Voter Suppression

Originally posted at on November 6, 2011

voter suppression – blocking votes – voter registration

How tough is it getting to register to vote? In a recent article in the LA Times, David Savage writes: “And those who seek to register new voters must themselves register with the state and must submit each new registration to a county office within 48 hours — or face fines.”

This describes the situation in Florida, where new laws are tightening voters’ ability to register or cast a vote. Here are some of the effects:

  • Early voting is reduced from two weeks to one week
  • Voting the Sunday before election day is eliminated
  • College students face new restrictions if they want to vote away from “home” (see below for more info on how to vote as a student)
  • People who help voters register could face fines and penalties for procedural errors

Voting “is a hard-fought privilege. This is something people died for,” said  Republican Sen. Michael Bennett of Bradenton, the chamber’s president pro tempore. “Why should we make it easier?” So basically, people should die before they vote?

Florida is a key state in elections, where every vote counts. It is not surprising that the Republican-led legislature would be interested in suppressing the votes of minorities, students, and the poor who generally vote Democrat. In seven states, namely Alabama, Kansas, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin you are required to show photo identification at the polls, so be prepared.

For students who want to vote, “If you’re a resident of the town you live in (have a lease, utility bill in your name, etc.) you can register and vote where you currently live. If you live in on-campus housing you most likely still have residency in your home state (the address on your driver’s license or ID card) and you can vote absentee.” To learn more, go to Register to Vote.

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