-issued photo IDs to cast a ballot.Full Article: Despite VRA, right to vote under siege.
State Senate Republicans have caucused and the filing of bills will begin December 1. The man who can decide what does and doesn’t reach the Senate floor in the 2016 session said he can’t rank legislative priorities, but Mike Kehoe (R-Jefferson City) told Missourinet there are some issues that stand out. Voter photo ID will be proposed again. “I believe Senator [Will Kraus] … will be working through voter ID. He’s been a champion of it before. He’s very passionate about it, and many people are,” said Kehoe. “We feel like if you’re going to vote for the most powerful man in the world, having proper identification is only reasonable.”Full Article: Voter photo ID, ethics reform among top priorities for Missouri Senate Republicans.
North Carolina: Voting law opponents plan to file preliminary injunction against photo ID | Winston-Salem Journal
The North Carolina NAACP wants a federal judge to stop the photo-ID requirement from taking effect during the March 2016 primary elections. Attorneys for the civil-rights organization filed court papers on Friday indicating that they planned to seek a preliminary injunction. The photo-ID requirement was passed along with a number of other provisions in a sweeping elections law that Gov. Pat McCrory signed in August 2013. The law is known as the Voter Information Verification Act.This will be the second time the state NAACP has sought a preliminary injunction over the controversial elections law. The group sought one last year.Full Article: NC voting law opponents plan to file preliminary injunction against photo ID - Winston-Salem Journal: Local News.
Today is Veterans Day, and Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin will no doubt be thanking us for our service and telling us how important we are and how much they honor us. But their words ring hollow because they won’t even let us use our Veterans Administration ID card as a valid proof of identity when we try to go vote in the next election. This is part and parcel of their overall scheme to make it much more difficult for hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites to vote under the new Voter ID law they passed. I served in the U.S. Navy. I have a DD 214 card issued by the Navy on my discharge to prove I served and was discharged honorably. I also have a photo ID issued by the U.S. Veterans Administration. I had to show the DD 214 to get the ID. It is good enough to prove to a U.S. government agency that I am a veteran and entitled to use VA services. But it’s not good enough for those Republican legislators to prove I am who I am so I can vote. Why isn’t a VA ID card a valid proof of existence?Full Article: Peter Cannon: Let veterans vote with VA card | Commentary | host.madison.com.
In new court filings, the N.C. NAACP and others said North Carolina’s photo ID requirement is still discriminatory, despite an amendment passed this summer that eased the restrictions. The filings come about two weeks after U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit against North Carolina’s voter-identificiation requirement. Schroeder had ordered plaintiffs to file an amended claim in the case by Nov. 6. State Republican legislators passed a sweeping elections law, known as the Voter Information Verification Act, in 2013. The law did a number of things, including reducing early voting days from 17 to 10 days, eliminating same-day voter registration and getting rid of out-of-precinct provisional voting. The law also required voters to show photo ID in 2016. Just three weeks before a trial in federal court this summer, state Republican legislators passed an amendment that allows voters without a photo ID to sign an affidavit outlining “reasonable impediments” to them getting a photo ID. If the affidavit is accepted, voters would be allowed to cast a provisional ballot.Full Article: Opponents file new complaint on photo ID law - Winston-Salem Journal: Elections.
Voting Blogs: Lee v. Virginia Board of Elections: Wait, Virginians have to present a photo ID to vote? | State of Elections
In 2013, Republican majorities in both houses of the Virginia General Assembly enacted a “voter ID law” that significantly restricts accepted forms of identification that voters must present before casting a ballot on Election Day. Now, officers at the election booths will require voters to present one of the following forms of photo identification: (1) a valid Virginia driver’s license; (2) a valid United States passport; (3) any photo identification issued by the Commonwealth, one of its political subdivisions, or the United States; (4) a valid student identification card containing a photograph of the voter and issued by any institution of higher education located in the Commonwealth; or (5) a valid employee identification card containing a photograph of the voter and issued by an employer of the voter in the ordinary course of the employer’s business. Any voter that is unable to present an acceptable form of photo identification at the polls will be offered a provisional ballot, but the voter must deliver a copy of a proper form of identification to the electoral board by noon of the third day after the election. Provisional voters may submit copies by fax, e-mail, in-person submission, timely United States Postal Service, or commercial mail delivery.Full Article: Lee v. Virginia Board of Elections: Wait, Virginians have to present a photo ID to vote? |.
A federal judge on Friday refused a request from state lawmakers to dismiss a challenge to the N.C. voter ID law. U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder set the issue for a trial, tentatively in January. Attorneys for state lawmakers argued that a 2015 change to the ID provision of an election law overhaul made the 2013 legal challenge moot. Though the law initially restricted voting to people who had one of six specified photo identification cards, the General Assembly added a provision on the eve of the federal trial this summer that made it possible to cast a provisional ballot without an ID. The law is set to go into effect next year. Advocates of the ID law say it is necessary to prevent voter fraud. But few cases have been prosecuted.Full Article: Judge refuses to dismiss NC voter ID challenge | The Charlotte Observer.