The Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act of 2011 would protect the right to vote, the indisputable cornerstone of our democracy, without interfering with rights granted under the First Amendment. Congress should act quickly to pass this needed legislation.
When drawing legislative districts, New York State counts incarcerated persons as "residents" of the community where the prison is located, instead of counting them in the home community to which they will return, on average, within 34 months. This practice of prison-based gerrymandering ignores more than 100 years of legal precedent.
Missouri is considering a bill requiring all voters to present government issued photo identification at the polls. The fact that Missouri is introducing a restrictive voter identification bill is particularly unfortunate considering the legislature passed such a bill in 2006 and it was struck down as unconstitutional under the state's constitution by the Missouri Supreme Court.
Virginia legislators are considering several bills that would make it more difficult for eligible persons to cast a ballot that will be counted, and would impose large costs for implementation. One bill requires photo identification in order to vote, while others require one of an enumerated list of identification documents. If the voter does not have identification he must sign a sworn statement of his identity and then cast a provisional ballot.
Prison-based gerrymandering is the practice of counting incarcerated persons as “residents” of a prison when drawing legislative districts in order to give extra influence to the districts that contain the prisons. The U.S. Constitution requires that election districts be roughly equal in size, so that everyone is represented equally in the political process. But prison-based gerrymandering distorts our democracy by artificially inflating the population numbers — and thus, the political clout — of districts with prisons, while diluting the political power of all other voters.
The report is timed to the two-day federal trial that starts tomorrow morning that will redraw Kansas’ legislative districts. If the Court were to adopt the House’s proposed map, Kansas would end up with a dubious distinction: having the nation’s most extreme instance of prison-based gerrymandering in a state legislative district.
The Massachusetts lawsuit alleges that the Commonwealth failed to provide required voter registration services at public assistance offices, a violation of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA).