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Think You Have the Right to Vote? Not so Much!

Folks, think you have the right to vote? Maybe not so much. I've been working with some good folks focusing on Voter Suppression issues that are happening across the country. There are some bad actors who are trying to pass legislation that will keep eligible people from voting.

What I learned in high school civics class is that an attack on voting rights is virtually the same as an attack on the country. So I asked people smarter than me to help me do what George Washington would have wanted me to do, collect and release the information you're getting from us today.

I worked with the craigconnects team to create an extremely factchecked infographic to show what's been going on. I feel that people in the social sector are starting to work together in more and better ways – the good people at Brennan Center for Justice, League of Women Voters, Rock the Vote, and Voto Latino have been very helpful with all of their research and surveys. These folks aren't social workers or do gooders, they're just trying to defend Americans and Founding Father values; it's basic patriotism.

Voter Suppression is happening across the U.S. as restrictive voting laws are being both introduced and passed. 164 laws were introduced in states that would restrict U.S. Citizens from voting in the 2012 U.S. Election.

Restrictive voting has taken these forms:

  • Eliminating election-day registration
  • Restricting third-party voter registration activities
  • Reducing the number of days for early voting
  • Legislation requiring photo ID for in-person voting

Restrictions most heavily disenfranchise young, minority, and low-income voters, as well as voters with disabilities. We need to prevent bad legislation from preventing people to vote in the 2012 U.S. election.

Funny enough, though, Protecting the Vote explains that between 2000 and 2007, there have been 32,299 reports of UFO sightings, 352 deaths caused by lightning, and only 9 instances of possible voter impersonation.

Some other important stuff we uncovered:

  • 5 million eligible voters may find it harder to vote in the 2012 U.S. election due to the voter suppression laws.
  • Voter ID laws could cost taxpayers $65.8 million in 4 states: PA, IN, NC, MI. All of these states had huge budget shortfalls in 2011.
  • 34 states introduced legislation requiring voters to show photo ID in order to vote.
  • More than 20 million voting age citizens don't have the type of photo ID required by the state voter ID laws.
  • The people who don't have a government issued photo ID?
      • Aged 65+ = 18%
      • Whites = 8%
      • Latinos = 19%
      • Blacks = 25%
      • Asian-Americans = 20%
  • 3 states passed laws slashing early voting periods by 50%. 1-2 million voters will be affected by the reduction of early voting periods.
  • 15 states introduced legislation that would require proof of citizenship to register and to vote. This will affect 696,000 citizens and potential voters.

Again all of this data has been very seriously factchecked. My gut says that people have always wanted to help others more, but thought they were the exception and there was nothing they could do. Now, on the net you can see that others feel like you do, and that you can get stuff done together. There are a lot of drives and good organizations that you can get involved with. Check out the infographic and the Voter Suppression resources list we put together for some tips on where to get involved.

Awareness and helping to spread the word is a big deal, but understanding a given issue and its complexities is equally important for folks who want to stand up for change.

50 Responses »

50 Responses to Think You Have the Right to Vote? Not so Much!

    Mike McHugh says:

    They say it's not true. All they want is to make sure only citizens vote.They state there have been massive attempts at voter fraud-cite ACORN [voter registration] not actual voting. Point to various Right wing Conservative websites such as the Minnesota Majority's investigation of voter fraud[Minn.Majority is under investigation by Minn.Att.Gen.for Voter Suppression].While all studies show Voter Fraud is an infinitesimal number, the right wing will not believe it.They will say moving DMV's out of urban areas or closing them are no inconvenience if people really want to vote. They won't believe the numbers as Craig's research has found. They won't believe the majority of voter fraud has been committed by released felons who mistakenly vote not realizing they do not get their voting rights back.In Florida, former Gov.Charlie Christ restored the voting rights of convicted felons who had served their term & parole.Gov.Rick Scott made it one of his first acts to remove that right and potentially the franchise from 900k convicted felons. He also put in place a restrictive Voter Registration Law making the Agents like League of Women's Voters & Rock the vote responsible to turn in Voter Registration Forms within 48hrs or have a clear date on a postmark.Otherwise they would be breaking the law! Gov.Scott has cut the 14day early voting period from 14 to 10 days.The Sunday before the Election-traditionally the day black churches conduct voter registration drives is now closed to Voter Registrations by order of Gov.Scott.
    The response of the right is "If people want to vote, they will find a way."

