The 2012 Presidential Elections are drawing closer, and as important as it is for you to be informed on the key issues, it’s even more so that you are registered and know that you will be able to cast your vote. Many political groups are attempting to make it more and more difficult for people, especially minorities, to vote in important local and national elections by passing discriminatory legislation bills.
Color of Change is bringing attention to the growing issue and giving us all a way to prevent the disenfranchisement of millions of Americans.
For years, the right wing has been trying to stop Black people, other people of color, young people, and the elderly from voting for partisan gain â€” and now some of America’s biggest companies are helping them do it.
These companies have helped pass discriminatory voter ID legislation by funding a right wing policy group called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Voter ID bills linked to ALEC have already passed in seven states, and similar voter ID bills have been introduced in 27 other states.
Supporters of discriminatory voter ID laws claim they want to reduce voter fraud (individuals voting illegally, or voting twice). But such fraud almost never actually occurs, and never in amounts large enough to affect the result of elections. What is clear is that voter ID laws prevent large numbers of eligible voters from casting a ballot, and could disenfranchise up to 5 million people.
The truth is that voter ID laws are discriminatory â€” Black people, Latinos, the elderly, students, people with disabilities, and the poor are all less likely to have the photo IDs necessary to vote under these laws. For example, if you’ve recently moved because of foreclosure or some other economic circumstance, you’re more likely to have recently ended up in a new state which won’t accept your out of state driver’s license. If you don’t have a car, you’re less likely to have a driver’s license in the first place.
In many states, it can be expensive and time consuming to secure the proper ID. Even when the ID itself is free, it often requires supporting documents like a birth certificate which cost money to achieve. There are already stories of voters who have been eligible for years struggling to navigate a frustrating bureaucratic maze in order to vote. Requiring ID to vote amounts to a modern day poll tax. And that’s the real purpose of voter ID laws – they are an important part of the modern effort to suppress the votes of groups that usually vote against right wing politicians.
These laws are part of a long history of voter suppression directed at Black folks and other underrepresented groups. No longer is the Black vote suppressed through violence, intimidation and literary tests. Itâ€™s now suppressed through laws that make it burdensome and difficult for many Black folks to vote.
Some of the companies supporting ALEC may simply be unaware that the group is involved in voter suppression. Others might think that voter suppression will benefit their political interests, and hope that they can get away with supporting it because so few people have even heard of ALEC.
We’ve started reaching out to these companies to make sure they know what they’re supporting, and to demand that they stop. Adding your voice to this campaign will help us convince these companies that continuing to support ALEC will hurt their reputation with consumers. We hope that many of them will simply do the right thing and stop supporting ALEC. If they don’t, we’ll be prepared to shine a spotlight on them and make sure the world understands what they’re involved in.
Please take a moment to join us in standing up to corporate-backed voter suppression. And please ask your friends and family to do the same. It takes just a moment: