National: New initiatives make voting more accessible to senior citizens | CS Monitor

Kathleen Henry, 80, wants all her neighbors to vote, even if they can’t drive, read, or remember as much anymore. Soon after the former civics teacher moved to the Greenspring retirement community here in 2003, she took a leading role in running the campus’s polling place and registering voters. Just this year, Ms. Henry said, she’s registered 72 residents as new voters. If a resident doesn’t have an up-to-date government form of identification – as is the case for 18 percent of citizens over 65 – Henry works to bring in a county official to take their picture to comply with Virginia’s voter ID law.

National: Older Voters Stymied by Tighter ID Requirements | The New York Times

In February 2016, Anita Johnson met a woman in Milwaukee fretting that, although she had voted faithfully for decades, she would be unable to cast a ballot in the presidential election. Her Wisconsin driver’s license was about to expire, and since she was 90 and no longer drove, she wouldn’t renew it. But she had heard about the state’s strict new voter ID law, requiring official photo identification. Without a license, she worried she was out of luck. Maybe not, said Ms. Johnson. The state coordinator for VoteRiders, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that helps citizens vote, Ms. Johnson pointed out that the state Department of Motor Vehicles could issue a photo ID. Poll workers would accept that as proof of identity. On the very last day the would-be voter had a valid license, Ms. Johnson drove her to the agency, which issued the necessary state card. So did she get to vote for president, at 91? “She did,” Ms. Johnson said. “I know, because I drove her to the polls.”

Texas: Seniors push back against mail-in ballot fraud law | TWC

Keeping Texas elections secure: that’s the goal of a new measure lawmakers passed during the special session. But the law has the side effect of repealing a measure meant to make it easier for senior citizens to vote. “The primary purpose of the bill was to address some of the issues with voting by mail,” said Texas Secretary of State Interim Legal Director Caroline Geppert. “That tends to be the area here in Texas where we see more complaints of possible fraud or alleged fraud.” The new law, passed during the special legislative session, increases fines and penalties for tampering with ballots or voting fraudulently.

United Kingdom: Thousands of pensioners unable to cast votes in scandalous mix-up over registration | The National

A new voting scandal has emerged which means that thousands of vulnerable pensioners in care homes across Scotland could be denied their right to vote in today’s General Election. The new registration system, brought in the day after the independence referendum, banned block voting which means that the elderly and frail being looked after in nursing homes had to register individually for the first time, particularly those who require a postal vote. However, The National can reveal that there are older people who are still waiting for their postal vote months after the deadline, and that the problem is said to be far-reaching. Scottish cabinet minister Alex Neil warned that this was just be the tip of the iceberg, and expressed concern that the problem was “widespread”. He called on the Electoral Commission to investigate the scandal and ensure pensioners in nursing homes are registered to vote in time for the Scottish Parliament elections next year because it was too late now to “sort out the mess” in time for the General Election.

National: Experts see an elder vote evolution | Herald Tribune

The stereotype of the “greedy geezer” voter, a political bloc of 65-and-older Americans who hate taxes but love their government entitlements, is a figment of the public imagination, according to election data. These older voters do turn out at higher rates — a phenomenon that goes back for only four decades. But election results over time show that older voters’ choices and party affiliations closely mirror those of the rest of the electorate. There’s at least one exception to this pattern, however: Florida retirees, who often sever their community and family ties when they relocate south, and may or may not form new ones after they arrive. Older Americans vote at three times the rate of 18-to-24-year-olds in midterm elections. Even when picking a president, their turnout is about 40 percent higher, said social scientists speaking at Columbia University’s Age Boom Academy, a yearly symposium for journalists who write about generational trends.

United Kingdom: Voter ID proposals could put elderly off going to polls | This Is Wiltshire

Linda Petherick, South West regional organiser of the National Federation of Occupational Pensioners, said that proposals from The Electoral Commission, which would require voters to show some sort of ID at polling stations before voting, could stop the older generation from using their vote. NFOP is concerned that these proposals could create a number of potential problems, especially for older people. Mrs Petherick said: “There needs to be some clarification on how this is going to work, including what sort of ID will be accepted, as many older people do not have a photo driver ID or even a relevant passport.

Palau: Election Commission Bans Cell Phones to Prevent Vote Buying | Oceania Television Network

When voters went to the polls for the 2012 primary election in Palau they were greeted by a barrage of signs banning cell phones and cameras.  For the first time, cell phones were collected before voters were allowed to enter the voting booths.  This new rule was prompted by complaints to the Palau Election Commission of alleged vote-buying for walk-in voters that produced a photo of their vote.  Multiple sources have contacted OTV to advise that local radio and television host Alfonso Diaz was offering money to walk-in voters who took a picture of their ballot in the voting booth with presidential candidate Johnson Toribing marked.  Vote buying is a criminal offense in Palau subject to a fine and up to 1 year in prison for each individual offense.  The Palau Election Commission responded quickly after these complaints with the “No Cell Phones or Cameras” rule.

Voting Blogs: Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Could Disenfranchise ‘Super Voters’ | TPM

Johnson-Goldwater. Nixon-Humphrey. Nixon-McGovern. Carter-Ford. Reagan-Carter. Reagan-Mondale. Bush-Dukakis. Clinton-Bush. Clinton-Dole. Bush-Gore. Bush-Kerry. Obama-McCain. There’s a small group of Pennsylvania voters who have cast a ballot in each of those elections — and every November election — the state has held over the past 50 years. But thanks to the new voter ID law passed by Republicans last year, a large chunk of them don’t currently have the means to participate in 2012. Nearly one-fourth of the senior citizen voters who have cast a ballot in the past 50 consecutive elections (including November 2011) lack a valid state-issued ID and could be prevented from casting a ballot in November, according to a new PA AFL-CIO analysis of data provided by the state. Pennsylvania’s “Voter Hall of Fame,” organized by the Department of State, is a list of 21,000 inductees who have voted in 50 consecutive general elections. Of the 5,923 of them who are currently registered voters, 1,384 of them either have no valid state ID or have an ID which expired before Nov. 6, 2011, which would make it invalid at the polls under the state’s voter ID law.

Kansas: Elderly have issues with Kansas voter ID law ahead of primaries |

No valid ID?  No vote as of January this year. With the primary deadline so close, staff at some nursing homes was concerned the voter ID law would deprive their elderly residents from registering to vote in the primaries.  “I know that it’s a law in Kansas to have a valid Kansas ID even if you don’t have a valid driver’s license,  but the reality is many people in hospitals, or in this case they haven’t driven for years because they’re in a retirement community,” said Kansas Masonic Home marketing director Jill Laffoon. Some nursing homes across Kansas have had difficulty getting the registration paperwork needed for their residents to vote, but at the Kansas Masonic Home they’ve found some leniency in the law. “Over 95% of our residents that vote are going to be voting advanced because most of them don’t drive,” said Laffoon.

Editorials: Pennsylvania voter ID law will make voting difficult for many seniors | Rep. Bob Freeman/

Paul Carpenter‘s column of March 14 supporting the new photo voter identification law failed to recognize the hardship this new requirement will place on many voters, particularly senior citizens who don’t have a valid driver’s license. Carpenter stated that under the new legislation “there is no way a legitimate voter can be prevented from obtaining identification or from otherwise verifying that he or she is qualified to vote.” Not true. According to the SeniorLAW Center, 18 percent of senior citizens in Pennsylvania do not have a valid photo ID. Although a free one can now be obtained from a state Transportation Department photo center, many centers are either not served or are poorly served by public transportation. In addition to overcoming the hurdle of not being able to drive to the photo center, these senior citizens will have to present a Social Security card, birth certificate and two documents with their current address to get a photo ID. If they show up at their polling place but do not have a valid, unexpired photo ID, they will not be permitted to vote, despite the fact that they are legitimately registered voters and are known to election workers on sight. They will be offered a provisional ballot but must then obtain the photo ID and present it to the county elections office within six days for their vote to be counted. Doing all of this without a car will be difficult. If they don’t have a copy of their birth certificate or can’t find it, they won’t be able to get the photo ID, in which case their vote won’t be counted. It takes two to four months to process a birth certificate application.

Editorials: Reject voter ID – Seniors, minorities, young people and the poor could lose their right to vote | Pittsburgh Post Gazette

State senators in Harrisburg will soon consider House Bill 934, which would require citizens to provide one of a very short list of government-issued photo IDs in order to vote. It sounds simple, but it is not. If it became law, this bill would create one of the most extreme restrictions on voting in the country — and would threaten to needlessly disenfranchise a massive number of Pennsylvania citizens. Many Americans don’t have driver’s licenses or the other photo IDs that would meet H.B. 934’s narrow standards. Survey research indicates that 11 percent of voting-age citizens don’t have the limited forms of government-issued photo ID that would be accepted under H.B. 934 — even though these taxpayers and voters could prove their identity with other types of documents.

Tennessee: Longtime state employee may be blocked from voting – 93-year-old woman who cleaned the Capitol for 30 years says she can’t get voter ID | WSMV

One woman who has been voting for more than eight decades in this state was told this week she may no longer be eligible to vote. She’s worked for years at the Tennessee State Capitol and has her old state ID, but that’s not good enough under the new voter ID law.

Thelma Mitchell cleaned this governor’s office for his entire term. She has been a fixture at the State Capitol for more than 30 years, yet this year she was told “you’re no longer allowed to vote.”

“I ain’t missed a governor’s election since (Frank) Clement got to be the governor,” said Mitchell. The 93-year-old Mitchell voted for the first time in 1931, soon after women gained the right to vote in the United States. “It meant a lot to me,” said Mitchell.

Editorials: Gail Kerr: Haslam should use new boldness to fix voter ID bill | The Tennessean

The new, improved Gov. Bill Haslam — willing to weigh in on issues — should use his new leadership to urge solutions to what is a messed-up voter photo ID law. He’s dropping hints that he might intervene, saying the state’s driver’s license stations were not ready for the lines of voters seeking a photo ID so they can vote. Haslam is not asking lawmakers to postpone the law. But he used an interesting little word: “yet.”

“We haven’t made that recommendation to them yet,” Haslam said. The driver’s license centers need to be “a little more customer friendly,” the governor told reporters, and “they’re not where they need to be yet.” Haslam could do this and offer political cover to both parties. He could, for example, ask that the legislature push back the start date by a year to make more improvements to reduce driver’s license station wait times.

He could float an amended bill, allowing college students to use their student IDs at the polls and exempt seniors. He could push lawmakers to grandfather all existing registered voters in, and begin requiring a photo on voter registration cards from here on out. He could create a new system in which you get a new registration card with a picture taken at the time you go vote. That would phase in a new system nicely over time. Even some supporters concede that, as is, this has the potential to be a complete mess on Election Day.

National: National Coalition Formed To Confront Tough New Voter ID Laws | South Florida Times

A coalition of nearly 20 organizations, including the NAACP and the National Urban League, announced they have launched a “Stand for Freedom” voting rights campaign and also a major mobilization on Dec. 10 — United Nations Human Rights Day — to protest what they say is an attack on voting rights throughout the country.

The campaign will take aim at election laws which, the coalition says, will suppress the rights of millions of Americans to vote in 2012 and beyond. In dozens of states, new rules will create what the coalition describes as a modern-day poll tax by requiring voters to obtain and present official photo ID in order to cast ballots. In many of those same states, new laws significantly cut early voting and Sunday voting, as well.

Voting Blogs: Voters in Oregon cast ballots with the help of iPads | electionlineWeekly

“I Voted” took on a whole new meaning during the recent special election in Oregon when nearly 100 voters cast their ballots with the help of iPads. The tablet device, which many people associate with surfing the Web, was used to allow disabled voters better access to their ballots. According to Steve Trout, elections director for Oregon, the elections division hatched the idea of using the iPad for accessible voting as a way to save money and provide greater access.

“We have been spending large sums of money on our accessible voting system but having very few people use it. We wanted to see if there were alternatives that were less expensive, provided greater utility and were easier to use for both voters and election officials,” Trout explained. “We played around with the idea here long enough to think it was worthy of a pilot.”

Florida: US Senate panel to investigate Florida voting laws | MiamiHerald

A congressional panel has agreed to U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s request to investigate new voting laws passed by Florida’s Legislature. Sen. Dick Durbin sent the Florida Democrat a letter Tuesday, saying that he agrees the new laws will disenfranchise a wide swath of Florida’s young, minority, senior, disabled, rural and low-income voters. Durbin chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights.

Durbin says he is planning to hold a field hearing with his subcommittee to take a closer look at new voting laws in Florida and other states. Some of the new voting laws would reduce early voting days, impose new rules on voter registration drives and make it tougher to get citizen initiatives on the ballot.

Tennessee: Elderly could run afoul of Tennessee voter ID requirements | The Daily Times

Elderly people without driver’s licenses could face difficulty complying with a new state voter identification law that goes into effect on Jan. 12. Under the law, a voter will be required to produce a federal or state government-issued photo ID before being allowed to vote. Although free photo IDs can obtained from any Department of Safety driver’s license testing station, those without a license must present additional documentation — proof of citizenship (such as a birth certificate) and two proofs of Tennessee residency (such as a copy of a utility bill, vehicle registration/title, or bank statement) — to receive one.

During a Blount County Election Commission town meeting Tuesday, Administrator of Elections Abby Breeding told the handful of attendees that this can prove difficult for some older voters. “It’s a lot of paperwork for some of the elderly to do.”

Drivers in Tennessee age 60 and older may opt to carry a non-photo driver license. It is much easier for those people to receive the free ID, Breeding said. “It’s not that difficult for them to get their picture added to it,” she said. “The difficult one is if they don’t have a driver’s license.”