Brennan Center for Justice

Like a bad rash, Voter ID bill returns to NC

voter suppressionIt’s ba-aack. The Voter ID bill is on the GOP agenda again.

Last night the Republican leadership held a public hearing on proposed Voter ID legislation. (It happened after press time; check our Triangulator blog for a roundup.)

The bill, which almost 75 percent of North Carolinians support, according to a recent Elon University poll, is being framed as a way to address the issue of voter fraud. Except there have been no notable instances of voter fraud. And there’s another reason former Gov. Bev Perdue put the kibosh on Voter ID when the measure landed on her desk in 2011: “This bill, as written, will unnecessarily and unfairly disenfranchise many eligible and legitimate voters,” she stated at the time.

It’s difficult to know what identification will suffice at the polls if Voter ID becomes law, but it’s likely that a driver’s license or a state-issued identification card will be required.

Opponents of the legislation point out that a significant number of North Carolina voters don’t have photo ID and may find obtaining one to be time-consuming and expensive. Numbers from the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles and State Board of Elections, compiled by watchdog group Democracy North Carolina, show that 506,000 active registered voters in the state don’t have photo ID: 31 percent are African-American, 66 percent are women, 26 percent are seniors and 53 percent are Democrats, compared to 23 percent who are Republican.

The conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has beenThom Tillis ALEC legislator of the year behind the design of these bills nationwide. (House Speaker Thom Tillis is an ALEC member, and won a State Legislator of the Year award in 2011.) According to data from New York University Law School’s Brennan Center for Justice, at least 34 states have introduced photo ID legislation since 2011, and in eight states, new photo ID bills have become law.

Though Tillis pledged that the bill “will include provisions that make IDs readily available at no cost to residents,” Democracy NC Executive Director Bob Hall says that making IDs free could cost the state millions of dollars and is an democracy ncunlikely scenario.

“There [would be] people having to go get a driver’s license,” says Hall, “and then it turns out they have to go get a birth certificate. Then the birth certificate has their maiden name on it, so then they have to get a marriage license to show that their name has changed. The whole thing starts to add up to a lot of money and it really does amount to a poll tax.”

There’s also the question of the bill’s necessity. According to Veronica Degraffenreid of the state Board of Elections: “There’s no evidence to substantiate any type of widespread or systematic voter fraud in North Carolina. There are various types of voter fraud, so to the extent that any one person or entity has impersonated another voter, then certainly voter ID would help to prevent that specific type of voter fraud. But in the elections world there are other types of fraud that voter ID may not necessarily address.”

The kinds of voter fraud that voter ID laws would potentially address—impersonation and misrepresentation of residency—are rare in North Carolina. An official document from the Board of Elections states that “most allegations prove to be unfounded, lack criminal intent, or cannot be substantiated.”

From 2000–2012, district attorneys investigated just two cases of impersonation and three in which residency was thought to have been misrepresented.

Because of its potential to disenfranchise African-American voters, voter IDI won't live with Jim Crow legislation has been compared to the Jim Crow laws that institutionalized racism in the U.S. for almost a century. “The horror villain we can’t get rid of, essentially the specter of Jim Crow,” says N.C. Democratic Party Chairman Randy Voller, “returns to the nightmare on Jones Street we’re seeing in this state.”

However, the constitutionality of voter ID legislation has already been decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, which in 2008 ruled 6–3 that Indiana’s voter ID law is constitutional.

In North Carolina though, legislation faces a major hurdle: 40 counties with histories of discriminatory voting practices are covered by Section 5 of the LBJVoting Rights Act. Any changes to the voting laws in these jurisdictions must be approved by the U.S. Justice Department.

Hall says that Section 5 provides the basis for a challenge. “The Justice Department did step in, in South Carolina, for exactly the same reason,” he said. “They had the numbers that show that a disproportionately high number of African-Americans would be the ones who are registered voters who don’t have a driver’s license. And we’ve got that data here.”

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This article is written by Jane Porter and is published at http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/like-a-bad-rash-voter-id-bill-returns/Content?oid=3394545

IndyWeek

 all highlights and pictures were added by the VLTP editor

The Massive New Liberal Plan to Remake American Politics

A month after President Obama won reelection, America’s most powerful liberal groups met to plan their next moves. Here’s what they talked about.

It was the kind of meeting that conspiratorial conservative bloggers dream about.

A month after President Barack Obama won reelection, top brass from three dozen of the most powerful groups in liberal politics met at the headquarters of the National Education Association (NEA), a few blocks north of the White House. Brought together by the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Communication Workers of America (CWA), and the NAACP, the meeting was invite-only and off-the-record. Despite all the Democratic wins in November, a sense of outrage filled the room as labor officials, environmentalists, civil rights activists, immigration reformers, and a panoply of other progressive leaders discussed the challenges facing the left and what to do to beat back the deep-pocketed conservative movement… More →

Chris Hayes On How The Republicans Intend To Prevent Millions From Voting

After one of the most powerful and courageous social movements in American history, one which took the lives of at least 40 people, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, LBJ famously signed the voting rights act in 1965 ending these practices.

“Wherever, by clear and objective standards, states and counties are using regulations, or laws, or tests to deny the right to vote, then they will be struck down. If it is clear that State officials still intend to discriminate, then Federal examiners will be sent in to register all eligible voters. When the prospect of discrimination is gone, the examiners will be immediately withdrawn. And, under this act, if any county anywhere in this Nation does not want Federal intervention it need only open its polling places to all of its people.”

It wasn’t until the passage of the Voting Rights Act, and the many amendments to it over the years that black people in the South and in some places outside the South could actually exercise their right to be full participating citizens in American democracy.

To read this entire article, a treatise on voting rights and the efforts to suppress them, please click hereThe article includes an embedded video.  If you prefer to watch the video and not read the entire report, it is posted to the VLTPVideoChannel, which you can access by clicking here

ACLU Challenge to Photo ID Ballot Measure May Succeed in MN Supreme Court, Yet Fail in Court of Public Opinion

Thanks to a failed MSM and timid DoJ, most Americans do not realize true purpose of voter suppressing photo ID laws…

[note:  this is perhaps the finest reporting that I have seen on Voter Suppression]

It is ironic that so many citizens in the Land of 10,000 Lakes — as high as 80% — would still be taken in by the thick layer of lies that surround the ALEC/GOP push for voter suppressing photo ID laws. After all, it was Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) who so thoroughly demolished the credibility of GOP “voter fraud” salesman Hans Von Spakovsky and his “voter fraud” canard during the September 2011 hearings before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights. The hearings were convened in response to the billionaire Koch brothers-funded, Paul Weyrich co-founded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)-fueled GOP effort to enact new state voting restrictions across the country.

If a majority of Minnesotans either watched Franken’s demolition of the “voter fraud” canard on C-SPAN during the September 2011 Senate hearings or read The BRAD BLOG with any regularity at all, they would realize that polling place photo ID restrictions have nothing to do with preventing “voter fraud” and everything to do with disproportionately disenfranchising poor, elderly, student and minority citizens.

But, alas, the vast majority of U.S. citizens have neither watched the C-SPAN video of the September 2011 hearings nor read any of nearly ten years of articles at The BRAD BLOG. The vast majority are bombarded daily, on the other hand, by an all-pervasive right-wing media that entails not only Fox “News” and right-wing radio, but multiple right-wing newspapers and think tanks — all of whom have no problem at all repeating the lies in service of what they see as the greater good: holding or obtaining political power.

Please click here to read how the ACLU is taking this information and is fighting Voter Suppression in MN.  It has already fought and won in MO.