Virginia: Senate panel backs bill to aid older voters, defeats other proposals | Richmond Times Dispatch

In the 2015 legislative session, the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee has tried to be nice to older people. But the same might not be said for the young registered voters who attend Virginia’s private high schools, religious schools and military academies — or for people whose form of voter photo identification was issued by one of several of the state’s social services agencies. A week after advancing a bill to allow people 65 and older to vote absentee without providing an excuse — a measure that passed the full Senate on Monday — the committee on Tuesday went a step further and advanced legislation that would allow voters age 75 and older to go to the front of the line at the polls on Election Day.

Kansas: Topeka seniors shut out of primary by ID law, poll worker | Courier-Journal

The state’s voter identification law and a poll worker who didn’t fully understand it prevented elderly residents of a Topeka care facility from voting in Tuesday’s primary election. Secretary of State Kris Kobach confirmed Thursday that some residents of Brewster Place in southwest Topeka who showed up to a polling place there without I.D.s were turned away without being issued provisional ballots, as required by law. “It appears the poll worker just didn’t understand the instructions,” Kobach said, namely that no potential voter should be rejected without at least being offered the chance to vote provisionally. Provisional ballots allow a potential voter more time to produce an identification that complies with the law the Legislature passed in 2011. They must be vetted by a county canvassing board that decides which provisional votes will be counted. Kobach spearheaded the ID law and a proof-of-citizenship requirement to register, saying the measures are necessary to prevent voter impersonation and protect the state from “alien” voters.

Florida: Partisan divisions return as Senate panel OKs voting bill | Miami Herald

It was bound to end sooner or later, and it did on Monday. The bipartisan cooperation that marked early work on an elections bill vanished as Democrats on the Senate Ethics & Elections Committee repeatedly forced roll-call votes on amendments the Republican majority opposed. The GOP prevailed on a series of 8-5 votes and on final passage of the bill (SB 600), sponsored by Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, the panel’s chairman. A visibly peeved Latvala at one point said he would consider giving way on a point the Democrats wanted, “but not now,” he said, and he quickly left the hearing without speaking to reporters. With other Republicans rallying around Latvala, the GOP-crafted bill has two major provisions that worry election supervisors: a requirement that anyone voting absentee must have an adult witness their signature, and a requirement that anyone who wants an absentee ballot mailed to an address other than their voting address must fill out an affidavit.

Minnesota: Voter ID foes decry unfairness to seniors | Winona Daily News

For nearly 70 years, Christeen Stone has voted in every election without having to present a document to prove she is a qualified voter. Stone has voted in the same precinct since 1944, when she moved into her Maplewood home. That’s one reason she said she strongly objects to a proposed constitutional amendment that would require Minnesota voters to present photo identification at the polls. “It’s just an insult to people who have voted all their lives,” said Stone, 91. “They’ve been good citizens, and then to go in and be suspects in their own country, I don’t like that.“ Opponents of the constitutional amendment claim the proposed requirement would it make harder, if not impossible, for thousands of people to cast a ballot. They say senior citizens are among those most likely to face hurdles, because many of them cannot readily produce the documents to prove their identity.

Pennsylvania: Voters Battle Bureaucracy Ahead Of ID Law Ruling | NPR

The first sign that getting a new ID isn’t going to be easy for Beverly Mitchell and Kathleen Herbert comes before the pair have even left their downtown Philadelphia senior center. As they wait for a ride to a nearby Department of Motor Vehicles office, they get the news: The van that was supposed to take them is broken. Herbert and Mitchell are going to the DMV because they want to make sure they will be able to vote this fall. Depending on how a Pennsylvania judge rules on the state’s controversial new voter ID law, they might need to show a valid photo ID before they can punch a ballot. The court is hearing new testimony this week, and the judge has until next Tuesday to decide whether to block the law, which the state’s Supreme Court has ordered him to do if he thinks any voters will be disenfranchised.

Pennsylvania: Expired licenses muddle Pennsylvania voter ID numbers | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Opponents of Pennsylvania’s new voter identification bill are pointing to new data showing some 1.6 million registered voters could be without acceptable PennDOT ID on election day — double the number the state released last month — and affecting a quarter of all voters in Allegheny County. State election officials say the number is that high due to a host of complicating factors, including that voters could have acceptable IDs other than driver’s licenses, but said they were committed to reaching all 8.2 million voters statewide in advance of Nov. 6 to notify them of the new requirements. The findings come the same day as arguments started in a legal challenge of the bill in Commonwealth Court, and Gov. Tom Corbett lashed out at the Obama administration for its handling of a probe of the law. The Department of State announced July 3 there are roughly 758,000 registered voters statewide who do not appear on PennDOT’s photo ID list, with some 98,000 of them in Allegheny County. On Monday, the AFL-CIO received another data set from the department that adds those with voters carrying PennDOT IDs that have expired since Nov. 6, 2011, rendering them invalid under the law for voting this fall: that number is 1.64 million statewide, with 218,000 in the state’s second-largest county.

