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How are we going to help voters cope with the new state voter ID laws?

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0rganism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-11 12:33 AM
Original message
How are we going to help voters cope with the new state voter ID laws?
Across the country, extreme rightwing legislatures are adopting standards designed to suppress voter participation by minorities, the poor and the elderly. Looking forward, I think dealing with and fixing this is likely to be the single most important, necessary, and fruitful area of activism for the next decade.

A lot of these new laws are designed specifically to make voting difficult for people who have problems getting on the internet or keeping a stable home address. Websites and mailed-out fliers aren't going to cut it for those folks.

We need boots on the ground personally assisting voters with lining up required certifications and physically bringing voters to the DMV, patient people who know the rules and are prepared to record video of any unusual difficulties they run up against. This is not going to be easy, but it is necessary.

Voting rights for the poor, sick, elderly, disadvantaged, and downtrodden -- I did not expect this to be the Great Struggle of my lifetime. I was hoping for universal health care, green energy, fair trade laws... and instead it seems like we're stuck re-fighting the civil rights battles of the 19th and 20th centuries all over again.

If the people cannot vote easily and turnouts are kept artificially low, we simply cannot undo the damage caused by the rightist fanatics over the last decade. Low turnouts favor the republicans, and they've done an excellent job ensuring a stranglehold over our democracy unless we take action Real Soon Now. We cannot afford to wait.

ACORN is pretty much gone now, thanks to the dishonest smear campaign waged by republican activists, but if anyone knows of other organizations stepping in to fill the need please post about them here, or start a new thread. Those who care need to know where to volunteer and send donations.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-11 12:47 AM
Response to Original message
1. Good backgrounder for people who'd like to catch up.
11 States Trying Really Hard to Keep Poor, Black, and Student Voters From Voting
The 2012 election is closer than you think--and just in time, states are passing a host of new bills aimed at making it harder to vote.
July 18, 2011 |

Across the country, new Republican governors have found the policies that they're enacting are less popular than the promises on which they campaigned.

http://www.alternet.org/story/151687/11_states_trying_r...
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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-11 12:54 AM
Response to Original message
2. Can't we all contact the Justice Dept? Some of things I've heard
I'm positive are illegal, and it's happening in so many different States, the Only org. capable of deling with all of them at the same time Is the JD.

The one that was the worst I've heard was Wisc. I think, where they passed a law making it mandatory to have a Stae ID obtained through the DMV, then closed a bunch of DMV offices!

Did you see the video of the woman who was tryig to help her son get a Staate ID, and one of the forms of ID he used was a checking account statement, and the officer behind the counter said, "I need to see activity, something showing that he's actually using the account. Just a statement showing a balance isn't good enough!" I thik Ed showed that on his show tonight.

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0rganism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-11 02:05 AM
Response to Reply #2
8. I wouldn't put any faith in the DoJ to handle these cases
Edited on Thu Jul-28-11 02:08 AM by 0rganism
Even if we had some certainty that the DoJ would take corrective actions against a clear civil rights infringement, when such cases arise it's likely to be after an election event where voter ID laws were used to suppress the vote.

We can't afford to wait for the GOPers to steal another election. It's too late then. As much as I distrust Holder's organization to handle such matters expeditiously, a republican-led DoJ wouldn't even consider touching them at all.

For now, we have to play by their rules and beat them at their own game. We can do that by ensuring people can obtain the mandatory legal IDs and vote in spite of the GOP's anti-turnout tactics.
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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-11 01:04 PM
Response to Reply #8
14. The 2012 election is still over a year away! I think a lot of letters to the DOJ
demanding Holder take action & more emails to the WH asking the presidentto demand Holder get off his butt could work. There is still enugh time!
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0rganism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-11 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. problem is, there aren't any solid cases yet
As I understand it, the current legal complaints revolve around the process for obtaining the ID being overly burdensome. That's going to be a hard case to prove conclusively. To have a really good case, people would have to be shut out of the election.

That's why I'm saying, when the rubber hits the road, it's already too late. Even though we have a few months between the primaries and the general, getting the voter ID laws successfully overturned in that time would be a monumental achievement. I don't think Holder & co are up to the challenge, they'd rather score easy victories by busting up medical marijuana clinics.

I think we have to assume, for now, that we go into the 2012 general election with those laws in place. That leads us to the question of how to comply with the new rules and get people onto the rolls despite the GOPers' legislative efforts to crush turnout.

