Why Are We Still Fighting Over African-American Voting Rights 50 Years Later?

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“I have a dream that my four little children will me day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character I have a dream . . . I have a dream that one day in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the wards of interposition and nullification, one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”
Dr. Martin Luther King — August 28, 1963

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On August 28th we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, where over 200,000 people gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial.   The event —  organized by labor organizations, faith leaders, and civil rights activists — became one of the most memorable moments in American history.

A commemoration held this past weekend drew tens of thousands to the Washington Mall; but there will be another celebration on Wednesday, featuring remarks by President Barack Obama.

The 1963 March on Washington was the culmination of activists pushing for equality for all, regardless of race.  The March is credited with being the catalyst for passing the Civil Rights Act (1964) and the Voting Rights Act (1965).

“We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”  Dr. Martin Luther King — August 28, 1963

Some people, particularly jurists on the Supreme Court, are saying that discrimination does not exist anymore and there is no need for the Voting Rights Act.  I disagree.  The Voting Rights Act is needed just as much today as it was in 1965.

In states all around the country, the Republican Party has been attacking voters’ rights with ALEC-inspired laws like Voter ID.  So far 30 states have passed some type of Voter ID requirement in an effort to combat a non-existent voter fraud problem.  Anyone who does not have the type of photo ID required by these new laws is effectively losing their Constitutional right to vote.  According to the ACLU “11% of US citizens – or more than 21 million Americans — do not have government-issued photo identification.”

This directly affects the African-American community. “As many as 25% of African American citizens of voting age do not have a government-issued photo ID, compared to only 8% of their white counterparts.”

Over the last few months, North Carolina has been leading the charge to disenfranchise voters, specifically African-American voters.

More than 300,000 registered voters in North Carolina could lack either a driver’s license or a state ID, according to records from the State Board of Elections…. Most of them are poor African-Americans.”

They say these laws are somehow “needed” to stop voter fraud; but in the last 10 years there have been only two cases of voter fraud in North Carolina.  What is their real objective?  Former Secretary of State Colin Powell condemned North Carolina’s new Voter ID law by saying “that he believes the restrictions unfairly target minority voters and will ultimately hurt the Republican Party

Requiring citizens to show a valid photo ID is only one part of the GOP-led attack on voting rights.  The new Voter ID law cuts early voting from 17 days to 10.  They are also eliminating Sunday voting, when many churches encourage their congregations to vote after services.

North Carolina county election boards are now going after college voters.  Why? Because they tend to vote for Democratic candidates.

“The Watauga County Board of Elections voted Monday to eliminate an early voting site and election-day polling precinct on the campus of Appalachian State University.” (source)

Other counties in North Carolina are not being shy about their outright discrimination of African-American voters.

“The GOP chair of the Forsyth County Board of Elections is moving to shut down an early voting site at historically black Winston-Salem State University.” (source)

“The Pasquotank County Board of Elections on Tuesday barred an Elizabeth City State University senior (Montravias King) from running for city council, ruling his on-campus address couldn’t be used to establish local residency. Following the decision, the head of the county’s Republican Party said he plans to challenge the voter registrations of more students at the historically black university ahead of upcoming elections.” (source)

The election board is challenging King’s eligibility to run for city council all on the fact that he resides on campus and claims the dormitory as his domicile.  By challenging his eligibility to run for office, they are also simultaneously challenging a college students’ right to vote in the town they reside in – even though the US Supreme Court has ruled that college students have a Constitutionally-protected right to vote where they attend college.

If you think that the GOP plans to stop with Elizabeth City State University, you would be wrong.  The GOP (Pasquotank) county chairman Pete Gilbert told the Associated PressI plan to take this show on the road.”

The GOP will not stop with North Carolina.  Texas is already moving forward on a new Voter ID that was originally rejected under the Voting Rights Act.  This prompted the Attorney General to sue the state of Texas over these changes.

“In the voter ID lawsuit, the U.S. government will contend that Texas adopted a voter identification law with the purpose of denying or restricting the right to vote on account of race, color or membership in a language minority group.” (source)

Texas is in the middle of a court battle over the GOP-led gerrymandering of legislative districts.  The claim is that the GOP redrew lines in four districts, segregating minority voters into a single district and allowing GOP to protect their majority in the other three.

