Thursday, February 02, 2012

Voter Suppression Bills

The Republicans are going all out to suppress voters by passing voter ID laws. The claim it is to prevent voter fraud; however, they do not have any data to back them up. Here in Connecticut in the 2008 election audits done by the Secretary of State’s office found that there was less than 1% errors in the voting and most of those were caused by clerical errors. They didn’t find a single case of voter fraud
Why New Photo ID Laws Mean Some Won't Vote
By Corey Dade
January 28, 2012

The argument over whether voters should have to present photo identification at the polls usually splits along party lines. Republicans who favor the requirement say it prevents ballot fraud. Democrats and election rights groups who oppose it say it is meant to suppress turnout.
Most Americans are accustomed to whipping out photo IDs at work, the bank or even their own apartment buildings. And their driver's license — perhaps the most common form of government-issued photo ID — has become just as indispensable.

"I get that all the time: 'What's the big deal? I just got my driver's license renewed, it took like five seconds,' " says Larry Norden, acting director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, which opposes these laws. "Frankly, that's why these laws have been so successful, because 89 percent of the population does have photo IDs."

That leaves another 3.2 million Americans who don't possess a government-issued picture ID, according to a recent study co-authored by Norden.
By all estimates, those least likely to have a government-issued photo ID fall into one of four categories: the elderly, minorities, the poor and young adults aged 18 to 24. The Brennan Center estimates that 18 percent of all seniors and 25 percent of African-Americans don't have picture IDs.
And these groups are mostly to vote Democratic. The trans-population is also hit hard by these voter ID laws because our IDs do not match our gender presentation.
In most states with voter ID laws, citizens must present birth certificates to obtain new photo IDs. Seniors and those born in rural areas, in particular, face a difficult time meeting the requirement because birth certificates weren't regularly generated in the 1930s and earlier. And many of these people were delivered by midwives, who often improperly spelled babies' and parents' names on birth documents.

If a state does have a person's birth certificate, they often must present a photo ID to obtain a copy. That can put an individual back at square one.
I know someone who lost their diver license and they needed to have their birth certificate in order to get a replacement. However, she didn’t have a copy and in order to get a legal copy of her birth certificate she had to appear in person at the county cleric’s office on the west coast. But she couldn’t fly without an ID, “Catch 22.”

Here in Connecticut the following forms of ID is acceptable,
Acceptable forms of identification to fulfill this federal HAVA requirement are a current and valid photo ID that shows the elector’s name and address, or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or government document that shows the name and address of the voter.
From the city of Norwalk voter web page
Many who are in favor of the bill argue that it is necessary to prevent voter fraud. However, they do not have any statistical data to back up their claims. In an article in Salon, by Andrew Burmon who wrote,
But according to 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.
The statistics bear me out. 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.

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