    Richard says:

    What they say is: "… well, you need an ID to write a check or rent a car." Phooey. those aren't rights; they are privileges. Do you need a photo ID to enjoy freedom of expression? Religion? nope. but, just "show me your papers."

      ppred says:

      You are wrong.
      Having a checking account is a privilege, just like voting.
      Do the incorrect thing, and they can both be denied to you.
      Get a $5.00 ID at your local MVD and register to vote. Even senior citizens can afford this as well as the indolent.
      All you have to do is show proof that you are who you say you are, not Mickey Mouse, and guess what? You can vote for your candidate.

        Pauline Dawes says:

        Ignorance must truly be bliss. I've tried, but I can recall no Constitutional Ammendments concerning the right to have a checking account, whereas I believe there are 4 concerning the right to vote. Also, many people over 65 are residents of nursing homes, and have let their drivers' licence expire for obvious reasons. Assuming they find a way to get a new one, the cost is close to $20. The ACTUAL cost of an I.D. in our area is about $12. The average nursing home resident has run out of personal funds and is paid for by Medicaid from that point forward. In that case, the resident is allowed a TOTAL MONTHLY INCOME of $60! So this person, who has spent a lifetime earning the right to vote, can then decide if they would prefer to spend 1/3 (I.D.) or 1/5 (D.L.) of their monthly income to purchase the right to vote; along with the "indolent", as you put it (I assume you meant indigent (meaning poor), not lazy, as lazy people can be wealthy, too). And if the fear is that Mickey Mouse really will slip in to vote, well, …enough said.

      Mark says:

      I seem to need a photo ID to enjoy my 2nd amendment rights. Try purchasing a firearm without ID and a background check.

      cobravenom says:

      I think its perfectly acceptable to require a photo ID. If you dont have one, GO GET ONE!

    Michael says:

    What would be the objective of armed thugs who brandished a nightstick at a Philadelphia polling place in 2008? ‘What are you doing here, Cracker?’ Speaking of heavily disenfranchised ….

    Greg says:

    The liberals are scared to death that if the playing field is equal they might not win so they resort to cheating, ( like 1.8 million dead people voting) then they cry and say, you mean ole republicans just want to take our right to vote away. This guy doesn’t give one source for the above article. That’s the way liberals work, they are just plain dishonest and will say anything.
    http://www.chicagonow.com/dennis-byrnes-barbershop/2012/02/about-1-8-million-dead-people-listed-as-active-voters/

        Scott says:

        Well said. Interesting that Craig says there are only 9 instances of voter impersonation. As if that is the only problem. 1.8 million dead people voting in Chicago alone, wouldn't add much to his point, on the other hand. Charitable organizations should try to stay non-political. I came to this site hoping to find some way to help out a charity that does good work in Uganda, but this isn't that. This is cherry picking organizations that further a political agenda and mobilizing resources for them. Charity should be about helping people, period. Keep the politics out, it only gets in the way.

      Garry says:

      Typical right wing thought mentality, doesn't read correctly and suddenly the sky if falling. The article points out that 1.8 million people who have died are still registered as active voters. It does not say that votes were cast in their names.
      "Mr. Becker warned that poor record keeping at the registration stage is not evidence of fraud at polling places." This is one of the things people with common sense have to contend with. It doesn't matter who casts the vote, it matters who counts them, but funny how the "mistakes" always favor the GOP:
      http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0310/S00211.htm

        ppred says:

        George Sores owns the company that will be counting the votes in Wisconsin for the 2012 presidential race? A swing State.
        So Wisconsin will vote blue.