After nearly fifty years of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, it is obvious that we have not yet achieved the dream that Dr. King laid out for us in 1963.  We have made great strides in equality; we have a dozen states that have enacted same-sex marriage laws.  Yet we still have yet to overcome the wage inequality between man and women, and whites and minorities.  We have come so far – yet, in recent years, it seems that we are moving backwards once again.  The good thing is that we have such great teachers like Dr. King to help remind us we can always do better.

New Report Identifies 466 ALEC Bills in 2013 That Reflect Corporate Agenda

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Today, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) released a new report: “ALEC at 40: Turning Back the Clock on Prosperity and Progress.” The report identifies and analyzes 466 American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) bills introduced in 2013.

alec_2013_report_coverThis week, ALEC celebrates its 40th anniversary in Chicago. At this meeting — as in all ALEC meetings — lobbyists from U.S. and foreign corporations will vote as equals alongside state legislators to adopt ALEC “model” bills, which then will be distributed nationwide with little or no disclosure of their ALEC roots.

In 2013, ALEC is going to new lengths to hide its lobbying of legislators from the public eye. It has taken to stamping all its documents as exempt from state public records laws, dodging open records with a “dropbox” website, and other tricks. After Watergate, many states strengthened their laws regarding open meetings and open records, but real sunshine on government is anathema to ALEC.

“When ALEC was born, Richard Nixon was president. Gasoline was 40 cents a gallon and the minimum wage was $1.60 an hour. Forty years later, ALEC legislators seem to be hankering for this bygone era, pursuing an agenda to roll back renewables, expand the use of fossil fuels, and suppress wages and benefits for even the lowest paid American workers,” says CMD Director of Research Nick Surgey.

In this report, the CMD identifies 466 ALEC “model” bills introduced in 2013, but pursuing a retrograde agenda.

Key Findings:

  • CMD identified 466 ALEC bills from the 2013 session. 84 of these passed and became law. ALEC bills were introduced in all 50 states and the District of Columbia in 2013. The top ALEC states were West Virginia (25 bills) and Missouri (21 bills).
  • Despite ALEC’s effort to distance itself from Voter ID and Stand Your Ground by disbanding its controversial Public Safety and Elections Task Force, 62 of these laws were introduced: 10 Stand Your Ground bills and 52 bills to enact or tighten Voter ID restrictions. Five states enacted additional Voter ID restrictions, and two states passed Stand Your Ground.
  • CMD identified 117 ALEC bills that affect wages and worker rights. 14 of these became law. These bills included so-called “Right to Work” legislation, part of the ALEC agenda since at least 1979, introduced in 15 states this year. Other bills would preempt local living or minimum wage ordinances, facilitate the privatization of public services, scrap defined benefit pension plans, or undermine the ability of unions to organize to protect workers.
  • CMD identified 139 ALEC bills that affect public education. 31 of these became law. Just seven states did not have an ALEC education bill introduced this year. Among other things, these bills would siphon taxpayer money from the public education system to benefit for-profit private schools, including the “Great Schools Tax Credit Act,” introduced in 10 states.
  • CMD identified 77 ALEC bills that advance a polluter agenda. 17 of these became law. Numerous ALEC “model” bills were introduced that promote a fossil fuel and fracking agenda and undermine environmental regulations. The “Electricity Freedom Act,” which would repeal state renewable portfolio standards, was introduced in six states this year.
  • CMD identified 71 ALEC bills narrowing citizen access to the courts. 14 of these became law. These bills cap damages, limit corporate liability, or otherwise make it more difficult for citizens to hold corporations to account when their products or services result in injury or death.
  • CMD identified nine states that have been inspired by ALEC’s “Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act” to crack down on videographers documenting abuses on factory farms. These so-called “ag-gag” bills erode First Amendment rights, and threaten the ability of journalists and investigators to pursue food safety and animal welfare investigations.
  • CMD identified 11 states that introduced bills to override or prevent local paid sick leave ordinances, such as the one recently enacted in New York City. At least eight of these bills were sponsored by known ALEC members. Although ALEC has not adopted a preemption bill as an official “model,” ALEC member the National Restaurant Association brought a bill to override local paid sick leave ordinances to an ALEC meeting in 2011, along with a target map and other materials.

ALEC has faced increasing scrutiny since CMD launched its ALEC Exposed project in July 2011, making the entire ALEC library of more than 800 “model” bills publicly available for the first time. Since then, groups including Color of Change, Common Cause, Progress Now, People for the American Way, the Voters Legislative Transparency Project, and others have put ALEC in the spotlight like never before.

To date, 49 major American corporations have dumped ALEC, including some of the largest firms in the world.

Read the full report here.

Voting Rights Advocates Applaud Legislature’s Vote to Approve Compromise Voter ID Law

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CONCORD, NH –Voting rights organizations applauded the New Hampshire Legislature’s adoption of the compromise voter ID bill that came out of negotiations between the House and Senate last week. The League of Women Voters New Hampshire, America Votes, the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union and Granite State Progress all have a history of active engagement in education and advocacy efforts for voters in New Hampshire.

 

“This compromise legislation removes the worst provisions of the voter ID law adopted by the previous Legislature,” said Joan Flood Ashwell, election law specialist for the League of Women Voters New Hampshire. “The law passed today repeals some provisions of the current law that were set to go into effect this September. Instead of accepting just four kinds of federal and state photo IDs this September, this compromise retains many of the photo IDs and some other provisions of last November’s voter ID law.”

 

“We’re pleased that the House and Senate were able to overcome their serious differences and agree to make changes to the voter ID law adopted last year,” said Jess Clark, executive director of America Votes NH. “The cost and complexity of the original law were of huge concern to election officials as well as voting rights groups. This compromise will make it easier for qualified voters to meet ID requirements and will save towns from the headache and expense of trying to take photos of voters during busy Election Days.”

 

“Voter ID legislation not only harms students but senior citizens as well. A new provision in the compromise will allow voters over the age of 65 to use an expired driver’s or non-driver’s photo ID, expired passport, or expired military ID,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “This is an important protection as many senior citizens no longer drive or travel but have otherwise valid forms of identification. Without the compromise voter ID law, those senior citizens would have been required to take a voter mug shot on Election Day. Granny voter mug shots are the wrong policy for New Hampshire and we’re pleased the compromise bill is a more stream-lined and considerate way of ensuring our elders can continue to vote.”

 

“New Hampshire should be doing all it can to encourage eligible voters in our state to exercise their fundamental right to vote. The bill passed by the legislature today is an important first step in that direction,” said Devon Chaffee, executive director of the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union. “Going forward we expect New Hampshire officials to continue to work to remove all unnecessary barriers to the polls.”

NH Senate Refuses To Work With House On Voter ID After Flip-Flopping On The Issue

Mary Louise Hancock is a native of New Hampshire who served as state planning director and also as a State Senator. Hancock opposes the Republican legislation that requires photo identification in order to vote. Since 1941 she has voted without need to prove her identity. Hancock is well known for her activism in political matters and has been awarded Dunfey Kanteres and Eleanor Roosevelt citations for her efforts. She has hosted sessions through the years for presidential aspirants from Jesse Jackson to Hillary Clinton. At age 92, Senator Hancock has no intention of lessening her efforts to elect caring people to public office.

Voter ID Will Cost an Estimated $11 Million Over the Next 4 Years While Harming Sweet Little Old Ladies Like This. 

CONCORD, NH – Senate Republicans refused to accept a legislative compromise today despite the fact that it would have reverted to the position they fought for just last session. The Committee of Conference disagreement on HB 595 overturns the Senate position from last year, will cost New Hampshire an estimated $11 million over the next four years,1 and jeopardizes access to the ballot for sweet little old ladies like Concord’s Mary Louise Hancock, age 92.

Mary Louise Hancock is a native of New Hampshire who served as state planning director and also as a State Senator. Hancock opposes the Republican legislation that requires photo identification in order to vote. Since 1941 she has voted without need to prove her identity. Hancock is well known for her activism in political matters and has been awarded Dunfey Kanteres and Eleanor Roosevelt citations for her efforts. She has hosted sessions through the years for presidential aspirants from Jesse Jackson to Hillary Clinton. At age 92, Senator Hancock has no intention of lessening her efforts to elect caring people to public office.

