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    War on Voting: Two Victories This Week

    Two glimmers of hope in the war on voting to report. Legislators in both Arkansas and Iowa rejected restrictive photo ID measures this week. (They join Colorado, Hawaii, Mississippi, and New Mexico as the states where laws to make it harder to vote have been stopped this year.)

    The Iowa victory was particularly important because all of Iowa’s county auditors – the people who actually run elections in the state – came out against the bill, saying photo ID requirements were unnecessary, costly, and flawed. Among the auditors, there are 60 Republicans, 38 Democrats and one independent. I don’t think I’ve ever said this before, but “Go auditors!”

    A recent article highlighted Jasper County and 49 other counties that have systems to ensure integrity and guarantee voters are who they say they are without resorting to disenfranchising methods like only accepting state-issued photo ID:

    Jasper County began using laptop computers equipped with the Precinct Atlas Program to check voters at the polls. Forty-nine other counties in Iowa also use the program. Precinct Atlas contains all of the vital information about voters registered in Jasper County to verify their true identity. Poll workers are provided with the voter’s birth date, address, telephone number, the last four digits of their Social Security number, a driver’s license number, and whether that person is a convicted felon.

    If a voter shows up at the wrong polling place to vote, the program prints out a label with the address of the voter’s correct precinct and polling place.

    “With this information, it would be extremely difficult for a person to pass themselves off as someone else to vote,” [Jasper County Auditor Dennis] Parrott said.

    For those of us who are interested in modernizing and improving the system, these Iowa counties look like a good model.

    In the meantime, we still have to fight back against those who are trying to turn back the clock. As we like to say here at HQ, “in America, we Rock the vote, we don’t block the vote” . . . so sign up to fight back in the war on voting here.

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    Thomas Bates
    Bio: Thomas is Rock the Vote's Vice President of Civic Engagement.
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com

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