GOTV isn't what it used to be - now it has to begin months in advance.

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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-11 03:43 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. I have one suggestion. Many seniors and poor don't drive, thus no DL.
Could we organize something to provide rides to & from the DMV? SOmething like they do at voting time whre someone can call a phone # and arrange for transportation.. i know i've gotten calls from the Dem Party asking if I or someone else in my home need transp. to the polls.

I'm in a wheel chair and can't drive anymore, but I'm fortunate that my husband drives and took me to get my State ID.

Maybe we could coordinate that with the local Dem Party Hdq's because it would obviously have to be done on a very local level.

Along with that idea, the localDem party could provide info on exactly what docs you need to get your State ID. They're good at sending things out for meetings & fund raisers. Maybe hey coudl enclose info on that too.
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0rganism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-11 04:22 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. Yep, rides to the DMV is the kind of activity I'm thinking about
Used to be "do you need a ride to the polls?" on election day. Now it's "do you need a ride to the DMV to get a voter ID?" several weeks prior.

I'd like to see the local Democratic party hqs get involved in this, since they have the organization in place to meet the needs of specific areas, and plenty of incentive to respond to the GOP threat.
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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-11 04:55 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. Well I sent my idea to the Ga. Democratic Party. We'll see how they feel.
It would be a great ida if each of us DUers would do the same in their own State and see if we can get a movement going here.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-11 12:56 AM
Response to Original message
3. Here's an article on NAACP efforts:


NAACP: 2012 Election Key In Fight Against Voter ID Laws Targeting Minorities

By CHRISTINA HOAG 07/27/11 05:02 PM ET

LOS ANGELES -- The NAACP plans a big push to increase minority turnout in the 2012 elections, hoping to gain political influence and turn back what the civil rights group says are efforts in various states to deny minorities the right to vote.

To do it, the group is going to reach out to black churches, fraternities and sororities as well as use sophisticated databases, social media and boost training of volunteers to include things like getting a contact for each voter they register.

"The days of the 45-minute workshop are over," said Roger Vann, chief operating officer of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People at the group's annual convention on Wednesday.

Preserving voting rights is a key theme at the convention, which is being held in downtown Los Angeles through Thursday.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/27/naacp-2012-ele...
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0rganism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-11 01:54 AM
Response to Reply #3
6. Nice article - hits some of the important points
I think this part is key:
--
Judith A. Browne-Dianis, of the Advancement Project in Washington D.C., said part of any voter drive must include getting people proper identification.

"We got to education our people how to get these IDs," she said.
--

Advancement Project's website - I'm going to try to find out more about these folks and maybe send a contrib
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-11 01:57 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. In the morning, I'm going over to the ER forum
to see if there are any groups listed over there. ACLU does voting rights but I haven't found anything specific to voter ID yet.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-11 12:59 AM
Response to Original message
4. House Democrats, Senate appeal to DoJ
House Dems Join Senate In Urging DOJ To Fight Voter ID Laws
Ryan J. Reilly | July 27, 2011, 1:10PM

A coalition of 115 House Democrats have signed a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder calling on the Justice Department to vigorously oppose voter ID laws that are sweeping state legislatures across the country.

"Many of these bills only have one true purpose, the disenfranchisement of eligible voters -- especially the elderly, young voters, students, minorities, and low-income voters," they write in the letter.

"Restrictive voter photo identification legislation has the potential to block millions of eligible American voters, and thus suppress the right to vote. We urge you to exercise your authority to examine these laws so that voting rights are not jeopardized," the members write.

The letter was sent about a month after 16 Democratic Senators urged DOJ to use its full power to scrutinize voter ID laws. Several members of the House held a press conference earlier this month slamming the voter ID laws as "racist" and "Rovian." Last week, several Democrats took to the floor of the House to denounce the restrictive measures.

http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/07/house...
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midnight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-11 01:01 AM
Response to Original message
5. If your voting in Wiscosnin... you don't have to show until 2012!
Refuse To Show Photo ID When Voting During Recall Elections and Still Vote
It won't be required, but poll workers will be asking for specific photo ID when you go to vote during the recall elections this summer. The Republicans in the Assembly and Senate have already swiftly passed the Voter Suppression Bill (Assembly Bill 7) by cutting off debate, and Governor Scott Walker likely won't find a conscience before signing it into law.