Mary Louise Hancock is a native of New Hampshire who served as state planning director and also as a State Senator. Hancock opposes the Republican legislation that requires photo identification in order to vote. Since 1941 she has voted without need to prove her identity. Hancock is well known for her activism in political matters and has been awarded Dunfey Kanteres and Eleanor Roosevelt citations for her efforts. She has hosted sessions through the years for presidential aspirants from Jesse Jackson to Hillary Clinton. At age 92, Senator Hancock has no intention of lessening her efforts to elect caring people to public office.

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“Senate Republicans have completely flip-flopped on this issue, endorsing more restrictive forms of ID and supporting costly voter mug shots, all of which will add expense and confusion to our polling places and all of which they previously opposed.” – Jessica Clark, State Director, America Votes

“Senate Republicans want your grandmother to pose for a voter mug shot like some sort of criminal just to obtain a ballot. It’s outrageous how much this voter ID scam will cost the state to purchase cameras, cords and printers for polling locations plus training, when that money could better be spent protecting essential health services from the chopping block Senate Republicans have placed them on.” – Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director, Granite State Progress 

 

1) America Votes & League of Women Voters of New Hampshire, Report on Anticipated Voter ID Costs, May 7, 2013
For more information: http://granitestateprogress.org/photo/senate-republicans-want-cut-services-and-jobs-while-spending-11-million-voter-mug-shots

Brace Yourself This May Hurt: NH Senate Moved Forward With Job Killing Budget

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Yesterday labor leaders from throughout New Hampshire stood in the Legislative Office Building urging NH Senators to restore the proposed cuts to the NH Budget.

Well as you have probably already heard the NH Senate passed their budget with millions in cuts.   Yesterday at the press conference NH AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie stated:

“They are attacking New Hampshire middle class families by cutting jobs, cutting critical services and following an extreme agenda that comes from the same out of state special interests that fueled last session’s tea party behavior.”

Diana Lacey, President of the NH State Employees Association (SEIU 1984) really hit home in her explanation of these cuts.

“The Senate budget makes across-the-board cuts at DHHS and directs the Governor to reduce personnel costs by $50 million over the biennium. This means the elimination of as many as 700 jobs.  These workers provide critical services, pay taxes and contribute to the state’s economy. They are real people that will go on the unemployment line and go from self-sustaining to potentially needing public assistance instead of providing vital services for the state.”

If you remember that the last budget under Bill O’Brien cost New Hampshire over 1000 jobs. This budget would add another 700 to that.

Labor is not the only ones who are loosing as a result of this budget vote.  The Senate voted along party lines to reject the Medicaid expansion as part of the Affordable Care Act.  Their vote rejects the $2.5 Billion over the next seven years, to cover the cost of expanding the Medicaid program.  So much for the state helping those needy families or the new jobs that would be created.

One other area that was noted at yesterdays press conference was the issue of Voter ID.  You may not think this is a budget issue but it is.  The State of New Hampshire will have to come up with over $11 million dollars to cover the costs of implementing phase two of the Voter ID law as passed last term.  Jessica Clark from America Votes told the crowd:

“They are willing to cut jobs and harm critical programs in our state, but waste taxpayer money on needless Voter ID legislation, which is project to cost up to $11 million over the next four years. Senate Republicans need to turn away from their misguided budget priorities that will harm New Hampshire families and voters.”

After today’s vote Governor Hassan had these stern words for the Senate:

“While there are clearly areas of agreement around critical priorities such as higher education, mental health funding, and economic development, the budget passed by the Senate still falls short in a number of areas that are imperative to moving our state forward. The across-the-board cuts to Health and Human Services and employees will impact critical services and cause hundreds of layoffs, and the rejection of $2.5 billion in federal funds for Medicaid expansion undermines efforts to strengthen our economy and improve the health and financial wellbeing of New Hampshire’s working families.

“As the process moves forward, legislators will need to take a bipartisan approach, set ideology aside, and listen to the people of New Hampshire in order to reach a final a balanced budget that reinvests in the priorities needed to build a more innovative economic future.”

The Senate Democratic Leader, Sylvia Larsen released this statement after the vote:

“This budget will cost hundreds of jobs and eliminate critical services for Granite Staters by sweeping, across-the-board cuts. The Senate Republican Budget forces the Health and Human Services Commissioner to cut millions of dollars threatening  funding for the developmental disability waitlist, the CHINS program, mental health care, community health centers, and family planning.”

