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Project Vote Issues Statement on TX Voter ID Law E-mail

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:

Presented 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.

SB 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.

Voting Rights Organizations Applaud Court’s Mandate Protecting Private School Students’ Voting Rights E-mail

Decision overturns NJ board of education’s refusal to comply with statute, despite urging from ACLU-NJ, Project Vote and Fair Elections Legal Network

Monday, April 25, 2011

NEWARK - The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, Project Vote and the Fair Elections Legal Network today applauded the New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division’ decision holding that the New Jersey State Board of Education failed to meet an obligation for all eligible students to receive voting materials and instruction by failing to create regulations governing those rights of private and charter school students.

“This is a significant victory for the rights of young voters, and for the voting process generally,” stated ACLU-NJ Legal Director Ed Barocas.  “We all benefit when we have an informed and engaged electorate.”

For 25 years the Department of Education failed to fully implement the 1985 Voter Registration Law, which mandates schools distribute voter registration materials and civic instruction to eligible public and non-public high school students, by not adopting rules and regulations as required. The ACLU-NJ, Project Vote and the Fair Elections Legal Network petitioned the State Board of Education in January 2010 to comply with the High School Voter Registration Law. When the Board of Education rejected that petition in June 2010, the organizations filed a lawsuit challenging the Board’s lack of regulations covering voter education at private and charter schools. Its regulations only covered public schools, requiring them to check off a large questionnaire every three years attesting that they have complied with the law.

"School-based programs are one of the most effective means of instilling life-long voting habits," said Niyati Shah, election counsel for Project Vote. “We hope the state board now adopts regulations that will increase voter registration and participation by young adults throughout New Jersey."

Rights Groups Sue Louisiana over Voting Rights Violations E-mail

State Agencies Failed to Register Minority and Low-Income Voters under National Voter Registration Act

April 20, 2011

(New Orleans, LA) --Yesterday, Project Vote, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Inc. (LDF), and New Orleans attorney Ronald Wilson filed a complaint in federal court on behalf of the state conference of the NAACP and several private individuals, alleging that Louisiana is disenfranchising minority and low-income voters by failing to offer them the opportunity to register to vote as required by the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).

“By failing to comply with the National Voter Registration Act, Louisiana is denying minority and low-income voters across the state equal access to the ballot box,” said Dale Ho, Assistant Counsel with LDF’s Political Participation Group.

The NVRA requires public assistance agencies that provide services to low-income residents to offer their clients the opportunity to register to vote with every application for benefits, renewal, recertification, or change of address transaction. The complaint cites evidence showing that Louisiana agencies are failing to carry out their responsibilities under this law.

Despite consistently high numbers of participants in Louisiana’s food stamp and Medicaid programs, voter registration applications originating from public assistance agencies have been surprisingly low. As of 2008, voter registration applications originating in these agencies had dropped 88 percent from 1995, despite increased participation in public assistance programs.  The complaint also cites the results of agency investigations and interviews of public assistance recipients showing widespread non-compliance. 

“Registration at public assistance agencies is important for reaching populations that are less likely to register through other means, including low-income residents, minorities, and persons with disabilities,” says Nicole Zeitler, director of the Public Agency Voter Registration Project at Project Vote. “By ignoring this vital law, Louisiana is denying this right to thousands of its residents every year.”

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