ID Required: Use These Photo ID’s To Vote In North Carolina

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Starting in 2016, voters will be required to show a photo ID in order to cast their ballots in person.

Supporters of the law claim it will reduce voter fraud, yet voter fraud has been negligible. More likely is that they wish to suppress the votes of the many groups of people who may find the photo ID hurdle too much to overcome. These groups include blue collar laborers, minorities, students, youth, and the elderly.

Acceptable IDs include:

  • a NC driver’s license,
  • a NC identification card,
  • a US passport,
  • a  US military ID or Veterans ID card,
  • or a tribal enrollment card from a federally or NC recognized tribe.

Please note: No student IDs will be accepted, not even ones from North Carolina state colleges and universities.

Due to perfectly reasonable circumstances, not everyone has a photo ID. For some residents, obtaining one is a difficult task. As a Quaker, I know many folks at the Quaker-run retirement homes in Greensboro. Many of them are elderly and obtaining a photo ID may prove difficult. Many have been too unhealthy to drive for years and therefore they don’t have valid driver’s licenses. As well, because they do not drive, transportation to a DMV office is difficult. Some often do not have relatives or friends nearby to rely on to drive them to get a photo ID. One woman I know there was permanently injured in an automobile accident years ago.  She has no reliable transportation anywhere. Additionally, finding the documents required for such an ID (such as a birth certificate or marriage license) can also be an obstacle.

Everyone should be able to cast a ballot unhindered. Demanding a photo ID creates nothing but a problem for people who have been voting without incident for years. Especially because it was passed to solve nonexistent fraud. We must elect people who will erase the photo ID requirement.

Photo courtesy of Theresa Thompson via Flickr.

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You Should Know: The End of Same Day Registration in North Carolina

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Same-day voting registration laws help improve and equalize the democracy process, but did you know that it’s now illegal to register and vote on the same day in NC?  The republican controlled legislature eliminated same day registration last year, a backwards step for our voting process.  Under the new law, voter registration must occur at least 25 days prior to an election.

In 2007 the state general assembly passed a law that made same-day registration legal and voter participation increased immediately.   More than 100,000 North Carolina residents registered and voted simultaneously in the 2008 and 2012 general elections.  Demos, an organization dedicated to public policy, conducted research comparing same day vs. non same day registration states.  The findings illustrated that same day registration states had higher voter participation than those without same a day policy.

The law,even  showed increased voter participation, especially for certain social groups.  Although youths (18-25) comprised 12% of voters in 2012, they were 33% of same day registration voters; Blacks made up 34% of same day registrants/voters.  Illustrating even greater racial ramifications to the current law, Blacks utilized same day registration/voting more than Whites in 2012, according to Dr. Michael Herron and Dr. Daniel Smith, two political science professors.

This law is important to me. I don’t believe that my parents participated in the civil rights movement to have their offspring jump through voter suppression hoops similar to the ones that existed in the 1950’s and 60’s.  Things should progress, not be repeated under less obtrusive schemes.

Remember, same day registration is now illegal.  Get registered to vote today…the right you save may be your own!

Photo courtesy of Theresa Thompson via Flickr.

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More States Show Voter Registration Progress

In response to this post last week featuring the report from Demos on the increase in low-income voter registration in Ohio — in which I wondered if other states were seeing similar progress — the folks at Demos tweeted me:

Demos_Org hi mitchell, ty for highlight Ohio report, see the following in response to your ?: http://bit.ly/bpWx6r

which links to this Ideas&Action blog post with more good news on low-income voter registration in other states.

Missouri experienced a roughly 1,600 percent increase in low-income citizen applications for voter registration at the state’s Department of Social Services, with 246,020 applications processed in the twenty-two months following a successful court action to improve compliance.

In North Carolina, well over 100,000 low-income citizens applied to register to vote through the state’s public assistance agencies since the State Board of Elections worked cooperatively with Demos and others to improve NVRA compliance, a six-fold increase over the state’s previous performance.

The number of voter registration applications from Virginia’s public assistance agencies increased five-fold after Demos worked cooperatively with state officials to improve their procedures.

The increase in low-income voter registration in these states is the direct result of states successfully implementing Department of Justice guidelines requiring public assistance offices to also provide voter registration forms and processing services.

If officials in other states follow the DOJ guidance and learn the lessons of these states, huge numbers of new or previously-missed voters can participate in the coming election season.

The author is the winner of the 2010 CREDO Mobile/Netroots Nation award for Blog Activist of the Year

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Report Shows Voter Registration Progress in Ohio

Increasing access to voter registration opportunities for low-income citizens is working in Ohio, according to a new report from the advocacy group Demos.

Over 100,000 low-income Ohio citizens have already submitted voter registration applications as a result of steps the state has taken to comply with Section 7 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993–specifically its requirement that states’ public assistance offices offer voter registration opportunities and related services–according to a new report published this week by Demos.

Since passage of the NVRA, many states have neglected Section 7 of the Act, which requires that states public assistance agencies offer voter registration in conjunction with benefits applications, renewals and changes of address. Just before Thanksgiving of this past year, Ohio settled a three-year old lawsuit brought by Demos and its partners at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Project Vote, with help from pro bono law firm Dechert LLP, on behalf of low-income Ohio citizens who had not received the required voter registration services.

“Ohio’s experience–the subject of this report–offers valuable lessons both for advocates and for state officials seeking to encourage voter registration and to achieve the full promise of the NVRA,” said report author Lisa Danetz.

[...]
Ohio’s initial success is evident at the individual and county level as well, with larger county DJFS offices now submitting registration applications for significant numbers of clients every month, several counties that had not registered a single voter in the 2003-2004 reporting period now collecting over 100 registration applications each month, and smaller counties registering a significant percentage of their clients.

Ms. Danetz stated, “The results in Ohio show that, with proper implementation of the public agency provisions of the NVRA, hundreds of thousands or even millions of eligible low-income citizens throughout the country can be added to the ranks of registered voters, allowing increased political participation and moving closer to a fully inclusive and representative democracy.”

I wonder how well other states are doing?

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A chance registration

by Kim Andrews—Pennsylvania

Our office recently received a box of voter registration cards, so on my way out to turf I grabbed a handful to put keep in my bag. After one of my first contacts I realized the importance of even having the cards with me.

I was talking about the health care crisis to one woman who signed up as a member and she began talking about the importance of the upcoming presidential elections. She mentioned how she still had not even registered to vote even though she intended to. I pulled out a registration card and handed it to her. She expressed her appreciation and mentioned that because she works so much she was not sure when or even where to pick up the card and she did not have internet access to register online. I was happy to have the cards on me and to be able to leave a great impression on one of our new members.

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