Thursday, July 9, 2009
Motor Voter Suit Turns To Indiana
The Associated Press reports that advocacy groups say Indiana is violating federal law requiring voter registration assistance geared towards low income voters. What the AP calls a "coalition of advocacy groups" have filed a lawsuit against the state alleging Indiana is not giving enough voter registration assistance to low income voters at public assistance offices and, thus, is violating the "motor voter" law. Indiana is one of several states the groups such as "Demos" are suing. Another suit is to be filed in New Mexico as well.
The AP writes Demos numbers report that in the first two years "motor voter" legislation, 2.6 million voters were registered through public assistance offices, but that those numbers have dropped considerably since 1996. In some states, it's down as much as 90 percent.
The "motor voter" law, signed into law by Bill Clinton, not only allowed registration through state-run motor vehicle offices but also state-run public assistance offices as well. Brenda Wright of Demos told the AP that two to three million new voters could be registered annually if the law was followed completely. The groups settled with the State of Missouri in earlier suits.
It should come as no surprise that Indiana would violate these laws. Of course nothing is proven yet in court, but this is, after all, the state that passed one of the most restrictive voter ID laws in the nation. That law has stood up thus far in court, but it is very clear that in practice it does potentially disenfranchise voters. Elderly voters that don't drive had to suddenly go back to the DMV to register for an ID card or a drivers license...just to vote. All of this when the actual proof and case load for voter fraud is exceedingly low. According to a Brennan Center for Justice study, there is more of a chance of a person getting struck by lightning than actually committing voter fraud by impersonating another person.
The two issues are linked. They both serve to disenfranchise voters who typically vote Democratic. If they do get registered, then, the Voter ID law makes it even tougher for these folks to vote. This has long been a ploy of the Republicans. If you still don't believe me, study the Republican-led Florida voter purge system in advance of the 2000 Election.
It's sad because it always seems like the Democrats want to make it easier for people to vote while the Republicans want to make it tougher.
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