“Although, I have serious concerns about this budget, I hope that by the end of the budget committee of conference, we in New Hampshire can rise above ideology and move forward with common sense solutions that meet the needs of our citizens.”

The budget process is far from over.  Now that the Senate passed their version of the budget a ‘committee of conference’ will be created to work out the differences between the two budgets.  This is where you can expect some serious fireworks and horse trading. The committee should be working to strengthen NH, not increasing our unemployment.

Sign The Petition To The NH Senate To Pass HB595 (VoterID) As It Was Introduced

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The NH Senate voted to restrict the number of allowable ID in HB 595 (Voter ID).  The Senate also made some amendments to the bill forcing a ‘committee of conference’ with the NH House.

They want to force polling places to take a picture of you with a digital camera if you do not have an ID. These cameras and training will cost the state nearly $11 million of dollars.   The Senate is cutting $20 million from Health and Human Services yet they want to spent $11 million dollars to buy cameras for every polling place in New Hampshire? What are their priorities if helping the low-income families looses to digital cameras to solve a Voter fraud problem that does not exist.

We need the Senate to come to their senses and compromise with the House to pass HB595 as it was introduced.

My good friend Jess has started a petition online to encourage all of these Senators to change their minds and compromise with the House on HB595.

Sign the petition here

The petition reads:
By Jessica Clark

I am writing today to ask you to go to a committee of conference and support HB 595 as introduced.

Making it harder to vote by restricting the number of IDs that were acceptable just one year ago isn’t fair and doesn’t make any sense. I ask you to restore all of the IDs that were acceptable in 2012 to get a ballot.

I also don’t want a mugshot of me or my neighbors if I only have one of the very few IDs that are acceptable. It will only cause long lines and cost us millions of dollars.

You are fighting for an unnecessary law that will cost New Hampshire $11 million in the short term, while at the same time you are drastically cutting essential health services for the elderly and disabled. You have misplaced priorities. You should be working to help Granite Staters instead of attacking voting rights in our state. The right to vote is important – no one should take away my right to vote.

NH Senate Flip-Flops On Voter ID Provisions. Advocate Spending $1 Million Dollars After Slashing HHS Budgets

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Senate Republicans change position on expensive camera provision at the polls, whether student identification cards are an acceptable form of Voter ID 

Advocate to spend $1 million dollars on Voter ID law same week they drastically cut services for elderly and disabled, mental health community in New Hampshire  

CONCORD, NH – Senate Republican leaders are flip-flopping on key provisions of the Voter ID fix bill up for a Senate floor vote this week, advocating for measures they disapproved of last session and opposing provisions they supported.

The New Hampshire State Senate will vote on HB 595 as amended by the Senate Public and Municipal Affairs Committee on Thursday, May 23rd. The Senate amendment does not allow student identification cards or county and municipal identification cards to be used as acceptable forms of voter ID to obtain a ballot. In 2011 Senator Russell Prescott (R – Kingston) – who was the prime sponsor of the Voter ID law last session – testified in front of the House Election Law Committee that student identification cards should be included in the list of acceptable ID’s under the Voter ID law. He also testified that the Senate opposed wasting taxpayer dollars on the costly camera provision which requires colored photographs to be taken of individuals without acceptable forms of photo identification; this along with other phase II provisions of the Voter ID law are anticipated to cost the state nearly $1 million dollars over the next four years.

America Votes and Granite State Progress call on the Senate to not flip-flop on Voter ID provisions, and to instead prioritize Granite State families over costly Voter ID laws.

“It is unconscionable that the Senate would reverse their position and support one of the most restrictive ID laws in the country in order to target voters, specifically students, from exercising their right to vote,” said America Votes State Director Jessica Clark. “Even House Republicans agreed during recent committee meetings that we should not further restrict the forms of identification used during the last election, and not one person spoke in opposition.”

“Senate Republicans are fighting for an unnecessary law that will cost our state one million dollars in the short term alone, the same week they are drastically cutting essential health services for the elderly and disabled,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “Senate Republican leaders have misplaced priorities. They should be working to help Granite Staters instead of attacking voting rights in our state.”

