Editorials: What North Carolina’s New Voter ID Law Does for the GOP | The Atlantic

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law the toughest voter ID rules in the country on Monday, and shrunk the number of days allowed for early voting. McCrory says the new law is “common-sense.” But the numbers show the law will have, as Reid Wilson explained for National Journal, “undeniable political ramifications.” Democrats tend to vote early. Republicans tend to vote absentee. The law makes big changes to in-person voting while leaving rules for absentee ballots mostly the same. The North Carolina NAACP and the ACLU have each filed lawsuits challenging the law as racially discriminatory under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The ACLU wrote in a statement Monday, “the suit specifically targets provisions of the law that eliminate a week of early voting, end same-day registration, and prohibit ‘out-of-precinct’ voting.” A third suit is expected to be filed Tuesday morning, also by the ACLU, challenging the voter ID portion of the law. According to The Nation, the plaintiffs in this third suit will be “college students who will not be able to vote in North Carolina because they have out of state driver’s licenses and their student IDs will not be accepted, and elderly residents of the state who were not born in North Carolina and will have to pay to get a birth certificate to validate their identity.”

North Carolina: State Attorney General Cooper urges McCrory to veto voter ID bill | abc11.com

There’s a new push to veto North Carolina’s controversial voter ID bill. Attorney General Roy Cooper is stepping into the fight. He’s making one last effort to convince Gov. Pat McCrory not to sign it. McCrory has yet to sign that bill, but has said that he will. He could be doing that very soon. However, until that pen hits the paper, Cooper, who is a Democrat, hopes signatures on an online petition will change the governor’s mind. The bill would, among many things, require a photo ID at the polls, would make early voting days longer, but shorten the number of early voting days, and stop same-day registration. “I sent the governor a letter telling him this was a bad idea,” said Cooper.

North Carolina: McCrory to sign or not to sign controversial elections bill? | wsoctv.com

Whether Gov. Pat McCrory will sign the controversial elections bill should be known within a week or so. That news came out of the governor’s meeting with his council of state on Tuesday. It was the group’s first meeting since McCrory signed several bills into law. While he did mention specific bills he is reviewing, he did not address a bill that has garnered national attention and opposition within the state from democrats and the NAACP.

Editorials: North Carolina: First in Voter Suppression | New York Times

Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina didn’t like our recent editorial that criticized the state for abandoning its traditions of racial equality, strong public schools, and economic fairness. He wrote a letter to the editor saying he was leading the state to a “powerful comeback.” That’s demonstrably untrue when it comes to the economy and the schools. But as yesterday’s events in the state capital showed, one thing is making a comeback: an old habit of suppressing the votes of minorities, young people and the poor, all in the hopes of preserving Republican power. Freed of federal election supervision by the Supreme Court, the North Carolina legislature passed a bill that combines every idea for suppressing voter turnout that Republicans have advanced in other states. Rick Hasen, an election-law expert at the University of California, Irvine, called it “the most sweeping anti-voter law in at least decades.”

North Carolina: McCrory says it all: ‘I don’t know enough’ | The CLog

At a Friday press conference, “Governor” Pat McCrory announced that he will sign the controversial “voter ID” bill into law, even though he hadn’t even read one of the bill’s crucial components – and showed a pretty weak grasp of state policy on voter registration. By the time the bill finished snaking its way through the General Assembly, it had morphed from a mere voter ID law into an all-purpose vote-suppression campaign, making far-reaching changes to the way North Carolinians may or may not vote, and earning nationwide notice as the country’s most suppressive voting law. McCrory praised the bill to reporters as just the perfect thing to “restore faith in elections.” However, when an AP reporter asked the guv how three specific parts of the bill would help prevent voter fraud, McCrory scrambled for answers. In addition to requiring a government-issued photo-ID card, the bill also ends same-day voter registration, cuts early voting by a week, and abolishes a program that let high school students register to vote in advance of their 18th birthdays.

North Carolina: State Passes Country’s Worst Voter Suppression Law | The Nation

I’ve been in Texas this week researching the history of the Voting Rights Act at the LBJ Library. As I’ve been studying how the landmark civil rights law transformed American democracy, I’ve also been closely following how Republicans in North Carolina—parts of which were originally covered by the VRA in 1965 —have made a mockery of the law and its prohibition on voting discrimination. Late last night, the North Carolina legislature passed the country’s worst voter suppression law after only three days of debate. Rick Hasen of Election Law Blog called it “the most sweeping anti-voter law in at least decades” The bill mandates strict voter ID to cast a ballot (no student IDs, no public employee IDs, etc), even though 318,000 registered voters lack the narrow forms of acceptable ID according to the state’s own numbers and there have been no recorded prosecutions of voter impersonation in the past decade. The bill cuts the number of early voting days by a week, even though 56 percent of North Carolinians voted early in 2012. The bill eliminates same-day voter registration during the early voting period, even though 96,000 people used it during the general election in 2012 and states that have adopted the convenient reform have the highest voter turnout in the country.

North Carolina: McCrory not familiar with all of bill he’s to sign | Associated Press

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory says he will sign into law a Republican-backed bill making sweeping changes to how and when citizens can vote even though he has not seen one of its key provisions. McCrory praised the bill in a media conference Friday, saying it will restore faith in elections by requiring voters to present government-issued identification at the polls. An Associated Press reporter asked the Republican governor how three particular provisions of the bill would help prevent voter fraud — ending same-day voter registration, trimming the period for early voting by a week and eliminating a program that encourages high school students to register to vote in advance of their 18th birthdays. McCrory talked about two other sections of the legislation — a measure added to through a Democratic amendment that directs counties to make early voting available for more hours during the abbreviated early voting period and a provision forbidding lobbyists from passing campaign donations from their clients directly on to lawmakers.

North Carolina: Voter ID Law Targets Student Voters, Too | Huffington Post

As North Carolina lawmakers prepare to pass what is widely considered one of the most restrictive voter identification bills in the country, activists arrested while protesting the law say they plan to carry on with their protests. Bree Newsome, one of six protesters arrested and taken to jail Wednesday night after staging a sit-in at the office of the Republican North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis, said the group is still demanding a meeting with Tillis, who supports the bill. “We want to ask him, ‘why do you support a bill making it more difficult for North Carolinians to vote?'” she said on Thursday. “If Representative Tillis cannot answer our question and if he cannot reasonably explain why it’s a good idea to reduce the participation of North Carolina voters, then he should kill the bill.” Tillis, who is running for the United States Senate, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But unlike many of the state voter ID laws that have taken root in recent years, the latest version of the North Carolina measure doesn’t allow students to use their school IDs to vote. Critics say that students, as well asminorities and low-income people, could see their electoral clout diminished as a result of the bill.

North Carolina: Libertarians oppose more restrictions on right to vote | Examiner.com

The proposed Voter ID bill HB 589 will impose more restrictions on the right to vote and do great damage to the democratic process in North Carolina, the chair of the N.C. Libertarian Party said in a statement today. “Just when it didn’t seem possible that North Carolina’s election laws could get more restrictive, the Republican majority has come up with a massive bill that would make it even harder for people to vote,” said J.J. Summerell. He said that Republicans were using the excuse combating combat voter fraud, but were actually perpetrating a greater fraud on North Carolina voters under the guise of restoring “confidence in government. Republicans claim to be the party of limited government,” he said. “Now we see what that term really means: when Republicans say limited government, they apparently mean government limited to them and their supporters.”

North Carolina: Republicans slammed over ‘suppressive’ voting bill | guardian.co.uk

North Carolina is set to introduce what experts say is the most “repressive” attack on the rights of African American voters in decades, barely a month after the US supreme court struck down a key section of the Voting Rights Act. The bill, which was passed by the state’s Republican-dominated legislature this week, puts North Carolina on collision course with Eric Holder, the attorney general, who has announced plans to protect voter rights in Texas. Civil rights advocates and experts in election law are stunned by the scope of the new law. What began in April as a 14-page bill mainly focused on introducing more stringent ID rules, ostensibly to guard against voter fraud, snowballed over the last week as it passed through the North Carolina senate. By the time it was passed by both houses late on Thursday night, the bill had become a 57-page document containing a raft of measures opposed by voting rights organisations. If the bill is passed by the state’s Republican governor, Pat McCrory, voters will be required to present government-issued photo IDs at the polls, and early voting will be shortened from 17 days to 10. Voting rights experts say studies reveal that both measures would disproportionately affect elderly and minority voters, and those likely to vote Democrat.

Editorials: North Carolina Republicans Push Extreme Voter Suppression Measures | Ari Berman/The Nation

This week, the North Carolina legislature will almost certainly pass a strict new voter ID law that could disenfranchise 318,000 registered voters who don’t have the narrow forms of accepted state-issued ID. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the bill has since been amended by Republicans to include a slew of appalling voter suppression measures. They include cutting a week of early voting, ending same-day registration during the early voting period and making it easier for vigilante poll-watchers to challenge eligible voters. The bill is being debated this afternoon in the Senate Rules Committee.

Editorials: North Carolina voter ID, other changes unnecessary | Charlotte Observer

We’ve said all along that GOP lawmakers’ push for voter ID in North Carolina was more about suppressing the votes of Democrats than tackling fraud. The restrictive N.C. Senate bill unveiled last week that some legislators are trying to ram through in the waning days of the legislative session this week proves the point. The bill reduces by half the types of photo identification that were allowed under the House version, and makes it particularly onerous for college students to vote. Under the Senate bill, no college ID card would be acceptable. The House bill does allow student IDs, but only from N.C. schools. The Senate limits acceptable IDs to those issued by the government – driver’s license, passports, non-driver IDs and military or veteran cards. The bill also eliminates measures designed to educate voters about vote law changes.

North Carolina: Voting procedure changes loom in North Carolina | Los Angeles Times

To Allison Riggs, a voting rights lawyer, North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District looks like an octopus with its arms stretched menacingly in all directions. Each arm, Riggs says, sucks in black voters to pack them into the district and dilutes their voting strength in nearby districts — “a cynical strategy to disenfranchise blacks.” With Republicans adding the governor’s mansion last fall to their control, on top of the North Carolina Legislature, Riggs and other civil rights activists have counted on protections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act to prevent GOP geographical empire-building through redistricting. Nine states and parts of six others, including 40 of North Carolina’s 100 counties, were covered by a provision of the legislation that required federal approval of any changes in election laws. But a U.S. Supreme Court decision Tuesday gutted the law, striking down the so-called preclearance provisions, and Republican leaders here already are revving up to push through voting procedure changes.

Oregon: No License To Vote: A bill tying voter registration to driver’s licenses is stuck in neutral | Willamette Week

A bill that could register as many as 600,000 new Oregon voters is in danger of dying without a vote. The state’s top elections official, Secretary of State Kate Brown, wants anyone who gets a new driver’s license, or renews an existing one, to be automatically registered to vote. Brown argues that more registered voters promotes a stronger democracy: 2.8 million Oregonians are eligible to vote but only 2.2 million are registered, a registration rate Brown calls “mediocre.” Supporters say the bill should be zinging its way through the Legislature, appealing to citizens who want to limit their dealings with bureaucracy. “It’s a great concept,” says Paul Gronke, chairman of the political science department at Reed College. “Why would anybody want citizens to appear in government offices twice instead of just once?”

National: Democrats Strike Back at GOP Voting Measures | Associated Press

In a bitter fight, Colorado Democrats recently muscled through the Statehouse a massive elections reform bill that allows voters to register up until Election Day and still cast their ballots. It’s the latest – and most substantial – development in a nationwide Democratic Party effort to strike back at two years of Republican success in passing measures to require identification at polling places and purge rolls of suspect voters. Democratic-controlled states like California, Connecticut and Maryland also all have sought to make it easier to cast a ballot as late as possible. They recently passed versions of same-day voter registration measures, which traditionally help younger and poorer voters – the sort who lean Democratic. Undaunted, the GOP is aggressively fighting the efforts. Maine Republicans tried to roll back same-day registration in 2011 but were unsuccessful. And Montana Republicans hope to rescind their state’s same-day registration through a ballot referendum next year.

Hawaii: No Agreement on Election-Day Registration | Big Island Now

They tried during six different meetings, but state lawmakers last month could not reach an agreement on a bill that would have allowed Hawaii residents to register to vote on election day. House Bill 321 was introduced to increase access to voting. Current state law requires that a voter register 30 days before an election. In testimony submitted on the bill, the American Civil Liberties Union said in the 2012 election, 62% of Hawaii’s registered voters went to the polls – the lowest voter turnout in the nation.

Colorado: New election era dawns | Colorado Springs Independent

County Clerk Wayne Williams, a staunch Republican, can’t hide his frustration. State Rep. Pete Lee, an equally determined Democrat, can’t hide his elation. Many of the state’s other county clerks, who are Republicans, actually feel the same as Lee. Everyone who cares about how Colorado’s elections are run seems to have an extreme opinion about House Bill 1303, which sailed through the Colorado General Assembly in its final days and was signed into law last Friday. Mail ballots will now go out to all registered voters — in other words, there’ll be no more “inactive” voters — and residents will be allowed to register and vote on election day, as in nine other states (including Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, which generally lean conservative).