        It really doesn't matter though, President Romney, better get use to saying "President Romney", because he's your next President.

Bill W says:

Thank you Craig devoting this effort to inform more people about the Republican efforts to provide various voter-restrictive 'solutions' to a virtually non-existent problem. The fact these measures will disproportionately disenfranchise millions of students, senior citizens and minorities, which are all demographics known to favor Democratic candidates, has certainly not been lost on the GOP leadership. These are nothing more than a 21st century version of the poll-tax or literacy requirements.

robert gnecco says:

Why do I suspect that these bills are all republican initiatives?? Leave them alone long enough, and our children will be next as contestants in "The Hunger Games" while the republican hierarchy and their children will be safe in their Washington exempt zone

    Mark says:

    If you'll notice, The Hunger Games has a very strong central government in charge of the poor and disenfranchised districts. That's a democrat dream, not a republican dream. Conservatives want a constitutionally limited central government.

Tom Earls says:

All of this is only to serve as cover when the Republicans adjust vote counts to get the results they want. They own the voting machines and counting equipment.

    cobravenom says:

    I think its hilarious that people somehow put Republicans in this rich category while the Democrats in the same room in Washington drawing the same check are "for the poor" Wake up idiots! Politicians are all rich!

Cary Aye says:

Thank you. Every effort to expose this for what it is, is a step towards democracy for all.

    Scott says:

    Democracy? Oh yea, that thing that killed Socrates. Democracy is not the answer. The founders hated the idea, and for good reason. Eventually 51% will vote the other 49% into slavery.

Faye Anderson says:

I want to again commend you for entering the arena and pushing back against voter suppression by voter ID. When you get a chance, check out my post, "Craig's List of Voting Wrong" [http://bit.ly/CraigsListofVotingWrongs].

Faye Anderson
Chief Evangelist
Cost of Freedom Project
http://bit.ly/VoterIDApp

Daryl Fuller says:

So, let me get this straight…you folks in the left wing wish to continue having absolutely no way of requiring ID for a person to exercise this essential right, is that a fair assessment? Just for the record-owning a car is NOT a privilege, by the way. It has become to be thought of that way, because of the creeping rot of socialist views, where everything is certified, then licensed, then required, then finally denied by "the government" as if "the government" were alive, omnipotent, omniscient, the giver of laws, the giver (and thus taker) of freedoms, the giver (and thus taker) of responsibilities, etc. Get responsible, folks- what if the big bad wolf (straw man) Republicans wanted to fake their votes in YOUR place? There is a wonderfully non-partisan phrase that covers this situation, and all relationships…trust, but verify. It is useful in nearly every relationship and situation every single day. Stop bashing each other and be REASONable, and cut the emotional knee-jerk reactionary theatrics out, and you may see that there is some REASON and THOUGHT rather than simply emotional overreaching "them VS. us" groupthink.I haven't heard this on either CNN or Fox News Channel. I say, FREEDOM FIRST, not big governmentalism, whether D or R or anything else comes after the temporary politicians' names!

Paul F says:

I m all for requiring ID in order to vote. As it is a large portion of our voting populace is woefully unemployed. With 11 million illegals being harbored here in our nation and counting, why risk giving these people access when a simple ID is all that is needed? Most states allow absentee voting, so the excuse that this disenfranchises the elderly and the handicapped is a straw man.

Voting is a privilege, if you doubt that, why is it taken away when you are convicted of a crime? All the excuses given for supposed "suppression" are nonsense in the light of day, and as it is we are lucky when 50% of the registered voters actually vote in an election.

Why not focus on something important, like 100,000 accidental deaths each year in our hospitals due to error? Or the estimated $100 billion+ in annual waste and fraud in our federal budget? $100 billion would pay for healthcare for all the uninsured in the US 3x over (it is estimated the cost is $32 billion annually). This is important stuff, make believe voter suppression is nonsense.