GSP Video: State Senator Russell Prescott on Voter ID: Student ID’s Acceptable (http://youtu.be/CHzKHXg3gZY)

“On the topic of, do we in general, accept student identification? And that should be yes, we should.”

GSP Video: State Senator Russell Prescott on Voter ID: Student ID’s Acceptable (http://youtu.be/J2kpbchE2O4)

 “The Senate position believes that if a person fills out a challenged voter affidavit, they are taking a large responsibility upon telling the truth and there really is no need to accept the funds.”

Sen. Prescott testified before the NH House Election Law Committee, April 10, 2012. The Senate must pass legislation that alters the New Hampshire Voter ID law this session or only four types of ID will be accepted to obtain a ballot starting September 2013. Individuals without an acceptable form of Voter ID will be required to have a color photo taken by a poll worker.

 

**ICYMI: Nashua Telegraph today also reports:  “Young Democrats, Republicans align to ask for change to voter ID

**NHLN post on college students opposing new voter ID changes include a letter from the NH Young Republicans and NH Young Democrats.

NH Young Democrats and Young Republicans Come Together To Oppose Voter ID Changes

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Young Republicans and young Democrats come together to oppose Voter ID restrictions being debated in the NH Legislature.  The current debate is about stopping ‘phase two’ of the O’Brien legislation that would greatly reduce the number of allowable forms of identification.  This means that student IDs would no longer be valid.

This prompted a group of Republican and Democratic college students to come together to write a letter to the NH Legislature.  They have serious concerns about protecting the rights of students who want to vote, but do not attend a state school like Plymouth State.

Everyone should have the right to freely vote and these Voter ID restrictions are more about disenfranchising voters and protecting the process.  These students make a great point and the NH Senate would be wise to listen.

Dear Honorable Members of the New Hampshire General Court,

New Hampshire college students have long played a vital role in our first-in-the-nation primary and electoral process, ultimately becoming heavily invested participants in our democracy. In witnessing and hosting debates and forums on their campuses, volunteering on campaigns, and voting, it is imperative that New Hampshire students are continually encouraged to take part in our deeply valued tradition.

The currently proposed amendment to New Hampshire voter ID has caused much concern among many young voters across the Granite State, as those attending a private college in New Hampshire would be unfairly treated differently than those who attend a public university.

While our students who attend Plymouth State University or UNH would have no trouble using their student ID to vote, students attending Dartmouth College or Saint Anselm College would be turned away for using theirs.

As students from Saint Anselm College in particular, a school recognized statewide and across the country for its political activity, we are gravely concerned that such an amendment would diminish the involvement and opportunities that our students have long been afforded.

While we often have our differences on issues being debated in the State House in Concord or in Congress, we have nonetheless united to ensure the equal treatment of students in the New Hampshire electoral process with strong hopes that our counterparts in the State House and State Senate will do the same.

Sincerely,

Jesse Imse, President, St. Anselm College Democrats

Tara Sennick, Chair, St. Anselm College Republicans

Jake Wagner, Chairman, NH College Republicans

Theo Groh, President, NH Young Democrats

 

NHLN Note: There is also a great article on Voter ID in the Nashua Telegraph. Check it out here. 

Voter ID: Yes It Is Unreasonable To Require ID To Vote

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Today the Nashua Telegraph posted a letter to the editor entitled “It’s not unreasonable to require ID to vote“.  This letter is obviously pushing for an ID to vote.   The writer, W. B. Heffernan Jr. of Nashua, talks about how many people have ID’s to have their taxes done.

“My job is processing taxpayers seeking to get their tax returns prepared at no charge, and that job includes determining that they have valid photo IDs.

The program is open to all, but caters to seniors and low-income taxpayers. The latter category includes “minorities.” These people, who the “anti-voter ID crowd” claims will not be able to vote because they won’t have a valid photo ID, have no problem in presenting one to obtain free tax preparation.”

I find a few thing wrong with this. First you cannot say that the people who are using your program accurately represent the state of New Hampshire.  The state of New Hampshire is a relatively small state but W.B Heffernan could not possibly know all of the people in New Hampshire.  Talking to a few dozen or even a few hundred people at the Nashua Public Library does not represent all of New Hampshire.

In northern areas of New Hampshire it could be a 30-45 minutes to the nearest DMV office.  For a senior who does not drive, this is a waste of time and money.

