Friday, August 26, 2011

National Voting Advocacy

National Coalition Complains About Voting Changes

The National Coalition for the Homeless has written to Attorney General Eric Holder seeking a Justice Department investigation into all the changes that have taken place over the last nine months in voting rules and the concern that homeless participation will suffer with an upcoming Presidential election.  The letter prominently features the changes in Ohio law, which NCH fears will disenfranchise homeless people.

"Ohio increased the size of precincts, which could increase the lines on Election Day, a huge problem in the 2004 Presidential election in Ohio.  Poll workers will not be required to tell voters that they are at the wrong precinct.  The Ohio legislature increased the number of technical reasons for not counting provisional ballots, which homeless people are often forced to use because of their residency problems.  They have reduced the number of early voting days including eliminating Sunday voting and outlawed Counties from reaching out to voters that have mailed early voting forms"
There is a page on their website detailing the issue, and guides advocates through the process of sending a similar letter to the Attorney General.  Many of the changes in the laws across the country are targeted to disenfranchise lower income voters.  These new laws are passed largely along party lines, with the claim that these new rules protect against voter fraud, but the new rules disenfranchise more voters than they catch engaged in fraudulent activities.  No one has been able to prove that there are duplicate or non-citizen voters.  In fact, the only allegations of irregularities were ACORN canvassers registering multiple voters in an effort to collect a bounty on each registration form turned in, and most of these rules do not address registration issues. 

We urge you to follow the National Coalition's lead and send a note to the Attorney General asking for an investigation.  We believe that many of these new laws violate the Voting Rights act and are a violation of the Help America Vote Act.  Congressional leaders sent a similar letter earlier this year, but that was centered on the new mandatory identification requirements.  The ID issue was cited in NCH letter, but there are bigger issues of disenfranchisement issues in Georgia, Rhode Island, Florida and Maine that serve only to reduce the number of potential low income voters.  Take Action!  Write to the Attorney General and ask for an investigation to protect access to the polls by those without housing.

Brian Davis
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