Colorado: New law redefines how Colorado elections are run | KDVR.com

On Friday, Governor John Hickenlooper signed a bill to overhaul Colorado’s elections system to include same-day voter registration and mailing ballots to all voters. It’s called the Colorado Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act, and it redefines how elections are run here in Colorado. The elections overhaul allows same-day voter registration, and it allows registered voters to receive ballots by mail. But people can still vote in person, drop off their ballot or mail it in. The law also eliminates the category of “inactive” voters, or those who skip even one election. Another key component of the bill is that voters can now vote at any of the voting centers established in the measure, instead of following the current system that designates precinct polling places.

Colorado: Following National Trend, Colorado Passes Law Expanding Voting Access | IVN

Last week, the Colorado Senate voted in favor of an important election reform bill, making the state the latest example of a nationwide trend to expand voting access. In 2011 and 2012, a number of state legislatures passed laws implementing new restrictions on voter access, including requiring voter IDs, shortening early voting periods, or making it harder to register to vote. These initiatives, often led by Republican-controlled legislatures, were more or less successful as some were prevented from taking effect by court decisions. In 2013, the new trend nationwide seems to be undoing the effects of these restrictive laws. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, at least 204 bills expanding voting access have been introduced in 45 states. In comparison, at least 82 restrictive bills have been introduced in 31 states.

National: How We Register | National Journal

If you’re between the ages of 18 and 24, chances are you registered to vote when you visited the Department of Motor Vehicles. If you’re over the age of 65, you probably registered to vote at some other government office. Those are the findings of a new Census Bureau survey that asked Americans how they registered to vote. As it turns out, younger voters are much more likely to register when they get a driver’s license, at their school or university campus, or online.

National: After Wins for Voter ID and Other Restrictive Measures, Democrats Fight Back on Elections | Stateline

Republicans several years ago seized the upper hand in the so-called “voting wars” by pushing voter ID and other measures that created new voting restrictions. But now Democrats across the country are fighting back. This week, Colorado lawmakers sent Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, a bill that allows voters in that state to register at the polls on Election Day; creates an all-mail ballot system; and ensures that voters who move within Colorado don’t have to re-register at their new address. The Colorado law is especially broad, but it is only the latest in a series of victories for those who want to streamline registration and reduce long lines at the polls. The governor is expected to sign the measure, which has overwhelming support among Democrats. During the last legislative session, Maryland expanded early voting, eased absentee voting and approved same-day registration during early voting periods. West Virginia implemented a new system to register residents using state records already on file. Delaware removed the waiting period for nonviolent felons to regain their voting rights, and made re-establishing them automatic. And this week, the Minnesota House approved a measure making absentee balloting easier.

Colorado: Democratic-backed elections reform bill heads to Governor | Colorado Statesman

The Senate on Thursday backed sweeping elections reform legislation that has polarized the legislature, resulting in marathon debate that kicked off Tuesday when Sen. Ted Harvey, R-Highlands Ranch, moved for the entire 126 pages to be read at length. The Democratic-controlled Senate passed House Bill 1303 by a party-line vote of 20-15, despite the stall tactic. Amendments were later approved by the House, which sent the bill to Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, for his signature. Sen. Angela Giron, D-Pueblo, and House Majority Leader Dickey Lee Hullinghorst of Boulder and Assistant Majority Leader Dan Pabon of Denver sponsored the measure. Senate Reading Clerk Max Majors on Tuesday during second reading read the bill for about two and a half hours, with help from staff. Long-time Capitol observers could not remember another time when such a long bill was read at length. During the redistricting debate of 2003, the reading clerk was asked to read Senate Bill 352, but the measure was only 20 pages. Republicans, who debated the bill on Tuesday into Wednesday morning for nearly seven hours, view its passage as a power grab. One by one they took to the well, drawing out debate on the measure, while Democrats mostly sat at their desks, choosing not to speak during the Republican filibuster.

Colorado: Elections bill being signed | The Denver Post

The governor is expected to sign a measure into law that would redefine how elections in Colorado are run, allowing same-day voter registration and having ballots mailed to all registered voters. Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper is expected to sign the Democrat-sponsored bill Friday, according to two people working closely with the measure. They asked to remain anonymous because an official announcement had not been made. The bill passed with unanimous support from Democrats, but not a single Republican voted for it, citing concerns about voter fraud with same-day registration. Republicans also argued the measure would be a game-changer for future elections, and some called the measure the most important of the session that was packed with contentious legislation.

Pennsylvania: Three voting bills to get day in court | TribLIVE

Voter ID was just the beginning. A trio of bills aimed at overhauling access to the ballot box in Pennsylvania will get a hearing on Thursday, when the Senate Democratic Policy Committee meets in the Allegheny County Courthouse, Downtown, at 10 a.m. The bills would allow voters to cast ballots up to 15 days before Election Day; vote absentee without giving an excuse; and register on the same day as voting. “It reflects modern life much better than the current situation does,” said Sen. Judy Schwank, D-Berks County, who sponsored the absentee ballot bill in part because, in 2009, she missed her chance to vote because she was unexpectedly out of town on business.

Colorado: GOP Secretary of State Gessler squares off with Republican county clerks over election reform | Roaring Fork Valley News

Colorado’s Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler arrived late to testify at the Senate committee hearing, but he came prepared. A practiced courtroom lawyer, he began slowly. He threw in folksy asides. He answered his own rhetorical questions. And he smiled at the majority-Democratic committee members as he railed against the election-reform bill they all support and that he wants desperately to derail. It was a dramatic moment in Colorado politics that had been building since Gessler took office two years ago.

Colorado: Colorado bill raises the possibility of voter fraud and intimidation, critics say | Washington Free Beacon

Colorado’s Democratic-controlled state legislature is ramming through an election bill that critics say will open the door to voter fraud and intimidation. The “Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act” is expected to pass the legislature this week. Democrats control both chambers of the legislature, as well as the governor’s mansion, meaning the bill could pass without a single Republican vote. The bill is under consideration amid accusations that Republicans in other states have tried to suppress the vote by passing laws that require some form of identification in order to vote.

Colorado: On Hot-Button Election-Reform Bill, It’s Gessler Versus the Clerks | The Colorado Independent

Colorado’s Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler arrived late to testify at the Senate committee hearing, but he came prepared. A practiced courtroom lawyer, he began slowly. He threw in folksy asides. He answered his own rhetorical questions. And he smiled at the majority-Democratic committee members as he railed against the election-reform bill they all support and that he wants desperately to derail. It was a dramatic moment in Colorado politics that had been building since Gessler took office two years ago.

Colorado: GOP fights Colorado elections bill past midnight | The Denver Post

Furious about Democratic-proposed election changes, Colorado Senate Republicans pushed debate past midnight Wednesday arguing against same-day registration and sending ballots by mail to all registered voters before the bill received initial approval. Republicans set a partisan tone as debate got underway Tuesday evening, blasting Democrats for considering such a massive proposal with a week left in the legislative session. A GOP lawmaker asked that the entire 128-page bill be read to drive the point, and argued many lawmakers and stakeholders had not had enough time to digest the legislation. “We are rushing this through and cramming this through the Legislature in the last eight days of the legislative process. I believe that this is an abuse of process,” said Sen. Ted Harvey, R-Highlands Ranch.

Delaware: Election Day voter registration measure unveiled | Newszap

Gov. Jack A. Markell and leadership in the state’s House of Representatives introduced measures to increase voter registration in Delaware Tuesday. House Majority Whip, Rep. John J. Viola, D-Newark, introduced legislation that would allow Election Day voting registration. Same-day voting registration has existed in Maine, Minnesota and Wisconsin since the 1970s, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. States that have mandated same-day registration have a voter turnout that is on average 10 percent higher than states that do not. “The goal is to try and get as many people as you can possibly get to do their duty, their civic duty and to vote,” Rep. Viola said. “Any barriers we can take down against that we can make easier, let’s do it.”

National: Klobuchar bill modeled after Minnesota law to allow people to register to vote on the same day as the election | Hometown Source

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar today (Wednesday, April 24) highlighted her legislation to make voting easier for all Americans at a national forum hosted by the Center for American Progress (CAP) focusing on voting rights and increasing voter participation. Klobuchar’s Same Day Registration Act, which is modeled after Minnesota’s same day voter registration law, would require states to allow voters to register the same day as a federal election.