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(This week in the war on voting is a project of Meteor Blades and Joan McCarter.)

Youth vote rate fell from significantly from 2008 to 2012

Fired up by the direct appeals of Barack Obama's presidential campaign in 2008, 51 percent of voters under 30 across the nation turned out for the election. That was just one percent below the record turnout of 1972, the first year that 18-year-olds could vote in a presidential election. And they turned out hard for Obama.

But, according to the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement at Tufts University, that 51 percent fell to 45 percent in 2012. And while young citizens still gave Obama an overwhelming percentage of their votes (60 percent vs. 37 percent for Mitt Romney), according to National Exit Polls, they had voted 66 percent for Obama in 2008 vs. 32 percent for John McCain.

Youth Vote 2012
Voters under 30 set a turnout record in 1972, the first year 18-year-olds could vote in a presidential election.
The importance of the youth vote is shown by the fact that, in 2012, Obama won it in several states where he won the electoral vote—including Ohio, Florida, Virginia and Pennsylvania—but lost the over-45 vote. Using the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey's turnout data and National Exit Polls, CIRCLE estimated that around 14.8 million voters under 30 cast their votes for Obama in 2008. But only about 12.3 million young voters chose him in 2012—a hefty drop of 2.5 million votes. That's two-thirds of the 3.7 million fewer total votes from all age groups that Obama didn't get in 2012 that he had in 2008.

The CIRCLE analysis contains some other valuable information as well in both text and charts, including:

Although in the 1972 general election, men and women were equally likely to go to the polls, over the past thirty years, a gap has emerged in presidential election turnout. By 1992, 54 percent of women ages 18-29 voted while only 50 percent of men did so. In 2012, the gender gap in turnout was 7.1 points (with women ahead). For age 30+, the gender gap was just 2.7%. Young women also have substantially higher
levels of educational attainment today.

African American youth turnout was 53.7% for 18-29s in 2012, much higher than the average rate for young Americans and indeed higher than the rate posted by young White people in any election from 1976-2012, with an exception in 1992. However, African American youth turnout was down by 4.5 percentage points compared to the record-setting rate in 2008. For African Americans age 30 and older, turnout rose in 2012 compared to 2008, by more than 3 points.

Youth turnout for Whites, Asian Americans and Latinos also fell compared to 2008.

The CIRCLE study also breaks down the youth turn out state by state for 2012. At the top of the llst was Mississippi with 68.1 percent (second place was Minnesota at 57.7 percent). The worst showing was West Virginia's, with just 23.6 percent of those under 30 voting.

Please read more about the war on voting below the fold.

Colorado makes some good moves in voter reform

Colorado was one of the problem voter suppression states in the 2012 cycle, or at any rate, Secretary of State Scott Gessler was among the real villains, threatening voter purges, refusing to mail out ballots to a big chunk of registered voters who he deemed "inactive" (for having missed the off-year election in 2010). But already, Colorado is vying for voter reform state of the year with sweeping legislation that will make voting more convenient and harder to suppress. Gov. John Hickenlooper was expected to sign the bill into law Friday. The new law requires that all Colorado voters receive their ballots by mail, though they can also vote in person on election day at voting centers.

It also: expands voter registration to election day; shortens the residency requirement for qualifying to vote; repeals the category of inactive-failed-to-vote, meaning clerks can't indiscriminately purge lists; and requires that the secretary of state conduct monthly change of address searches on registered voters and mandates that voting rolls are updated with those new addresses.

Add voter fraud to right wing's immigration talking points

Of course, this is a primary concern of all Republicans: a whole slew of new, brown, eligible voters. Their worst nightmare. But only True the Vote, the vote "monitoring" organization is out there declaring it out loud.

In a fundraising email to supporters, True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht warned that the bill presents a “golden opportunity” to allow “millions of newly legalized immigrants” to “undermine our electoral system.”
Of course, anyone legalized under the bill wouldn't be eligible for citizenship—and the right to vote—for 14 years, but True the Vote isn't going to let any facts get in the way of their fear-mongering.

Ohio Republicans relentless on voter suppression

Their latest move is a really sneaky one.

During last-minute voting, Ohio House Republicans sneaked in an amendment to the Ohio House budget bill that requires public universities to classify students as “in-state” if the students are given documents required for voting. For universities, it means deciding between charging for out-of-state tuition rates, which are higher than in-state tuition rates, and providing documents to students that are required for voting. For out-of-state students, it likely means a more difficult time voting in Ohio.
The university system is opposed to the legislation, but it's going to be up to the Republican-controlled Senate and Republican Gov. John Kasich to stop it.

N.H. Senate committee axes student ID for voting: The committee voted 3-2 on partisan lines to remove the statutory wording that makes student ID cards acceptable as identification at the polls:

Committee Chairman David Boutin, R-Hooksett, said although the specific reference to a student ID is removed under his voter ID amendment, it would allow state university system student IDs to be used under a broad requirement that the would-be voters produce "a nondriver's identification card issued by" a "department, agency or office of any state."
Tennessee follows national trend in turnout uptick by black voters: The Census Bureau reported last week that, nationwide, black Americans voted greater proportions than whites in the 2012 election. That was especially true in the South:
The trend appears to have been similar in Tennessee. Black participation rose to 61 percent in 2012 from 59 percent in 2008. White participation declined slightly, to 55 percent in 2012 from 56 percent in 2008.

As they did elsewhere, blacks in Tennessee are believed to have voted for Obama over Republican nominee Mitt Romney by an overwhelming margin. But with white voters outnumbering blacks five-to-one in Tennessee, Romney carried the state by more than 20 percentage points.

Iowa Senate shoots down photo ID proposal: The Iowa Senate voted along party lines 26-24 on May 7 against a Republican-sponsored amendment that would have required the state's voters to show a photo identification to cast their ballots.
Sen. Robert Dvorsky, D-Coralville, strongly objected to the amendment.

“This is a vote suppression bill, clear and simple,” Dvorsky said, criticizing Republican Secretary of State Matt Schultz for his efforts to detect voter fraud. “This does nothing to move voting forward in Iowa. … I think it is one of the worst, cynical things that you could run.”

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