The bill includes a provision requiring that poll workers request to see specific photo ID before voting, but not requiring the ID to vote. The provision was added to confuse voters into believing they must show ID to vote in the recall elections, hoping to suppress Democratic voters in order to keep the radical-right stranglehold on Wisconsin. Don't be fooled, you don't have to show ID to vote until 2012!

The provision was added as part of the adopted Assembly Substitute Amendment 2 in section 144 (2) Special Procedure at Elections Held Prior to 2012 Spring Primary. The relevant text is:"...an elector who votes at a polling place at an election held prior to the date of the 2012 spring primary shall be requested by the election officials to present proof of identification, but if the elector does not present proof of identification, and the elector is otherwise qualified, the electors ballot shall be counted without the necessity of presenting proof of identification and without the necessity of casting a provisional ballot."
Please help ensure that every voter in Wisconsin knows that even though they'll be asked, they don't have to show photo ID to vote in the recall elections.


http://publius9.blogspot.com/2011/05/refuse-to-show-pho...
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0rganism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-11 02:18 AM
Response to Reply #5
9. helpful this year - but we're looking at long-term harm in 2012
Wisconsin used to be a really voter-friendly place - same day registration, even. Now it's turning into the poster child for ALEC policies.

Even if the voters recall enough GOPers to turn the senate, and even the governor later on, that won't be enough by itself to change the laws. It can prevent further hemorrhaging, but until the assembly turns and reasonable people rewrite the laws, we're looking at damage done. So we still have to plan ahead for 2012 when the ID laws will be fully operational.

Complacency would be a disaster.
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lib2DaBone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-11 04:13 AM
Response to Original message
10. Make Photo ID mandatory... then due to budget cuts.. close all DMV offices before the election.
Shorten early voting and stonewall absentee voting as much possible.

This is he Koch Bros plan now being implemented across the country by TeaBag Governors.
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FlaGranny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-11 05:28 AM
Response to Original message
11. Women of any color have it worst of all.
I recently had to renew my driver's license in Florida, but photo ID would be the same process. Say you are a woman and you have been married more than once. You need your birth certificate, and then you need a marriage license and death certificate or divorce papers for each time you were married. You have to show the progression to your current name. Then, many household bills (to prove your residence) come in the husband's name - electric bill, homeowner's insurance, etc., and you need to have two of those. All those proofs of identity better be in order or it's a no go. I discovered that one of my marriage certificates was from a church and not the government and that is usually unacceptable, but I was lucky, and for some reason if the certificate was from more than 25(?) years ago they would accept it after approval from a supervisor. Thank god I was only married twice. It took a lot of time and effort to get all this information together.

If you don't have access to a computer to look up all these requirements you are not going to know what is required and then you're going to have to make more than one trip to get your license or ID. In addition, when you look up online to get the price, it is not immediately evident that in addition to the cost of the license, the county adds an additional fee. I wound up taking not quite enough money and had to go to the bank, get more cash, and then go back to get my license - because, of course, they do not take credit cards - only checks or cash.
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0rganism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-11 12:56 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. And what if some of those req'd papers were destroyed in a flood?
Or the person looking for the documents maybe doesn't have a clear memory of where they all are? The more papers you need, the harder it gets.

It's going to take effort and a lot of time to re-enfranchise some folks.
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RebelOne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-11 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #11
17. I can't understand why all this documentation is needed.
I live in Georgia and when I renewed my license, all I needed was my current license. I am a caucasian woman. I don't think it should make much difference what color you are as long as you have a valid license. In this state, that is all the proof of ID anyone needs.
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dgibby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-11 09:07 AM
Response to Original message
12. Until these draconian laws can be changed or challenged
in court, there needs to be a grassroots effort to get these people to the DMV to get their photo ID's, ie, carpools, etc.
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0rganism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-11 01:11 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. Exactly my concern
The assistance needs to be physically present for people to legally obtain the IDs they need. I'm envisioning something like a 2-weekend procedure, where a team of activists assists a group of disenfranchised citizens.

Week 1 - assemble all necessary authenticating documents, put them in a folder for safe keeping

Week 2 - carpool over to a DMV in an upscale suburb (since the states in question will be shutting down the urban DMVs)

You know, it would be something of a victory if, when the election rolls around in 2012, the GOP legislators wake up to find that turnout hasn't decreased and they've been tossed out of office.
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