Georgia: Elderly voters concerned they may be cleared from voter rolls | CBS Atlanta 46

Hundreds of senior citizens at a Southwest Atlanta high rise are concerned they may lose their right to vote. Betty Walton has lived at the Atrium at Collegetown for nearly a decade, but according to Fulton County, her address isn’t real. “That doesn’t make any sense. You can see the building, so it does exist,” said Walton. Walton is one of hundreds of seniors who may soon be removed from the voter rolls because of a mistake by the Fulton County Department of Registration and Elections. About a week ago, the department sent out a letter telling Walton and others like her that they had to provide proof that their address was valid. The letter said if they didn’t, they would be purged from the voter rolls.

Minnesota: Conservative Seniors Protest AARP’s Opposition To Minnesota Voter ID | CBS

A dramatic protest from a group of Minnesota seniors Wednesday: They cut up their AARP cards, upset because AARP is opposing the Voter ID amendment on the ballot this fall. Minnesota seniors make up the largest single voting block on Election Day. Polling data seems to show a majority of Minnesotans support the idea of showing ID when they vote. But AARP, the state’s largest senior advocacy group, says the amendment could stop thousands of the elderly from voting. So, in a show of protest and defiance, conservative seniors cut up their AARP cards. They are calling the state’s biggest advocate for the elderly out of touch with its members, whom they say support Voter ID.

Nebraska: Proposed Nebraska Voter ID Bill Meets Opposition |

It’s one of the most important rights we have in a democracy, the right to vote. To help protect that right, a Nebraska state senator wants to set up what he believes is a simple process, but opponents of a voter ID bill are already up in arms.

The bill’s language is simple. Anyone who wants to vote must provide a state or government issued ID that shows a current address. A group of community members, elected officials and representative from area organizations met Wednesday morning in Omaha. They said not only is the idea unnecessary, it would create a burden for anyone without an ID or who would need to update their old ID at a cost of $26.50.

“It unfairly targets citizens with low income, seniors, youth and citizens with disabilities,” said Linda Duckworth with the League of Women Voters of Nebraska. “It points us in a direction that Nebraskans should be ashamed to take.”

South Carolina: Voter ID Law Could Hit GOP Seniors |

South Carolina’s new voter ID law could affect an unlikely group: older white voters who have higher incomes, are reliably Republican and live in retirement homes and gated golf communities along the state’s southern coast, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. There are roughly 217,000 active voters in the state who do not have a driver’s license or state ID card, election officials said. Of those, almost a third are 65 or older, and nearly 1,600 of them live in precincts in Beaufort County’s Sun City retirement community or affluent neighborhoods nearby, according to AP’s analysis.

The law has drawn criticism from Democrats and others who say it will hit the state’s black, poor, elderly and disabled voters the hardest because they don’t have a photo ID and face many challenges to get one.

National: Civil Rights Leader Rep. John Lewis: Voter ID Laws ‘Are A Poll Tax,’ ‘I Know What I Saw During The 60s’ | ThinkProgress

Republican lawmakers across the country have been waging an successful campaign to restrict the right to vote. States are cracking down on non-profit organizations’ registration drives, reducing early voting periods, and repealing laws allowing citizens to register to vote at the polls on Election day, leaving as many as 5 million voters facing disenfranchisement in the 2012 election. Perhaps the most radical restriction is the GOP’s push for voter ID laws that require citizens to obtain and present state-approved photo identification to vote. These laws disproportionately (and perhaps purposefully) affect minorities, seniors, and low-income people who typically make up the Democratic base.


Tennessee: Voting law impacts seniors | The Tennessean

Robertson County seniors who don’t have a picture on their government-issued ID cards will have to obtain new cards if they want to vote next year. A new law which requires all voters to present government-issued photo ID at the polls was created to put an end to voter fraud, but one group that will be affected by this change will be seniors, who have the option not to use a photo on their driver’s licenses or state-issued ID cards.

“I just don’t think it’s right,” said Frances Swearingen, 86. “I’ve worked at the polls, and if you hand me your voter registration and your ID, there’s not going to be any fraud.”

Swearingen has not had her photo on her identification since she turned 65.