Voting Rights Round-Up

Voting Rights Round-Up

Voting Rights Round-Up

Information about efforts to combat voter disenfranchisement.

Published September 12, 2012

There are just 55 days before Nov. 6, leaving a matter of weeks for voters to arm themselves with the information they need to ensure that they won't be turned away from the polls on Election Day. This week, Pennsylvania's voter ID faces a big test as oral arguments for and against it are heard in the state's Supreme Court. If the law is not overturned, thousands of African-Americans and other voters could be disenfranchised this fall unless they are made aware of the various efforts to help them get the requisite ID.

Black Pastors Unite: Rev. Al Sharpton has declared a “state of emergency over voter suppression” and during the Democratic National Convention he rallied African-American pastors to spend the next month helping Blacks and Latinos get the photo IDs they will need to vote in November. “We are targeting congregations across the country to let them know where the laws have been changed so they are not surprised,” Rev. W. Franklyn Richardson, chairman of Sharpton’s National Action Network and the Conference of National Black Churches, told The Washington Post. Their efforts will include encouraging parishioners to vote after Sunday church services during early voting periods; get out the vote initiatives and support for petitions in courts to overturn new laws.

Pennsylvania: The state’s voter ID law heads to its state Supreme Court on Thursday where oral arguments will be heard about whether it should be implemented on Nov. 6. The six-member court is evenly split with Democrats and Republicans, with Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson having the deciding vote if there is a deadlock. Simpson ruled in August that the law should stand. The plaintiffs are expected to argue that so far only about 7,000 non-driver’s license photo IDs have been issued since March when the law was enacted while at least 100,000 voters need IDs, reports.

Louisiana: Voters in Louisiana who do not have a photo identification card will be able to present a utility bill, payroll check or government document on which their name and address appears. They also will have to sign an affidavit with an on-site election official. “Louisiana falls in the middle, and for right now, it does seem like a good, moderate approach,” Ryan Teten, a political scientist at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, told The state also will hold an early voting period from October 23-30.

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(Photo: Johnny Wagner/Getty Images)

Written by Joyce Jones


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