Indie Voter And Thinker says:

So, um, we need ID to buy beer or a pack of cigarettes or a nudie magazine, but it's OK to vote without proving in any way that you are who you say you are? FUCK THAT… how do people get through life without some form of ID? I seriously doubt all of the statistics shown above.

Larry Elledge says:

Absolutely every legal citizen with voting rights should be allowed and encouraged to register and to vote. But surely no one here thinks it is ever OK for non-citizens (or non-registered citizens for that matter) to cast a vote regardless of their political views. And how do we prove people are who they say they are and are citizens except a picture ID?

    Bill W says:

    You're right that no one thinks non-citizens should be allowed to vote, but having an ID isn't necessary to ensure that. You must be a citizen with voting privileges (of legal voting age, not restricted due to criminal convictions, etc) to be able to register to vote in the first place. Then it varies from state-to-state a bit but basically when an already registered voter walks into a polling location, they have to give their name and address other basic info (age, sex, etc) to the poll workers who match that info to their voter registration records. This is all that's necessary to ascertain they are the registered voter they say they are, that they are in the correct polling location, and that they haven't already voted yet.

    Sure, requiring an ID might seem to be a more foolproof requirement if everyone had one, but everyone doesn't. These laws disenfranchise millions of people who have never needed an ID or just don't have the proper ID needed by the law (senior citizens, students, military, etc) all for the sake of stopping a nearly non-existent problem.

    Sure, some voter fraud does exist, but the documented cases number in the hundreds, and study after study shows that voter ID laws disenfranchise millions. They are throwing the baby out with the bath water.

ron n says:

I'm one of the bad people that think every voter should have a picture ID. You have to have an ID for your food stamps an welfare hand outs. What makes it so Hard to have a free photo ID that is also necessary to get a library card and many other hand outs. I believe the illegals, or the one that want to abuse the system are the few who are complaining.

    Thomas Answeeney says:

    Hello, legal citizen here.

    The trouble with these restrictions is that there are several new barriers being put up at once. If the state wants photo ID to vote that seems reasonable, but then they close the places that distribute them in the name of budget cuts. They shorten voting periods to save money, but then spend money to enforce restrictions on registration drives.

    It's obvious that there are certain kinds of voters that the government doesn't want voting.

john hines says:

it says up at the top that there has only been 9 cases of voter fraud 200-2007. it was proven that in ca where the two latina sisters are now in congress. (forget the names) one of them won and found hundreds of cases of voter fraud that allowed her to win. another liberal lie . no fraud b.s.

Mark Hungerford says:

Ok,people lets be REAL.the liberals want to be dictated too about how to live their lives, they think the govt is the answer. Well it's NOT, we left England to get some self rule, iam AGAINST most govt interferance , but when it comes to this I BELIEVE we need voter PICTURE CARDS, obama wants all the illegals to be able to vote him back into office so he can take care of them some more with free entitlements when they aren't even citizens of this country! WHATEVER you liberals say, your politicians want the illegal vote! I URGE ALL TRUE AMERICAN CITIZENS TO GET OUT AND VOTE COME NOV. YOU CN SEE WHT HAPPENS WHEN WE DON'T DUE OUR DUTY, you get an obama for president!

    McSpocky says:

    We are so lucky to have a President, like Barack Obama and not some idiot like the one who occupied the White House for the previous 8 years. Obama 2012!

waste case says:

Anyone else feel that blaming ________ is waste of time.
There is protest zones and the president can kill anyone he decides to.
Obama is Bush times 10 and I hate the Bush family.
The citizens of this country do exactly what the establishment desires with the blame game. There is no difference between political parties now. What exactly is a liberal or a conservative? I like ron paul and believe he is our last chance.
I think we do not need the political parties anymore and all they do is play off one another and cause the citizens to play the game of blaming the others for the problems we face. It is a waste of effort to blame liberals or democrats or anyone and does nothing. The lobbyist have the money that those holding office need to get re-elected. You or I represent one vote and not much as a source of money but a corporation say GE represents many voters and dollars and thats the problem of corporations competing with humans. blah blah blah

Daymon says:

You have to have an I.D. card and voters registry card.
Dead people and faulse people vote enough. So does the electoral college is no longer needed. Lets not forget the hanging tab ballots. Who is it that really votes? No one person is supposed to have this much power to begin with even if it is the president. Are forefathers did not want this for our country and that is what I believed I was taught growing up in American history. I would also like to know what is happening to our constitution and bill of rights for Americans? What will be left for our children.

