voter suppression

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National: One Rationale for Voter ID Debunked, G.O.P. Has Another | The New York Times

Of the 860,000 Nebraskans who cast ballots in last fall’s election, only two are suspected of casting fraudulent votes. But while the actual number of illegal voters may be minuscule, State Senator John Murante says, there is an even better reason for Nebraska’s Legislature to crack down on fraud at the ballot box. “First and foremost, we know the confidence that Americans and Nebraskans have in the election system is at an all-time low,” said Mr. Murante, a Republican who is backing a constitutional amendment that would require all voters to display photo IDs. “The perception exists that voter fraud is a serious issue, and that perception itself has to be addressed.” Nationwide, Republican state legislators are again sponsoring a sheaf of bills tightening requirements to register and to vote. And while they have traditionally argued that such laws are needed to police rampant voter fraud — a claim most experts call unfounded — some are now saying the perception of fraud, real or otherwise, is an equally serious problem, if not worse. Read More

Iowa: Voter ID bill gets Iowa Senate OK after contentious debate | Des Moines Register

Iowa voters would need to provide government-issued identification at the polls under an election bill approved Thursday by the Iowa Senate. House File 516, which was initiated by Secretary of State Paul Pate, passed on a 26-21 vote after a contentious debate. All Republicans supported the bill, and all Democrats and one independent were opposed. The bill returns to the House because it was amended by the Senate. The legislation is aimed at making sweeping changes to the state’s election laws that Republicans say are needed to ensure the integrity of the process and prevent fraud. … Democrats called the legislation a “voter suppression bill” intended to help Republicans win elections by reducing voter participation by minorities, older people and people with disabilities.  Read More

Oklahoma: As Court Challenge Continues, Oklahoma Looks to Solidify Voter ID Law | Oklahoma Watch

The ongoing fight to overturn Oklahoma’s voter identification law – a legal challenge that has spanned more than five years – could soon face a new obstacle. The state Senate passed a joint resolution this week that seeks to amend the Oklahoma Constitution with language requiring “proof of identity” to be able to vote. In practice, this would have little to no impact on the state’s existing law that requires voters to show a voter ID card or a photo ID issued by the U.S. government, Oklahoma state government or an Oklahoma tribal government. Elevating the requirement to the constitutional level would better shield it from lawsuits, including one that is now before the state Supreme Court. Read More

West Virginia: House committee sends watered-down voter ID bill to floor | Charleston Gazette-Mail

The House Judiciary Committee sent a bare-bones, edited version of a new voter-identification law to the chamber floor Thursday for consideration by the full West Virginia House of Delegates. The original bill would have required state-issued photo identification to vote, making West Virginia one of the strictest states, in terms of voting standards. However, the new version of the bill only delays last year’s voter identification law — which has not yet been enacted — until July 1, 2019. The new bill also stops a requirement that the Division of Motor Vehicles forward to the Secretary of State’s Office information from anyone who opts out of registering to vote. Read More

Arkansas: Lawmakers send voter ID bill to governor | Arkansas News

Lawmakers on Monday sent to Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s desk a bill to require voters to show photo identification at the polls. The House concurred in Senate amendments to House Bill 1047 by Rep. Mark Lowery, R-Maumelle, which House members previously approved in different form. The concurrence was the final hurdle the bill had to clear to go to the governor. A spokesman for Hutchinson said Monday the governor generally supports a photo ID requirement for voters but would need to take a closer look at HB 1047 before deciding whether to sign it. Read More

Australia: Labor says NSW voter ID plan is ‘undemocratic’ and unnecessary | The Guardian

The New South Wales opposition has warned against a plan to force voters to show identification at polling booths, saying the laws are unnecessary and would serve only to disenfranchise parts of the electorate. The NSW government is due to respond in coming months to a parliamentary committee’s report on the 2015 state election, which recommended that voters be required to produce ID in future polls. On Tuesday federal Liberal MP for North Sydney and NSW moderate powerbroker, Trent Zimmerman, called for compulsory voter ID for federal elections in the Coalition party room meeting. Identification laws are designed as a way of preventing voter fraud, but are criticised for imposing a barrier to voter participation. Read More

Editorials: Trump’s irresponsible claims are undermining confidence in voting | Mindy Romero/The Sacramento Bee

In today’s surreal political landscape, the president claims that 3-5 million people voted illegally in November and has called for an investigation, but offers no credible evidence for his claims. Just last month, President Donald Trump asserted that thousands of people were bused into New Hampshire from liberal-leaning Massachusetts to vote illegally on Election Day – again with no proof. Many Americans buy the president’s phony storyline. A recent Politico/Morning Consult poll showed 43 percent of registered voters believe voter fraud is somewhat common or very common in a typical presidential election. Voter fraud – voting by the deceased, voting by noncitizens, and voting more than once –is a serious offense. But election officials and leading voting experts find no evidence of significant voter fraud in U.S. elections, including in 2016. Read More

Editorials: The fight over voting rules didn’t start with Trump’s tweets | Michael Waldman/Los Angeles Times

When President Trump said “millions” voted illegally in November, he joined an old American battle. The fight over who can vote in the United States goes back more than two centuries, with one group after another demanding to participate in our democracy, and the Supreme Court often playing referee. This history puts voting rights at the center of this week’s confirmation hearings for Neil M. Gorsuch, Trump’s nominee to fill the ninth seat on the high court. The next justice’s pen, not the president’s tweets, could redefine your right to vote. Nonetheless, Trump has raised the stakes over voting rights. He insists not just that he won the popular vote (he didn’t) but that 3 million people voted illegally in California, Virginia and New Hampshire. That assertion is nonsense. Democratic and Republican election officials confirm that voter fraud is almost nonexistent, and Trump’s own lawyers agree the 2016 election was fair. But even cartoonish claims may have big consequences. Vice President Mike Pence has been tapped to investigate Trump’s charges. National legislation to curb voting rights — in the guise of protecting the franchise — could follow. Read More

Missouri: Voter ID rollout begins amid questions about money and necessity | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

After more than a decade of trying, Republicans resurrected last year a measure to require photo IDs for Missouri voters. The Missouri Supreme Court had struck down the first attempt in 2006, finding the law abridged a fundamental right to vote for thousands without government-issued photo IDs. But before putting a new measure on the ballot last year, GOP supermajorities made some changes. Not only will non-driver license ID cards be free, the documents necessary to apply for them — such as birth certificates or marriage licenses — will be, too. And anyone who can’t get either can still vote with a utility bill, a paycheck or other form of ID accepted previously by signing a statement swearing they are who they say they are. Read More

North Carolina: Local voters falsely accused of fraud seek changes in election protest process | News & Record

A group of residents have filed a letter with the State Board of Elections asking to change a process that’s used to dispute the validity of someone’s vote. Dozens of people in North Carolina were accused of illegally voting in the 2016 election — either by being a convicted felon who shouldn’t have voted, by voting in multiple states or by another means. Called an election protest, it can be filed by any registered voter or candidate, and simply must be done in writing with the accuser’s name, address, phone number and signature. It also must state the basis for the challenge. Guilford County had nine allegations of people voting in other states, said Charlie Collicutt, Guilford County Board of Elections director. Those protests were dismissed due to lack of evidence. Another eight protests involved allegations of convicted felons who voted, Collicutt said. Four were found to be valid. The other four were not; they involved people convicted of misdemeanors or who had served their sentences and re-registered to vote. Read More