• Ohio Christian Alliance push for photo voter ID law. If Ohio state legislators don't pass a voter ID law, the conservative group says, it will seek to pass one by means of a state initiative in 2015.
The process would involve circulating petitions and collecting more than 100,000 signatures before the end of the year. The legislature would then have about four months to act before backers circulate more petitions and gather another 275,000-plus signatures to place the issue on the November ballot.In fact, the post-election reports show voter fraud is scarcely a problem at all in Ohio. Moreover, Secretary of State Jon Husted says photo ID wouldn't solve the problem if there was one.
"With 29 days of open voting still available, there continues to exist an opportunity for those who intend to commit voter fraud to take advantage of Ohio's open-ended election season," said Chris Long, president of the Ohio Christian Alliance. "The post-election reports detail a story that voter fraud is a growing problem in Ohio. The only way to address this challenge to Ohio's election system is to adopt a photo ID requirement."
• Project Vote reports on 2014 voter legislation. As part of its ongoing series, Project Vote last week released its Election Legislation 2014: Threats and Opportunities. Written by Communications Manager Erin Ferns Lee, the white paper provides state-by-state blurbs about new voting laws—the good and the bad—in a table format, taking note of which have passed, failed or remain pending. It also includes maps showing partisan control of legislatures and the governor's offices.
You'll find more on the war on voting below the fold.
Social media behemoth Facebook recently launched a global version of its “I’m a Voter” button. The button, originally launched in 2012, is designed to let your friends on Facebook know that you’ve cast a ballot.• NAACP calls out Alabama Jim Crow era "voucher" system:
According to a study in the journal Nature, in 2010, more than 300,000 people cast ballots in the mid-term elections after seeing a friend share the button on Facebook and in 2012 approximately 9 million people shared the button during the presidential elections.
The U.S. Vote Foundation recently launched a new widget that answers all sorts of absentee voting questions. The Can I Vote Absentee (CIVA) widget let’s voters quickly find what the absentee voting rules and regulations for their state and then allows voters, advocates, whoever to share the widget directly on their websites to help other voters.
In clear violation of the Voting Rights Act, the State of Alabama has proposed a set of rules that will require an otherwise eligible voter who lacks the required photo identification to prove his or her identity by the "voucher" of a class of mostly white poll officials.Personally acquainted with mostly white election officials. Clever system.
"It is deeply problematic that Alabama's Secretary of State is trying to resurrect an unconstitutional and illegal relic of the Jim Crow South," said Ryan P. Haygood, Director of the Political Participation Group at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. "Discriminatory voucher tests, which Congress explicitly banned along with literacy tests when it passed the Voting Rights Act in 1965, have no place in modern day Alabama," Haygood added.
The Alabama Secretary of State's proposed rules would require a voter without photo identification to show that he or she is personally acquainted with an election official in order to vote.
• 88 religious organizations send letter to Congress on voting rights legislation. Bend the Arc, a progressive Jewish action group, helped coordinate the drafting of a letter to Congress seeking quick action on Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014 (H.R. 3899/S.1945). The signators, national, state and local, represent more than a dozen denominations. Among other things, the letter states:
The teachings of our respective faiths may diverge on issues of theology and practice, but all speak clearly of the imperative to pursue justice and treat each and every human being with dignity and respect. We are united in standing up for those most at risk of having their voices silenced at the ballot box. We are inspired to do what we can to protect the right of each individual to play a role in shaping the future of our cities, towns, states and nation. What is at stake in this fight is the very nature of our society, whether we can truly call ourselves a democracy in which each citizen can cast a vote to choose our leaders and shape the direction of our country.• Stephen Lurie says Democrats should stop fighting voter ID laws. They're right that the strict new ID laws are a means of voter suppression. But being right doesn't make you a winner, he writes, and, because voter ID is popular in the polls, Democrats should throw in the towel and focus on other means of broadening the franchise.
Chief Justice Roberts called upon Congress to update the Voting Rights Act. Every day that passes without Congressional action brings new voting procedures unreported at best and outright discriminatory at worst. This bill is not perfect. We remain concerned that voter ID laws are treated differently from other potentially discriminatory policies and that a “known practices” formula, which would provide recourse against some of the most common discriminatory practices, is not included. Yet, we are united in the belief that now is the time to build on the critical tools in this legislation and stop discriminatory voting practices wherever they occur.
Opening primary elections to include all voters should not mean closing general elections to meaningful competition when most people vote. But that is exactly the impact of the top two primary systems that are used in California and Washington, as well as the two proposals being circulated as potential ballot measures in Oregon this year.
Fortunately, there is a better alternative: Colorado reformer Ryan Ross’s groundbreaking proposed ballot measure to open both primary elections and general elections by advancing more than two candidates and using ranked choice voting in November.
It is problematic that many taxpayers have to pay for primary elections in which they cannot participate due to their decision to remain unaffiliated or registered with a minor party – a number of people that is growing as more and more people decide not to register as members of a major party. In states like New Jersey, nearly half the electorate is denied the right to vote in primaries because those primaries are closed to independent voters.
This disenfranchisement, along with the increasingly exaggerated influence of primary elections in our winner-take-all elections (in which fewer and fewer general elections are meaningfully competitive), has led to a movement to open the primaries.