States Set To Limit Voting! GOP Bills Will Affect College Students, Elderly And Poor! GOP Assault On Voting Rights!
Voting Fraud? Learn The Facts!
Can You Rig A Voting Machine? Yes!
New Voter Requirements May Violate Constitution!
Twenty two (now thirty two- 3/20/2011) states have proposed legislation to limit access to vote. From the requirement of state-issued photo ID's in several states to driver's licenses being required in Tennessee and proof of citizenship in Colorado, Oregon, South Carolina, Kansas and Tennessee, New Hampshire's Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, Bill O'Brien (R-NH),wants to even limit voting by college students. He says it's because "the kids go into these general elections, they'll have 900 same day registrations, which are the kids coming out of the schools and basically doing what I did when I was a kid, which is vote liberal." Hooray and hallelujah! It is about time that the rampant voter fraud that has just plagued elections be stopped!
How rampant is voter fraud? The Brennan Center for Justice reports that:
- Burdensome photo ID or proof of citizenship requirements for voting could block millions of eligible American voters without addressing any real problem. Although most Americans have government-issued photo ID, studies show that as many as 12% of eligible voters nationwide do not; the percentage is even higher for seniors, people of color, people with disabilities, low-income voters, and students. Many of those citizens find it hard to get such IDs, because the underlying documentation (the ID one needs to get ID) is often difficult to come by. Those difficulties will increase substantially if documentary proof of citizenship is needed to vote or to obtain the identification required to vote.
In an article in Salon.com, titled Behind the GOP's Voter Fraud Hysteria:
- "Lori Minnite, a professor of political science at Barnard College, who has spent the last eight years studying the role of fraud in U.S. elections, the Republican crusade against voter fraud is a strategic ruse. Rather than protecting the election process from voter fraud -- a problem that barely exists -- Minnite says the true aim of Republican efforts appears to be voter suppression across the partisan divide. According to Minnite, investigating voter fraud has become a Republican cottage industry over the last 20 years because it justifies questioning the eligibility of thousands of would-be voters -- often targeting poor and minority citizens in urban areas that lean Democratic. Playing the role of vigilant watchdog gives GOP bureaucrats a pretext for obstructing the path of marginalized and first-time voters headed for the polls."
Minnite goes even further. She states:
- " From 2002 to 2005 only one person was found guilty of registration fraud. Twenty people were found guilty of voting while ineligible and five people were found guilty of voting more than once. That’s 26 criminal voters -- voters who vote twice, impersonate other people, vote without being a resident -- the voters that Republicans warn about. Meanwhile thousands of people are getting turned away at the polls."
There is no evidence that individual voter fraud is a problem in this country. There are no statistics that prove this is even a minor issue. The Department of Justice has reported no significant rise in voter fraud. Instead, the more compelling issue in all research seems to be computer voting machines and possible manipulation of those results.
The bills that are popping up all over the country are being brought by GOP representatives. They target young voters, poor voters and elderly and disabled voters. In the state of Wisconsin, the bill, if passed, will not allow students to use their student picture ID cards at the polls.
Of course, voter fraud should not be tolerated. It would be an assault on the electoral system of government, but suggested or alleged fraud is not the same as real voter fraud. Statistics and research have shown that actual voter fraud by individuals is minuscule in terms of actual votes cast. The panic that accompanies every election has been proven, time and time again, to be unfounded. Every state legislature, without exception, that has proposed sweeping changes in voter registration or voter requirements, is unable to provide statistics that demonstrate fraud. Each state that has proposed tightening of voter requirements will face millions of dollars in costs to implement and enforce the new laws. Many will also spend millions of additional funds to defend lawsuits from those that believe the proposed legislation is unconstitutional.
Courts have ruled that states requiring state-issued photo IDs must pay for those IDs, or be in violation of the 24th amendment. The courts have overwhelmingly ruled that people must not be charged money to vote. The requirement of a state-issued photo ID card that is not free of charge is the same as a poll tax, which was outlawed by the 24th amendment.
Additionally, there will be lawsuits brought on behalf of students, the elderly, poor and disabled; all who may become disenfranchised voters because of the new legislation.
Proposed Laws By State
Perhaps the most egregious of these new laws, besides the states that are demanding proof of citizenship, is the one in New Hampshire. It is designed and being promoted as a way to stop students from voting.
New Hampshire: One bill would permit students to vote in their college towns only if they or their parents had previously established permanent residency there; that bill would mean that any others would have to vote in the states they came from or travel to the New Hampshire cities that they came from. A second bill would end registration on the day of voting. According to Republican Speaker of the House O'Brien, that is the day most college students register and the reason again, is "because they vote liberal".
Texas: The bill would require Texans to show a driver’s license, state ID card, military ID, concealed handgun license, passport or citizenship ID to vote.
Wisconsin: Under the proposed bill, as amended, acceptable IDs for voters would include a Wisconsin driver's license, a state identification card issued by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, military ID, a passport and tribal identification - but not a student photo ID. Even voters who have been registered to vote at the same address for many years would have to show approved ID to vote. Failure to do so would result in the ballot being held until the voter can produce the identification to the clerk in charge of that polling place. This is similar to what happens now when a voter registers at the polls and does not present the required identification (usually a Wisconsin driver's license); the ballot is held as "provisional" until the ID information is presented to the clerk, no later than 4 p.m. the day after the election. Then, at the canvass, the provisional ballot would be counted. In 2008, the Wisconsin State Justice Department found that out of nearly 3 million votes cast, they were pursuing 14 cases of voter fraud.
