|On Historic Night, President Says "We Have to Fix" Voting; Project Vote Agrees|
November 7, 2012
WASHINGTON -- Michael Slater, executive director of Project Vote, released the following statement:
“In his victory speech in Chicago last night, President Obama thanked ‘every American who participated in this election,’ and appropriately so. Almost 120 million Americans exercised their right to vote, reaffirming again the power of our democracy.
The president also mentioned long lines at polling places and said, ‘we have to fix that.’ He’s right, and there are deeper problems with how elections are conducted in this country that must be addressed. Longer lines at the polls are partially a result of voters and poll workers alike having to navigate our nation’s complicated labyrinth of voting laws, which have largely been erected to make voting more difficult, more confusing, and more intimidating.
Now that the election is over, we must take action to ensure that future elections are true to the fundamental values of American democracy by reforming our voting laws and procedures.
The 2012 election cycle included some of the most shameless attempts at voter suppression in decades: draconian restrictions on voter registration drives, discriminatory Voter ID laws, drastic reductions in early voting hours, disastrously inadequate resources for heavy-turnout precincts, and dangerous attempts to bully voters at the polls. Such voter suppression efforts—which disproportionately target older voters, young voters, first-time voters, and people of color—are unacceptable, un-American, and antithetical to a functioning democracy.
The good news is that this year we also saw the American people standing up to those who would silence them. Some voter suppression tactics were overturned by court actions. Others were repudiated by state and local government leaders. Just last night, Minnesota voters rejected a strict photo ID amendment. And last night, from coast to coast, tens of millions of Americans went to the polls and voted, despite long lines and confusing laws and the attempts of some to throw hurdles in their path.
Americans proved last night, as they have proven for generations, that they will not be silenced. But the road to the polls should not be so long or so hard. No eligible voter should be forced to jump through hoops to register or to vote. No eligible voter should have to wait in line for hours to vote. And no eligible voter should be harassed, intimidated or challenged at the polls.
For nearly 20 years Project Vote has worked with our allies in the voting rights community, as well as stakeholders in the civil rights, human rights, and labor communities, to ensure that every eligible American can register, vote, and cast a ballot that counts. We plan to continue this work to support a positive reform agenda that will make it easier, not harder, for American citizens to participate in the democratic process.
We must make voter registration more accessible, make voting laws less confusing, and make the act of casting a ballot easier and more convenient for all Americans.
We will urge states across the country to roll back misguided voter ID laws, proof-of-citizenship laws, and restrictions on registration drives.
We will work with federal and state leaders to support common-sense election reforms that make voting more convenient for Americans, such as same-day registration, online registration, and expanded early voting.
We look forward to working with President Obama, Congress, and leaders and legislators across the country to reduce long lines, fight voter suppression, and make it easier for every eligible American to participate in our democracy.”
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