Posted by on December 08, 2011 in Blog
By Jane Kaddouri
In mid-November, AAI warned members in Florida and Texas that their states are actually trying to prevent them from voting. It’s a curious project, given that only about 55% of Americans vote anyway. But in fact, states around the country are passing legislation making it harder for people to register and vote, and most Americans don’t know anything about it. The laws impact minorities, students, and senior citizens most profoundly, but to be sure, they’ll impact everyone. Yesterday, this same attack on voting rights was the subject of an article on CNN’s website.
Take a look at what’s happening in Texas. All voters will need a current photo ID in order to cast a ballot. The good news is that your license to carry a concealed handgun will serve as valid ID, provided it’s current. A student ID, on the other hand, is not acceptable.
Admittedly, I didn’t understand what the problem was with so many states now requiring photo IDs— doesn’t everyone have a photo ID? As it turns out, no… in fact, 21 million eligible voters don’t have a photo ID. And, because state budget cuts are resulting in DMV closures around the country, it’s getting harder (and more expensive) to get one.
We have to hope that folks around the nation who are going to the DMV to get their photo IDs are updating their voter registration while they’re there. Because states like Florida and Texas are making it almost impossible to host voter registration drives … despite the fact that about 28 million voters get registered this way across the country.
Florida has also rolled back early voting from two weeks to just one, and eliminated early voting on the Sunday before Election Day. Last year, in Florida, Georgia, and Ohio alone, 1-2 million people voted on days that have now been eliminated.
AAI’s going to be tracking these attacks on voting rights, along with other types of state legislation — from Islamophobia to anti-immigration bills. In the months ahead, we’ll be letting you know what’s going on in your state, and what you can do about it. Because, as we roll into an election year, you need to know what’s going on not just in the Presidential or Congressional elections, but what’s going on at your statehouse.
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