Danny Steinmetz says:

Thank you for the infographic. I don't know if this has been done, but why not offer a big dollar award to anyone who can show public records of more than x number of convictions for voter fraud. Structure it so if a prize winner feels s/he is entitled theycan go to court or arbitration (as long as they are willing to pay court costs if they lose). It might create the drama needed to publicize the issue. Naturally the cynical sleezebags don't care about the truth but it might help shift some others.

This all makes my blood boil. On the one hand our congress is bought and sold and our campaigns are dominated by those with the money for ads. But that isn't enough; they also have to disenfranchise voters. Sickening.

I feel we are on the cusp of losing our democracy. It won't be long before these kinds of manipulations make it even harder to throw out the rascals who sell their political office to corporate interests, if it isn't already too late.

    ppred says:

    So this infographic voter research started because the author learned in high school about voter suppression. Did they also teach you about voter fraud?
    Liberal schools, with liberal Principals and faculty, teaching voter suppression. That's what they do. You have been brainwashed, my dear child.
    Grow up and seriously question why everything you learned slants towards government being the final answer.

    ppred says:

    Why hasn't Obama walked on water yet? Hold your breath liberals, he can do it, yes he can!

waste case says:

Why bother with id when there are better ways that are as easy as putting a 24 hour dye on the hand. I think you guys are missing the point being made here that less voter supression is good and I agree but feel that a fairer system that accurately reflects a community would be open to anyone living within a community. Include convicted criminals and teenagers. The point of voting is to find out the majority opinion on issues and to implement that.

steve says:

8 times verified voter fraud LMAO. We had bus loads go from Oakland California to San Francisco (just across the bridge) Total 1500. How follow deaths for the previous years and take peole from Poll to Poll. They vote several times. Give them $50,00, lunch and call it a day. Want more training. How about people who moved, transfererd on their jobs, register for non-registerd eligable voters and then vote for them..this works best absentee, thus need for big voting window time wise. Want more….I could go on but the FACT is we need ID to do many things to take my vote away by a frudulent vote should be a felony criminal act not a misdemeaner. And should be prosecuted!!!

Alicea says:

FYI- The largest scale voter fraud discovered thus far in 2012 was in Texas by your beloved "defenders of freedom" – The Tea Party. Not the "liberals" – as much as you like to spit out that word.

Jim says:

You have to show a photo ID to fly, cash a check, sell scrap metal, drive a car, get a marriage license, & 1,000 other things in America, but you shouldn't have to prove who you are to vote?! Voting is NOT a right. It's a privilege. Notice no Republican has a problem with it? That's because almost ALL voter fraud is perpetrated by liberal Democrats. Acorn, Chicago politicians, the list is endless. How is this racist? Are you saying that minorities are too stupid, incompetent, or lazy to be able to figure out how to get one? Now, THAT'S racist! Anyone in the states that are requiring voter IDs can get one free of charge. These states are bending over backwards to make them available to every citizen.

Waste Case says:

Forget showing ID for a second and think about vote suppression as a whole.
In other words are you for vote suppression or where do you line up on this.
Where do you draw the line?
I wonder whether or not the owner of this site agrees that disallowing criminals the right to vote is voter suppression. What's wrong with everyone voting including criminals? With the record prison population clearly this constitutes a very large type of voter suppression yet no mention of this form of voter suppression.Why not?
Is anyone for allowing criminals to vote? I am not scared by this.
Whats wrong with everyone voting?