Lawsuit filed today to force
state public assistance offices to comply with the National Voter Registration
June 6, 2011
ATLANTA, GA. –A coalition of voting rights groups filed suit
today against Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp and Commissioner of the
Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) Clyde J. Reese III to remedy the
State of Georgia’s failure to provide voter registration services at state
public assistance offices, as required by the National Voter Registration Act
of 1993 (NVRA).
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Georgia State
Conference of the NAACP (Georgia NAACP) and the Coalition for the Peoples’
Agenda (Peoples’ Agenda). The plaintiffs are represented by lawyers from
Project Vote, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Dēmos, the
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the NAACP, and the law firm Dechert LLP.
“The State of Georgia has been ignoring its responsibilities
under the NVRA for too many years,” said Nicole Zeitler, director of the Public
Agency Voter Registration program at Project Vote. “The result is that
thousands of low-income Georgians have been denied the opportunity to register
Today Project Vote is pleased to join the American
Civil Liberties Union of Florida (ACLUFL) in filing a lawsuit in federal court
in Miami to block implementation of damaging new changes to Florida's election
law until those changes can be reviewed and examined by the U.S. Department of
Justice (DOJ) or the U. S District Court for the District of Columbia, as
required by the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The law at issue, HB 1355, would set onerous
requirements, unreasonable deadlines, and stiff penalties that would severely
hamper the ability of community organizations to conduct voter registration
drives. It also prevents voters from changing address or updating their
information at the polling place when they vote, which is now permitted, and
cuts in half the number of early voting days provided under current law.
press release sent today by the ACLU, Project Vote Director of
Advocacy Estelle Rogers, co-counsel in the case, said "Voter registration
drives have been indispensable in expanding the Florida electorate,
particularly to low income people and racial minorities. HB 1355, with its
onerous rules and stiff penalties, makes it too risky for most groups—like
civic organizations and church groups—to run a drive in Florida, and thousands
of eligible voters will be left out as a result."
May 27, 2011
This morning, Texas Governor Rick
Perry signed SB 14, which will institute strict photo-ID requirements for
anyone wishing to vote in the state. Project Vote Executive Director Michael
Slater issued the following statement in response:
under the guise of addressing the mythical threat of “voter impersonation,” the real effect and intent of this
legislation will be to disenfranchise tens of thousands of Texas voters,
particularly young voters, seniors, and low-income residents.
14 requires every voter to present a specific form of Texas identification,
from a very limited list of options, including a driver’s license, a state ID card, a military ID, or
other government issued photo identification. While this may sound like a
reasonable requirement in a society that requires photo ID for routine
transactions, we must remember that voting is a right, not a privilege. Setting
up new hurdles that otherwise eligible voters must jump on their way to vote is
a severe blow to our democracy.
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