To the dismay of voting rights proponents, Governor Chris Christie vetoed a bill that would allow voters to vote early at select polling locations. The bill passed the General Assembly mostly along party lines which reduced the likelihood for the Governor’s signature.
By now you may have noticed that the US Census Bureau released the results of its polling around the 2012 elections. While the numbers do not indicate partisanship of voters or the candidates whom they supported, they provide a wealth of information on demographics such as age, gender, education level, and race of voters as well as the methods they used to vote and register, or, in other cases, why they skipped going the polls all together last year.
A recent report from MontPIRG shows why Election Day registration, allowing citizens to register and vote on the same day instead of requiring a two-step process, is important to advancing voters’ rights. Using the University of Montana as a case study, the report demonstrates extensive use of Election Day registration among students and faculty.
News broke this morning that Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell signed a bill which will require all voters in Virginia to present a photo ID to vote. The law, which will go into effect in 2014, will be the second drastic voter ID change in the Commonwealth in the span of three years if it is implemented.
Governor McDonnell, who earlier this year made headlines urging the Republican controlled General Assembly to automatically restore the rights of felons to vote in Virginia, has proven he is not focused on expanding or protecting the right to vote through signing this bill.
Republican members of the North Carolina General Assembly held a press conference this morning outlining their plans to formulate and pass a photo voter ID bill. GOP leadership laid out a slow approach, stating that they do not expect to file an actual bill until at least March 25th, following weeks of testimony on the issue.
Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board (G.A.B), the nonpartisan state government agency that administers the state’s elections, has released a report detailing the cost to taxpayers that would result from eliminating Election Day registration (E.D.R.) in the state. E.D.R. allows eligible individuals with proof of residence to register to vote at their polling place on Election Day.
Reports have surfaced in the past few weeks that some voters across the country are being told to stay home on Election Day and instead vote early over the phone. While voting from the convenience of your home sounds nice, with no lines and total privacy, there’s only one small problem with this. You cannot vote by phone in any state in the U.S.A.
Supporters of election laws that make it more difficult to register to vote and cast a ballot publically make hyperbolic claims of “voter fraud” despite the total lack of evidence that it is a problem in the United States. Although facts and statistics demonstrating the paucity of voter fraud are sufficient to determine that crude partisanship or distain for certain communities is really the motivating factor, politicians and other leaders behind these legislative efforts sometimes accidentally make that motivation public.
At the beginning of July, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder surprised many by breaking party lines and vetoing three suppressive election laws, H.B. 5061, S.B. 803, and S.B. 754. While this is a victory for voting rights advocates, they are not out of the woods yet.