With the election fast approaching, voting rights is once again coming into the national spotlight and we are once again reminded that we must be vigilant in our fight to defend it. Around the country, Republicans are trying to chip away at voting rights and make it more difficult for citizens to participate in the democratic process. We at BlueWaveNJ believe voting should be easy and accessible to every citizen.
Here are some of the latest developments in voting rights:
Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down North Carolina Voter ID Requirement
Voting rights won a huge victory in North Carolina a few weeks ago as a federal appeals court struck down a voter ID law that targeted black voters with "almost surgical precision." From the New York Times:
The North Carolina ruling tossed out the state’s requirement that voters present photo identification at the polls and restored voters’ ability to register on Election Day, to register before reaching the 18-year-old voting age, and to cast early ballots, provisions the law had fully or partly eliminated.
The court also held that the ballots of people who had mistakenly voted at the wrong polling stations should be deemed valid.
Wisconsin federal appeals court decided the state’s harsh voter ID law stays on the books
In Wisconsin, a recent injunction on their restrictive voter ID law was overturned just this week, posing a threat to voting rights in a big battleground state. From Vox:
In July, a district judge issued an injunction on the state’s 2011 voter ID law to allow prospective voters without identification cards to vote as long as they submitted an affidavit proving they were unable obtain an ID. This procedure would be used as a "safety net" for voters who couldn’t get a recognized ID "with reasonable effort."
But on Wednesday, a three-judge panel decided not enough had been done to define the threshold of reasonable effort.
Illinois Governor Vetoes Law That Would Have Registered 2 Million Voters
In an effort to suppress the vote in advance of his 2019 reelection bid, Illinois Republican Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill that would've automatically registered two million voters, becoming the sixth state in the nation to do so. From ThinkProgress:
Rauner had expressed some support for the policy back in May, telling reporters: “I am a big fan of simplifying the voter registration process and trying to get everyone who should be able to vote, to get them registered and vote.”
By early August, he had a different view. While expressing support for the general idea of automatic voter registration, he wrote in his veto notice on Friday: “The consequences could be injurious to our election system.” Urging the legislature to make reforms to the bill before sending it back to him, he cited the threat of non-citizens registering to vote and casting ballots.
Some of these laws are allowed to stay on the books after the Supreme Court's gutting of the Voting Rights Act back in 2013. In Congress, Democrats and progressives are working with John Lewis and others to try to restore the legislation so critical to minority voting rights. Join the fight by signing their petition below.