My other problem with this is that at no point does W.B. Heffernan say what is a valid ID.  Right now the Voter ID law is scheduled to change.  Durning the 2012 elections the Voter ID law required an ID to vote or a signed affidavit saying that you are who who you say you are.   This generated over 20,000 signed affidavits from people in New Hampshire that did not have an ID and wanted to vote.  Those 20,000 are the ones who continued to vote without an ID.  There is no way of knowing how many people who do not have an ID did not even try to vote.

Under the current State Senate I highly doubt that the Voter ID will be fully repealed.  What we can do is stop the further implementation of the second phase of the law.   Phase two requires polling stations to take the picture of a person who do not have an ID.  This is very costly and does nothing.  Are they going to post the picture on Facebook asking ‘do you know this person?’   If they move forward with phase two it will cost the state thousands of dollars every year to buy digital camera for every polling station and the training associated with it.

The second major issue with phase two is what is considered a valid form of identification.  In 2012 there were many acceptable forms of identification including personal recognition and college IDs.  So for those who do not have an ID but have voted in the same place for years the moderator can vouch for them with personal recognition.  Not is phase two, it is unacceptable along with college IDs and municipal IDs.

If we cannot overturn the Voter ID law then we must fight to stop phase two of the Voter ID law as it is written.  It will do more to disenfranchise voters than actually stop the fictional voter fraud problem in New Hampshire.  Not to mention it will cost the state more money, which is a serious problem in itself.  Would you rather see more money cut from our community colleges to buy cameras for every polling station in New Hampshire to be used once or twice a year?  I do not.

Voting Rights Groups Support Repeal Of Voter ID Law

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Voting rights groups including the League of Women Voters NH and America Votes spoke in support of HB 287, AN ACT eliminating voter identification requirements during a hearing at the House Election Law Committee yestreday

“The League of Women Voters strongly opposed adoption of the photo ID law and we oppose it, if possible, even more now that it’s been in effect for the primary elections and the Presidential election last November,” said Joan Flood Ashwell, Election Law Specialist for the League of Women Voters NH. “She added, ” The League of Women Voters urges the Legislature to repeal the photo ID law in its entirety. The law serves no legitimate purpose and it poses a real danger to the ability of citizens to exercise their most fundamental right – the right to vote.”

Jessica Clark, Political and Field Director for America Votes, said, ” Implementation and real cost of voter ID in 2012 was in reality much more than originally described. We do not know all of the additional costs and whether they came out of the general fund or the HAVA fund but we do know that during the 2013 organizational meeting of this committee Deputy Scanlan reported that 3500 staff hours were dedicated to implementation of voter ID.  That’s the equivalent of hiring two fulltime staff. The department also mailed 22,000 letters. We have yet to enter the phase of investigations but attorney staff time will be utilized further increasing the cost.”

Ron Geoffroy from the NH Alliance for Retired Americans was quoted in the NH Union Leader.

“Ron Geoffroy, senior executive vice president of the alliance, told the committee the repeal “would right a terrible wrong when it comes to New Hampshire seniors.”

He noted many elderly people give up their driver’s licenses and now have to find someone to drive them to the Division of Motor Vehicles to have a photo ID taken in order to vote.”  (Supporters, opponents voter ID repeal speak out at hearing)

From Kevin Landrigan at the Nashua Telegraph:

“Devon Chaffee executive director of the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union, said some potential voters, particularly those who are elderly, the disabled or low-income citizens were still intimidated from voting.  “We don’t know how many voters may have stayed home or be chilled from the requirements,” Chaffee said. “What we do know is there was real confusion over the law.”

The truth is that Voter ID Laws are designed to make it hard for people to vote, and discourage voters from voting if they do no have a drivers license.   The Voter ID law has not really taken effect yet because during the last election you could not be turned away if you do not have a valid ID.  Even though there were reports that people were being told they needed an ID to vote.

There is no proof of Voter Fraud in NH.  The video that the NH GOP keeps referring to that proves we need Voter ID is actually a video of someone breaking the law and filming themselves doing it.  Now, James O’Keefe has not dared to set foot in NH because of the possible charges he would face.

We need to repeal the Voter ID law before more people are turned away from their Congressional right to vote.