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Last November, Mississippi voters approved by referendum a voter ID constitutional amendment. Because the amendment required enacting accompanying legislation, the legislature then passed HB 921, which Governor Phil Bryant signed into law on May 17, 2012. ALEC Members Joey Fillingane and Bill Denny were behind these efforts.
We have known for some time that such laws put voting even further out of reach for many vulnerable populations, and recent analysis confirms that the Mississippi law could make it virtually impossible for some of these citizens to vote. Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann has asked state residents to let his office know if they lack ID, and says that they aim to provide free ones. But, that free ID is causing its own problems. Jackson Free Press:
UPDATE: Though July 1 has now passed, Governor Rick Snyderstill has yet to sign the voter suppression package. The Michigan chapter of the National Action Network is planning a march from Detroit to Lansing on July 23-27 to protest these and other measures, should the Governor come down on the wrong side of civil rights. Chapter president Rev. Charles Williams II, a supporter of PFAW Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Council, says that the bill’s proponents are "playing games" and "we’re standing against it."
UPDATE: The New Hampshire legislature has overridden Governor Lynch’s veto on SB 289 by an 18-5 margin in the Senate and 231-112 in the House. The SB 318 veto fell along similar lines, 18-5 and 232-110, respectively. Both are now on the books, but at least voter ID still has to be cleared by the Department of Justice.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota along with the League of Women Voters Minnesota, Common Cause Minnesota, Jewish Community Action, and five Minnesota voters have challenged an amendment to the Minnesota constitution (HF 2738, sponsored by ALEC State Chairwoman Mary Kiffmeyer) because it would confuse some voters into believing that prohibited forms of identification, such as student or company ID, would be accepted. The plaintiffs argue that the amendment is “misleading and false” because the ballot language references “valid photo identification” while the amendment uses the phrase “government-issued.”
A series of voter suppression bills, whose ALEC ties include Representative Dave Agema and Senators David Robertson and Darwin Booher, have now made their way to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. Supporters claim that the legislation is necessary to combat voter fraud, but there is a reason the Right Wing has been so eager to invent such a problem and then offer gratuitous solutions: to disenfranchise the voters least likely to back conservative politicians.
Defenders of Wisconsin’s Act 23 (aka AB 7), a voter ID law sponsored by ALEC affiliated legislators and signed by ALEC alum Scott Walker, were dealt a blow last week when State Representatives Robin Vos and Bob Ziegelbauer were forced to end their attempt to intervene in court on behalf of the law. The Government Accountability Board determined that they received legal services in a manner inconsistent with the state ethics code.
Earlier this year, Pennsylvania lawmakers passed HB 934, a voter ID law whose original sponsor, Daryl Metcalfe, is an ALEC member. Voting rights advocates filed a lawsuit in May, and in June, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald announced that he, too, plans to challenge the law in court. Fitzgerald and local officials cite the legislation as being too expensive and too difficult to implement by November, among other major flaws.
Last May, Texas Governor Rick Perry signed SB 14 into law. An ALEC award-winner himself, Governor Perry had the support of several ALEC members and others who pushed the legislation. Together they made Texas a photo ID state.
Then the DOJ issued an official objection that stopped the law from going into effect, saying that it disproportionately affects Hispanic voters. Not only is Texas defending the law but Attorney General Greg Abbott has amended the state’s complaint with a direct challenge to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The AG has also dropped his objection to taking depositions from state lawmakers.
Though it remains tied up in court, the effects of the law have already been felt statewide, especially surrounding the May 29 primary. KSAT: