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    ‘Voter ID laws’



    News Round-Up: Monday, April 14th, 2014

    Monday, April 14th, 2014

    The man responsible for yesterday’s shooting in Kansas has been arrested; a Utah mom has been arrested after authorities found seven dead babies in her garage; a bus blast in Nigeria kills over 70 people; and President Obama gives his opinion on voter ID laws. Meanwhile, Leonardo DiCaprio busts a move at Coachella; the top 5 moments from the MTV Movie Awards have been selected; and a college student’s mispronunciation costs him big time!

    - Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Police arrest ‘raging anti-Semite’ in Kansas Jewish center shootings: http://rtvote.com/Rikm7U
    Three people were shot and killed yesterday at a Jewish community center and a Jewish retirement community in Kansas. The shooter, Frazier Glenn Miller (or Frazier Glenn Cross) is in custody. Miller is a life-long anti-Semitist and both the founder and former leader of the Ku Klux Klan party called the Carolina Knights and the White Patriot Party. He also had an online presence and advocated for the killing of Jews. The 73-year-old perpetrator is being charged with premeditated first degree murder. The victims were an elderly woman at the retirement community and a 14-year-old boy and his grandfather. The boy, Reat Griffin Underwood, was going to the community center to audition for a singing competition. His grandfather, Dr. William Lewis Corporon, was driving him there.

    7 dead babies found in Utah mom’s garage: http://rtvote.com/1eqe14n
    The estranged husband of 39-year-old Megan Huntsman was cleaning out his garage when he found the remains of a baby. The police investigated and found the remains of six more, deposited in cardboard boxes. The children had been born between 1996 and 2006. However, no one knew Huntsman was pregnant, despite living with three daughters. The husband also appeared to not know anything about the killings and is not a person of interest. Neighbors never suspected anything, allowing Huntsman to babysit their children and describing her and her family as an average family. One neighbor said “We enjoyed having them as a neighbor. This has just blown us away.” Huntsman is being charged with six counts of murder.

    Nigeria violence: More than 70 killed in Abuja bus blast: http://rtvote.com/1iNlIgW
    A massive explosion occurred at a bus station on the outskirts of Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, as passengers began to board busses and taxis to get to their jobs in the city. Authorities believe that the attack was carried out by the Boko Haram Islamist militant group. It has staged attacks in Abuja before, but most of its attacks have been in the northeastern part of the country, where poverty is rampant. The Abuja Emergency Relief Agency has confirmed that 71 people are dead and 124 are injured. More than 30 vehicles were destroyed and a 4-foot crater was left in the ground. The bomb is suspected to have been located in a vehicle. The police are on “red alert” and are increasing surveillance at possible targets. Boko Haram has not yet claimed responsibility for the attack; if they do, the Nigerian government worries that it means that the militants are expanding their areas of operation.

    Obama says voter rights threatened from ID laws: http://rtvote.com/1gwdxIQ
    On Friday, President Obama addressed voting rights in a speech to a rights group founded by the Rev. Al Sharpton called the National Action Network. The president said that the right to vote is threatened by increased legislation making it difficult for people to vote, particularly through the voter ID requirement states are passing. The Justice Department has sued both Texas and North Carolina for their voter ID laws, saying that they are discriminatory towards people who don’t have ID’s, particularly minorities. The increase in voting laws are a direct consequence of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down a part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Currently, a bipartisan measure is being passed through the House and Senate that would require states who want to change their voting laws to have their new laws approved by the federal government.

    CULTURAL

    Celeb Coachella sightings! http://rtvote.com/1iND11p

    Watch Leonardo DiCaprio bust a move at Coachella: http://rtvote.com/1hO29nI

    The biggest televised epic fail ever…Wheel of Fortune-style: http://rtvote.com/1iOkFyH

    The top 5 moments from the MTV Movie Awards: http://rtvote.com/1t0OxP8

    The Red Carpet arrivals from the MTV Movie Awards: http://rtvote.com/P0zRPK

    Veronica Barger
    Bio: Veronica is currently studying communications, law, economics, and government at American University in Washington, DC. Originally from New Jersey, she has held an interest in politics since the 2008 presidential election. Being a newly registered voter, she understands how important it is for young people to register to vote and have their voices heard. She looks to spread that message with Rock the Vote.

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com



    The Unsupervised Classroom: Why Changes to the VRA Opened a Can of Worms

    Monday, February 3rd, 2014

    I’ve got good news and bad news…and for the sake of ending on a good note, I’ll start with the bad:

    In the summer of 2013, the US Supreme Court reviewed and phased out section 4b of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). (You can read section 4b of the VRA of 1965 here.)

    If all of this doesn’t seem like a big deal, think again. Say “Goodbye,” to Federal Preclearance and brace yourself for the wrath of States Rights.
    Imagine a classroom full of 5th graders. Now, imagine the teacher leaving the classroom unattended for a few minutes. We’ve all experienced it, the classroom becomes a free-for-all: some kids stand on chairs, some throw paper balls, and others take out snacks to sneak a munch or three. Let’s not apply this analogy too strictly, but in a way, when the Supreme Court eliminated section 4b of the VRA, some states took on the persona of an unsupervised 5th grader. In this situation we have 3 students: Arizona, Kansas and Texas.

    Student One: Arizona. Here, it is now required that citizens submit “sufficient” proof of citizenship in order to vote in the upcoming election. (A list of acceptable documentation for proof of citizenship is here.)

    What does this mean? Voters who register with the federal form, and those who have recently moved (since they will have to register in a new county) will be excluded from voting in the upcoming state/local level elections (Governor, Attorney General, etc…) unless they provide additional/affirmed documentation of citizenship.

    *cough* SHOW ME YOUR FREEDOM PAPERS! *cough* Excuse me.

    Student Two: Kansas, where a similar approach has been taken on, first time voters are being prompted to provide proof of citizenship, in addition to fulfilling the requirements on the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) federal form.

    What does this mean? New registrants cannot vote in federal elections unless they provide proof of citizenship. In the event that the new voter sends in the NVRA form only, he/she will be placed on a “suspense list” and will not be permitted to vote until providing proof of citizenship.

    Student Three (my personal favorite): Gool Ol’ Texas, which is prompting voters to provide a photo ID when voting in person.

    What does this mean? Texas voters are now required to present an approved form of photo identification in order to vote in all Texas Elections. (Here is a list of the acceptable forms of photo ID.) Seems fair enough, but what makes this law particularly tricky is that it disproportionately affects minority voters.

    Since elimination of section 4b interferes with enforcement of section 5, lets just say that the Supreme Court opened a figurative can of worms. And while there is nothing wrong with States’ rights, lest we forget, in the past they have been used to justify some more than questionable policies—such as Jim Crow and discriminatory marriage laws.

    Now here’s the good news:

    It’s up to us as to combat voter disenfranchisement. We can pressure our lawmakers by informing, educating, uniting, writing letters, emails, making phone calls and most of all voting. While we may not have the same views, it is our responsibility to make sure that our voices are heard.

    “Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.” – Justice Ginsburg

    I have a feeling this is the start of what will be an…interesting few years for voter rights in the upcoming elections. Be sure to stay tuned to Rock the Vote for updates and followups on the VRA and state voter legislation.

    And remember…don’t ditch your water repellant gear just yet, it’s still raining out there.

    Saundrea "Drea" Shropshire
    Bio: Saundrea "Drea" Shropshire is currently a senior at Howard University. Majoring in Political Science and minoring in Swahili Studies, she plans to attend law school in the fall of 2015. An avid biker, knitter, painter, movie enthusiast, music junkie, reader and writer, she takes on all tasks with the utmost tenacity and dedication. She also has many leather-bound books, and her apartment smells of rich mahogany.

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com



    News Round-Up: October 30, 2013

    Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

    HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius apologizes at a hearing; retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor officiates a gay marriage ceremony; and a wine shortage hits the world (oh, say it ain’t so). Meanwhile, Chris Brown returns to rehab, and Ashton Kutcher expands his ever-growing resumé with Lenovo.

    -Sandy + Maura
     

    CRUCIAL

    Health chief Sebelius apologizes for botched websitehttp://rtvote.com/1gciabr
    At today’s hearing with the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Kathleen Sebelius, the Health and Human Services Secretary, formally apologized for the technical problems Healthcare.gov has been experiencing. More Republicans are calling for her resignation, and the panel intensely scrutinized Sebelius and the sub par performance of the healthcare website. The Obama administration has vowed to fix these issues by the end of November.

    After Retired Justice O’Connor Performs Their Wedding, Gay Couple Celebrates “Wonderful Day”,http://rtvote.com/1gcl146
    Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor officiated the wedding of Jeff Trammell and Stuart Serkin. She is the second official of the High Court to have officiated a gay marriage ceremony; the first was current Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Once considered a conservative justice, O’Connor was nominated to the bench by President Reagan and retired in 2006.

    Thirsty? There’s a global wine shortagehttp://rtvote.com/1h0vXmS
    Brace yourselves. There’s a wine shortage in the world. Global production fell by more than 5% last year, the lowest it’s been since the 1960s, while demand continues to increase. The main cause for the decrease in production was bad weather in France and Argentina. The French consume the most wine, followed by Americans and then the Chinese. Although the U.S. wine making industry is growing, don’t expect global wine production to improve anytime soon.

    Brazilian Footballer’s Decapitated Head Reportedly Sent to Wife by Drug Lordshttp://rtvote.com/1gcpnZ6
    Former pro Brazilian soccer player Joao Rodrigo Silva Santos was kidnapped and decapitated by suspected drug traffickers in Rio de Janeiro. His head was sent to his wife’s residence on the morning of October 29. Police are unsure why Santos was targeted. Brazilian soccer is often linked to gang activity.

    Baylor students seek to remove gay ban from student codehttp://rtvote.com/1h0AMfN
    The student senate of Baylor University, a private Baptist school, voted to propose that university officials remove “homosexual acts” from the school’s sexual misconduct code. The proposal will go on to the Baylor University Board of Regents for review. Seems like a win for progress and equality? Not quite. One Baylor student says this rewording does not mean they are advocating homosexuality; they are simply not pinpointing homosexuals anymore: “It is saying homosexual acts are wrong but heterosexual acts committed outside of marriage are also wrong.”
     

    PUNDITS

    Joanne Bamberger discusses how certain voting models are compromising the rights of married or divorced women in “Voter ID laws threaten women’s rights,” http://rtvote.com/1gcv2hO

    Sally Kohn explains why losing your current healthcare plan under Obamacare is not something to cry over in “A canceled health plan is a good thing,” http://rtvote.com/1f482P4

     
    CULTURAL

    Chris Brown Kisses Karrueche Tran Before Heading to Rehab, http://rtvote.com/1f48cWG

    Kristin Cavallari Pregnant with Baby No. 2, http://rtvote.com/1h0PUtI

    Former Full House Child Star Blake McIver Now a Sexy Go-Go Dancer, http://rtvote.com/1h0Qec0

    Ashton Kutcher Hired as a Product Engineer to Help Design Tablets for Lenovo, http://rtvote.com/1f48Lj7

    sandywu
    Bio:

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com



    THE DOJ Dukes it Out for North Carolina Voters

    Monday, September 30th, 2013

    North Carolina’s Voter ID legislation now faces a lawsuit from the Department of Justice (DOJ). The state’s new voting law, implemented after June when the Supreme Court lifted NC’s preclearance requirement on voting laws and procedures, has become increasingly restrictive in terms of acceptable forms of voter identification at the polls. The new election law also eliminates the first week of the early voting period, bans same-day voter registration during that time, ends pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds, and abolishes the option of provisional ballots.

    The DOJ argues that these conditions are clear violations of the Voting Rights Act because they intentionally discriminate against certain races and age groups. Voter ID supporters assert that such laws are necessary to prevent voter fraud, but it’s pretty hard to see how cutting down on voting time will prevent fraud.

    Making it harder for Americans – and only certain Americans at that! – to register, vote, and participate doesn’t sound all too democratic, now does it?

    sandywu
    Bio:

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com



    A Voice Crying Out in the Wilderness: John Lynch Defies the Legislature

    Friday, June 22nd, 2012

    New Hampshire Democratic Governor John Lynch made sure that New Hampshire did not join the ever-expanding list of states that require photo ID at the polls yesterday by vetoing the bill that the New Hampshire Legislature put in front of him because he believes it to be too “restrictive”.
    “The right to vote is a fundamental right that is guaranteed to all citizens of [New Hampshire] under the United States and New Hampshire Constitutions,” he said. “Our election laws must be designed to encourage and facilitate voting by all eligible voters in New Hampshire.”
    The bill would have required New Hampshire voters to show an ID at the polls beginning this November. A student ID would have been acceptable this election cycle, but not for any cycle in the future. After 2012, only IDs such as a driver’s license or passport would be acceptable.
    This veto comes on the heels of another veto from the Governor, which struck down a bill that would change the definition of domicile for the state, effectively requiring people to register a car and apply for a New Hampshire driver’s license in order do be considered a resident of the state.
    Both of these bills were proposed as a means to limit the student vote of New Hampshire. In a state with such a small population, the vote from places such as Dartmouth College and the University of New Hampshire, as well as the Granite State’s numerous other colleges, can really impact the outcome of an election.
    Lynch would have supported the legislation if it did not unfairly restrict the youth and elderly vote of New Hampshire. Even in the face of a large majority of the New Hampshire Legislature, a majority large enough to potentially override his veto, he stood strong in his opposition of the bill. As a New Hampshire college student who hopes to cast his vote in Hanover this November, figures like John Lynch are important. It is people like Lynch who make a difference for young voters, especially in the face of attempts to limit their political power in such a politically important state such as New Hampshire.
    That being said, it is possible that this veto will be overridden. If that is the case, the whole electoral system in New Hampshire will be impacted. Most of a demographic will be entirely wiped out, drastically changing the voter makeup of the state. As this saga continues to unfold, keep an eye on the Granite State to see whether its voting system crumbles away like the Old Man of the Mountain or continues to stand strong like Mount Washington.

    Blaze Joel
    Bio:

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com