The real voter fraud.

AuthorMorales, Ed
PositionVoter identification laws

Republicans have found the ultimate weapon for winning elections: denying people the vote.

Last year, twenty-two states enforced tough new restrictions on voting, making it significantly harder for people of color, in particular, to cast ballots in the 2014 midterm elections.

Take the case of Anita Buck, a nurse in Carteret County, whose struggle to vote was documented by the South Carolina Coalition for Social Justice. Buck moved to Cumberland County to help at a local hospital for a nine-month stint. While she was living there, she updated her driver's license. When she moved back to her home in Carteret County, she tried to vote. Only when she reached her polling place did she realize that her voter registration had been changed. She was told her name was no longer on the rolls, and since there was no same-day registration, she was out of luck. She voted with a provisional ballot, but the ballot did not count, since the law prohibits voting in the "wrong" county.

Millions of voters without a government-issued photo ID in the sixteen states that require it were disenfranchised in 2014. In addition, there are four states that now require documented proof of citizenship. The good news is that the rush of voter ID laws has had the unintended effect of broadening the voting rights coalition.

"The people without state IDs include the elderly, an increasing number of young people who aren't getting driver's licenses because they're not driving as much as generations before, people with disabilities, and tens of millions of women who are challenged because 90 percent of women change their names upon marriage," says Kathleen Unger of Vote Riders.

Besides laws that restrict voting or discriminate against voters by requiring voter IDs, there is an increasingly contentious battle being fought over felon disenfranchisement.

Florida New Majority shared the story of Francine Madera, a formerly incarcerated woman whose rights were restored. Madera says a poll worker told her that "I could only vote through a provisional ballot, and it wouldn't count anyway" since the records were not updated to show that her voting rights had been restored.

"Florida is one of three states left in the United States that does not restore your right to vote" if you are a felon who has served your time, you are off probation or parole, and you have paid all fines, says Sandra Benton of the Florida Coalition on Black Civic Participation. "To get your rights restored in...

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