Yesterday I met with Craig Newmark, customer service rep and founder of craigslist, along with Barbara Arnwine and her team at the Election Protection Coalition. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss efforts to remove barriers to the ballot box and help voters get ready.
Craig is concerned about the new voting law changes that “protect the public from a nonexistent problem while stopping five million people from voting.” He joined the fight against voter suppression because “George Washington and Tom Paine would have me speak up.”
Paine was an old-school pamphleteer. Craig wants to use social media to “create a big movement.” In a blog post, Craig wrote:
Folks, think you have the right to vote? Maybe not so much. I’ve been working with some good folks focusing on Voter Suppression issues that are happening across the country. There are some bad actors who are trying to pass legislation that will keep eligible people from voting.
Voter Suppression is happening across the U.S. as restrictive voting laws are being both introduced and passed. 164 laws were introduced in states that would restrict U.S. Citizens from voting in the 2012 U.S. Election.
Restrictive voting has taken these forms:
- Eliminating election-day registration
- Restricting third-party voter registration activities
- Reducing the number of days for early voting
- Legislation requiring photo ID for in-person voting
- Restrictions most heavily disenfranchise young, minority, and low-income voters, as well as voters with disabilities. We need to prevent bad legislation from preventing people to vote in the 2012 U.S. election.
Funny enough, though, Protecting the Vote explains that between 2000 and 2007, there have been 32,299 reports of UFO sightings, 352 deaths caused by lightning, and only 9 instances of possible voter impersonation.
Some other important stuff we uncovered:
- 5 million eligible voters may find it harder to vote in the 2012 U.S. election due to the voter suppression laws.
- Voter ID laws could cost taxpayers $65.8 million in 4 states: PA, IN, NC, MI. All of these states had huge budget shortfalls in 2011.
- 34 states introduced legislation requiring voters to show photo ID in order to vote.
- More than 20 million voting age citizens don’t have the type of photo ID required by the state voter ID laws.
Craig issued a call to action: Get ready.
Craig is a big picture guy. To give folks a heads up about the voter suppression schemes, he’s drawn a really big picture.