The Young Politica: A Sudden Change in Voter’s Rights

by Maegan Vazquez on October 15th, 2012
in Election Watch, Judicial Watch, Political Strategy, Politics, Young Politica and tagged , , , , ,

Over the past six years, a new string of Voter ID laws has been pushed to legislation in 31 states. These laws require voters to show up with a valid ID at the polls. Voter ID laws, along with laws that allow those in the military to vote early, have been under the national spotlight in recent months, despite being practically invisible to the media when they were first proposed. These laws are ever-transforming and some are still being amended—less than a month before the presidential election.

There has been a recent push to delay Voter ID laws in many states until after the November election. It has been argued that this is the work of the Democratic Party’s agenda, because delaying these laws makes voting more accessible to the poor and the elderly; two groups which tend to vote Democrat.

Where are these changes happening and how will you be affected?

OHIO:

The most recent change in voting rights comes from the notorious swing-state of Ohio. A new voting right allowed all Ohioans in the military to vote early. On Friday, an appeals court ruled that there was no compelling evidence supporting that the military should be able to vote three days before elections if all other citizens could not.

A federal judge also deemed all votes cast in the right polling location but the wrong precinct should be counted.

SOUTH CAROLINA:

The state’s Act R54 requires all voters to show up at voting polls with a driver’s license, state-issued photo ID, passport, federal military photo ID, or a photo voter registration card in order to vote. While this has been ‘precleared’ by the federal government, it will not go into effect until 2013—after the presidential election.

TEXAS:

The Lone Star State is known for attempting to instill some of the nation’s strictest Voter ID laws. It would require a photo ID at the polls. Acceptable forms of ID included a state-issued driver’s license or identification card, a military photo ID, a passport, a U.S. citizenship certificate with a photo, or a concealed-carry handgun license. However, in late August, a federal judge overturned the law.

PENNSYLVANIA:

Similar to South Carolina, a Pennsylvania judge blocked a part of the state’s Voter ID law, saying that there had not been enough done to make sure all voters had access to photo ID. On October 2nd, it was decided that the new law would not be enforced for the upcoming presidential election. There is, however, a dilemma. As of yet, voter education efforts have focused on showing their ID’s at the polls. Since there is not too much time to promote their new strategy, the lack of information may discourage those without ID from showing up to vote.

WISCONSIN:

While a Voter ID law is in place, it will not go into effect until after the presidential election. However, there are ongoing efforts to reinstate the Voter ID laws before November 6th.

FLORIDA:

Floridians who do not bring ID to the polls must sign a provisional ballot envelope.

VIRGINIA:

The Department of Justice will allow for the state’s new Voter ID law to go into effect in time for Election Day. While it does not require a photo ID, it closes a provision that had allowed for citizens to cast their votes without showing any sort of ID.  The law previously allowed for those without ID to vote if they signed a sworn statement saying that they were who they claimed to be. This new law requires those who sign such a statement to later provide ID via fax or email in order to have their vote counted.

KANSAS, GEORGIA, INDIANA, AND TENNESSEE:

In these States, a photo ID is required in order to vote.

Depending on where you’re voting this November, know what form of ID to bring. Even this late in the game, politicians are still aiming to amend or repeal these laws before the big race. Check out this “Voting Laws Roundup” for a comprehensive overview of voting laws around the country.

Maegan Vazquez

Maegan Vazquez, a Texas born sophomore at New York University, brings her young woman's lens on all things political to Heartfeldt Blog every Monday. Send news tips to maeganvaz@gmail.com

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