Voter Suppression, Nationally and in Wisconsin
Recent changes to election laws across the nation have been and are still being litigated in courts. Are they preserving the integrity of elections by preventing fraud, or are new provisions merely suppressing the votes of otherwise eligible citizens? An article in The New York Times reports that the U.S. Election Assistance Commission is currently in court over action its Executive Director has taken that now allows states to require documentary proof of citizenship (such as a birth certificate) to register to vote. Read the article here. Read a NYT editorial board Op-Ed about this situation.
The New York Times published an Op-Ed on March 31, 2016, in which Wisconsin Representative James Sensenbrenner made the case for action on his Voting Rights Act of 2015, which would restore some of the protections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, while eliminating the provisions of that act that the Supreme Court struck down in 2013.
On Tuesday, April 5th (Wisconsin's Spring Election Day), The New York Times published three responses to that Op-Ed column, including one from LWVUS President Elizabeth McNamara and one from LWVDC's own Paul Malischke. McNamara lauded Sensenbrenner's effort and urged Congress to move forward to pass the legislation. Roger Clegg from the Center for Equal Opportunity holds that the proposed law is bad because "it does not protect all races equally." Malischke calls on Sensenbrenner to address the voter suppression issues in his home state. Malischke's Wisconsin Fair Elections website documents the many changes to Wisconsin election law since 2011 linked to voter suppression.
Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/notbrucelee/5139407571