Democrats’ 50 state voting rights project

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday Dems
fire back in voting wars
:

Last week, operatives tied to the Democratic Legislative Campaign
Committee launched what they call a 50-state initiative to promote
voting reforms that would make it easier to cast a ballot. [See Voting Rights Project.] The effort is
being run by American Values First, an outside group organized under
Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code and run by Michael
Sargeant, the DLCC’s executive director. Democrats will push legislation
similar to a Colorado measure signed into law earlier this year that
requires all elections to be conducted by mail.

Legislators in at least seven other states will propose bills that
would tweak election laws in other ways. In some states controlled by
Democrats, the measures have a good chance to pass. In other states with
divided control or that operate under Republican control, Democrats
plan to use the measures as political cudgels, painting the GOP as
opposed to basic voting rights
.

The new push comes in response to Republican initiatives to rewrite
election laws in key states. Republicans in North Carolina and Florida
moved to cut the number of days on which a voter can cast a ballot
early. Arizona and Florida both imposed new restrictions on groups that
sign up voters for absentee ballots. And Republican-led legislatures in
states from New Hampshire to Michigan to Florida passed legislation
requiring voters to show photo identification before they receive a
ballot.

Democrats have criticized the new rules as overly restrictive, making
it more difficult for an eligible voter to cast a ballot. Their
legislative response: Make it easier for eligible Americans to register
to vote and to sign up to receive a ballot by mail
.

“What we’re promoting is ease of access,” Sargeant said. “People are
getting mobilized now to push back against these far-right attempts to
limit democracy. Some of these efforts [by Republicans] have been
ignored for too long, and now people understand that this is not
something you can sit back and watch. You have to get involved and stop
it.”

Sargeant wouldn’t comment on the new group’s budget. American Values
First launched last week in Atlanta, during a meeting of the National
Conference on State Legislators.

The Colorado law, which passed on party-line votes in the
Democratic-controlled legislature, will require residents to vote
entirely by mail. Two other states, Washington and Oregon, already hold
all-mail elections
; implementation of the law in those states coincided
with their shift from presidential swing states, in 2000 and 2004, to
pillars of the party’s West Coast stronghold. Colorado Gov. John
Hickenlooper signed the measure in May over protests from Republicans
led by Secretary of State Scott Gessler.

In Oregon, a bill that would have automatically registered eligible voters when they receive driver licenses failed by a single vote this year when a Democratic state senator surprised her colleagues by
voting against it. Rep. Lew Frederick, a Portland Democrat, said he
would reintroduce the bill when the legislature’s 2014 session kicks off
in January. “It’s a pretty simple bill,” Frederick said in an
interview. “Unlike some of the Republican efforts, there’s actually a
problem to be solved. This is not something we’re making up.”

Michael Sargeant, president of American Values First, was a guest on the Rachel Maddow Show on Tuesday night to discuss the 50 state voting rights project.

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