voter education

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Texas: Report: Few high schools in Texas comply with voter registration law | Austin American-Statesman

No private high schools and just 14 percent of public high schools in Texas requested voter registration forms for their students from the Secretary of State, according to a report released Wednesday by the Texas Civil Rights Project. The organization as well as the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law found that 198 out of 1,428 public high schools requested the forms. In total, the organizations said, six percent of high schools in Texas requested forms. Schools can receive the forms from other organizations, such as the county, but the Texas Civil Rights Project argued during a press conference Wednesday that the state’s low youth voter registration and turnout rates prove that’s not effective even if that’s the case. Read More

Missouri: Secretary of State seeking dismissal of voter ID lawsuit | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft filed a motion Tuesday to dismiss a lawsuit against the state’s new voter ID law. In a statement, Ashcroft said the certified results of the Aug. 8 special elections in two legislative districts showed that “Missouri’s photo voter ID law works.” The law took effect June 1. Days later, the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri and the Advancement Project filed a lawsuit in Cole County on behalf of the Missouri NAACP and the League of Women Voters.  Read More

Texas: Trump administration: Trust Texas on voter education spending | The Texas Tribune

Federal courts should trust Texas to properly educate voters on new ID rules ahead of the 2018 elections instead of insisting that money be spent on a marketing campaign, President Trump’s justice department argued in a filing Monday. The filing, part of the Trump administration’s recent support for Texas in its years-long battle over the state’s 2011 voter ID law, comes despite widespread criticism of Texas’ voter education efforts ahead of the 2016 election. U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos is considering what, if any, consequences Texas should face following her April ruling that lawmakers intentionally discriminated against minority voters by passing the nation’s strictest voter ID law six years ago. Read More

Nepal: The baffled voters | Umesh Raj Regmi/The Kathmandu Post

The recently concluded first phase of local elections have pointed to a marked need for voter education. The Election Commission of Nepal (ECN) has recognised that it is urgent to educate voters to ensure free, fair and credible elections. Making potential voters and stakeholders aware of their voting rights, and getting them to cast their votes properly and confidently is a continuous process. Much effort has been made to convince people to go cast their votes, but little has been done to make sure that they mark the ballot paper correctly. Consequently, an unexpectedly large number of invalid votes were found even in metropolitan areas. Read More

Texas: In Texas, almost all non-voters have a photo ID — but few understand the voter identification rules | The Washington Post

Over the past 12 years nearly 20 U.S. states have adopted voter photo identification laws, which require voters to show a picture ID to vote. These laws have been challenged in numerous lawsuits, resulting in a variety of court decisions and, in several instances, revised legislation. Supporters argue that photo ID rules are necessary to safeguard the sanctity and legitimacy of the voting process by preventing people from impersonating other voters. They say that essentially every U.S. citizen possesses an acceptable photo ID, or can relatively easily get one. Opponents argue that that’s not true; that laws requiring voters to show photo ID disenfranchise registered voters who don’t have the accepted forms of photo ID and can’t get one easily. Further, they say, these laws confuse some registered voters, who therefore don’t bother to vote at all. Opponents also point out that there are almost no documented cases of voter impersonation fraud. Supporters counter that without a photo ID requirement, we have no idea how much fraud there might be. Read More

Editorials: Time is running out to explain Missouri’s new voter ID rules | The Kansas City Star

Missouri is heading toward a slow-motion pile-up in about six weeks, when the state’s new voter ID law kicks in. State officials, including Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, must speed up efforts to educate Missourians about coming changes to their fundamental right to vote. After June 1, barring legal intervention, Missouri law will require voters to present an acceptable form of photographic identification to cast a ballot. Alternatively, those without a photo ID will be required to sign a statement, under penalty of perjury, attesting to their name and address. Election authorities will be allowed to take a picture of the voter. Those provisions are onerous enough in a state where turnout is typically, and depressingly, low. But it will scare some voters, particularly the poor and elderly, who may be reluctant to sign a legal document they don’t fully understand in order to cast a ballot. Read More

Iowa: Democrats question GOP’s spending on voter ID | The Gazette

After debating a voter ID bill for more than five hours Monday, Rep. Bruce Hunter wasn’t about to ignore its $700,000 cost. Hunter, D-Des Moines, challenged the line item in the Secretary of State’s budget during a meeting Tuesday of the Administration and Regulation Appropriations Subcommittee. He challenged any committee member to explain why the money was needed to implement House File 516, which is awaiting final approval in the Senate. Hunter and fellow Democrats repeatedly asked majority Republicans what problem they were trying to solve. There have been few problems with voter fraud and impersonation, “but we give them $700,000 to chase Don Quixote,” Hunter said. “Given the cuts in other departments, it is unconscionable to put in $700,000 for a problem that doesn’t exist,” he said. Read More

Iowa: Budget includes funding for voter ID initiative, cuts for other programs | Des Moines Register

Legislative Republicans unveiled a budget proposal Tuesday that includes nearly $650,000 to implement a new voter ID initiative but makes $1.4 million in cuts to other departments and programs. Republicans said they were glad to support the Secretary of State’s voter identification plan, but Democrats were immediately critical that it would come at the expense of other programs such as the Iowa Public Information Board and the Child Advocacy Board. “Given the cuts of every other department, this is unconscionable that we would put $700,000 into a problem that doesn’t exist when we have other problems that do exist and we’re cutting those departments,” said Rep. Bruce Hunter, D-Des Moines. The proposal would provide about $47.4 million in funding to administration and regulation services. It’s part of the state’s overall $7.245 billion spending plan, which includes cuts to nearly every area of the state budget. Read More

Texas: Study: Texas voter education campaign failed to prevent ID confusion | The Texas Tribune

Texas’ court-ordered $2.5 million voter education campaign failed to prevent widespread confusion about the state’s identification rules ahead of the 2016 general election, according to a study released Monday. And such a misunderstanding may have kept some eligible voters in key political battlegrounds from showing up to the polls, the University of Houston study found. A federal judge last year ordered the Texas Secretary of State’s office to spend $2.5 million educating Texans about its voter ID requirements ahead of the 2016 elections. The requirements were relaxed after a federal appeals court last year ruled that Texas’ strict 2011 ID law discriminated against minority voters. The education efforts — a mix of television and radio advertisements and online media — fell short, the research suggested. Read More

Missouri: Ashcroft says governor’s offer isn’t enough money for Voter ID | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Missouri’s top election official said Tuesday he’ll need far more money than Gov. Eric Greitens offered in his budget plan last week to effectively implement the state’s new photo ID law before August elections. The law, pushed by Republican legislators and approved by voters last year, requires Missourians to show a photo ID before voting or sign a legal document swearing they are who they say they are. In response to heavy Democratic criticism that it would prevent the elderly, disabled and poor from voting, Republicans also required the state to pay for IDs for those who can’t afford them. Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, who is tasked with letting voters know about those changes, estimated it would take between $1.1 million and $1.5 million to do so in the next fiscal year.  Read More