Kansas: GOP Secretary of State, Kris Kobach says that there have been 80 suspected cases of voter fraud in the state in the last 10 years. They have resulted in no convictions. The new law would require any first time voter to present proof of citizenship in order to register. Anyone voting would have to require an approved photo ID or proof of citizenship. The legislation would also grant Kobach sweeping new powers to prosecute any cases that he deems to be voter fraud. UPDATE 04/19/2011: Kansas has just passed the most outlandish of the bills to date. If you do not have a copy of your birth certificate, you may not register to vote. Even if you have a state-issued driver's license, that will not be enough. Kobach will attempt to have this law take effect prior to the elections in 2012.
Tennessee: Proposed laws would require proof of citizenship and a state approved picture ID. Past law required voters to show some form of identification. It could have been a voter registration card, a social security card or a utility bill with name and address. New law would require specific types of photo IDs. According to the state's League of Women Voters, 18% of U.S. citizens 65 or older do not have a current, government-issued photo ID. An additional 10% of Americans with disabilities have no photo ID.
North Carolina: The state would require a state-issued photo ID. State Board of Elections analysis shows as many as 700,000 to 1 million registered voters might not have a state-issued photo ID. Estimates state that 4,000 college students from other states have photo-ID from the states they came from, but not the state of North Carolina. Those out of state ID cards would no longer be accepted. Voter fraud was a significant complaint in the 2010 elections. It did not concern individual voters trying to commit fraud. It, instead, computer miscounts.
South Carolina: Bill requires a state-issued photo ID card. Democratic state Representative Paul Agnew has said claims of voter fraud are unfounded. “There have been no prosecuted cases of voter fraud in South Carolina."
Colorado: Republican lawmakers are trying to pass a bill that would require Coloradans to prove their citizenship when registering to vote. Sen. Ted Harvey, Republican, is promoting a bill that would require people to show identification, a U.S. passport, birth certificate, naturalization document that would prove citizenship. Voting rights groups and the Denver County’s clerk and recorder are opposed to the legislation on grounds that it, along with the voter photo ID bill, would pose an unneeded barrier to the constitutional right for citizens. The Denver County clerk said that with no documented cases of voter fraud in Colorado, the bills are solutions in search of a problem. According to Reuters: A federal appeals court struck down a similar Voter ID registration law in Arizona last year. The court argued that the National Voting Rights Act, which has overriding authority under the U.S. Constitution to regulate federal election procedures, superseded Arizona’s law.The Arizona law was in place for six years and caused the state to deny registration for approximately 30,000 Arizonans who failed to prove their citizenship during the first four years of the law.
Alabama: The House Constitution, Campaigns and Election Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would allow voters to show only government issued, photo identification at the polls. If the bill becomes law, it would reduce the kind of identifying material that a person could possibly use to prove they are a voter from nearly 30 types of ID to only 3. All three forms of ID would have to be government issued. In recent years, there have been two cases of alleged voter fraud prosecuted in Alabama.
Iowa: New law would require a state-issued photo ID, showing an Iowa residency. Rep. Mary Mascher, D-Iowa City, said students, the elderly, and the disabled are among those who would be affected by the change. House Republicans say the bill is a precautionary move to protect against voter fraud.“Critics say we’re trying to a solve a problem that isn’t there,” said Rep. Jack Drake, R-Griswold. He also said fraud hasn’t been a problem in most elections.
Some other states have proposed similar legislation. They include Alaska, Connecticut, Maine, Montana, Maryland, Virginia, New Mexico, Nebraska, Illinois and Missouri, to name some.
What The Courts Say!
Before You Talk About ACORN!
When Fraud Is Not Fraud!
Every election cycle, in every state, there are allegations of voter fraud. Those allegations are investigated and most are dismissed as unfounded. Look up voter fraud statistics for any state. Usually, you will be unable to find any, because there have been so few cases of prosecuted and convicted fraudulent voters, much less proven conspiracy theories that have changed the outcome of any elections.
Conversation regarding alleged voter fraud by individuals must include former Fox News Contributor and honorary Conspiracy Theory Board Member, Michelle Malkin. Malkin states, "We all need to be vote fraud police to keep the elections honest. The left will use any means necessary..." The voter fraud conversation always seems to stem from Fox News and other right wing media outlets. They spare no amount of money to highlight supposed cases of massive voter fraud initiated and sponsored by Democrats. By the time that public panic has spread, these 'journalists' never admit that their theories have been determined to be unfounded. They never admit that their real intention is to block any 'liberal' voters from casting a legitimate ballot.
This conversation without merit has evolved into a concerted and unified effort by GOP lawmakers to disenfranchise as many liberal voters as they can, one way or another, regardless of the financial burden these new rules will cost to implement, enforce and defend from lawsuits.
Instead of focusing on automated voting machines and the way in which they can be used to manipulate votes on a grand scale, the GOP legislators hone in where there are no proven grounds for concern. Voting machines and the corporations that own and mange them are the true culprits. The GOP is distracting America once again. Where is the paper trail? Until the question can be answered, it is electronic voting which should be scrutinized and banned!
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