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Voter Id Law

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March 12, 2012 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske
The U.S. Justice Department on Monday said Texas' new voter identification law failed to comply with the Voting Rights Act and did not demonstrate that it wouldn't discriminate against minority voters. In a letter to the state, Justice Department officials said the measure could disproportionately harm Latinos. The department blocked a similar law earlier this month in Wisconsin, and in South Carolina in December. Last year, eight states passed voter ID laws. Supporters of such laws, generally Republicans, say the laws protect the integrity of elections.
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NATIONAL
January 17, 2014 | By Michael Muskal
A Pennsylvania judge struck down the key portion of the state's strict voter identification law, saying it unreasonably hinders people from exercising what is a fundamental right. In a 103-page ruling, Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard L. McGinley held that the law's requirement that the state's 8.2 million voters show photo identification before casting a ballot was unconstitutional. The law was passed by the GOP-controlled Legislature and signed in 2012 by Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, despite the protest of every Democrat lawmaker.
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NEWS
August 17, 2012 | By Michael McGough
As someone who writes a lot about court decisions, I can vouch for the fact that actually reading the opinions can spoil the fun. A court's rationale is often more complicated and technical than the first takeaway from the decision would suggest. Sometimes, it's true, the jurisprudential rigmarole is just a rationalization for an outcome-driven discussion, but that happens less often than cynics think.  I offer these observations to explain why I'm less outraged than some people about a Pennsylvania judge's refusal to block implementation of that state's voter ID law -- a law, I think, that is mischievous and politically motivated.
NEWS
August 22, 2013 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration escalated its fight with Texas Republicans on Thursday over voting rights for minorities, as it urged judges to block a strict new voter-identification law that administration lawyers argue is discriminatory. Last month, Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. said the department would go to court to challenge the state's drawing of legislative and congressional district boundaries, saying the plan shortchanged the political power of the state's growing Latino population.
NEWS
October 2, 2012 | By David G. Savage
A state judge has blocked Pennsylvania's new photo ID requirement from being enforced in the November election, ruling state officials failed to assure that all the eligible and registered voters would have the needed identification. The decision did not strike down the photo ID law, but puts it on hold until the next election. However, state officials can appeal to the state Supreme Court. The ruling is a victory for civil rights advocates who said the newly required photo ID could prevent tens of thousands of older and minority voters from casting a ballot this year.  While the vast majority of Pennsylvanians can use their drivers license as a valid identification, several hundred thousand registered voters who do not drive did not have an acceptable ID card under the terms of the state's strict law. “We are very glad voters will not be turned away from the polls this November if they do not have an ID,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Judith Browne Dianis.
NATIONAL
June 17, 2013 | By David G. Savage, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court agreed with the Obama administration Monday in yet another of its confrontations with Arizona, striking down a state law on voter registrations and ruling that states may not require new applicants to show proof of their citizenship. In a surprisingly lopsided 7-2 decision, the justices said the federal Motor Voter Act and its simple registration form sets the national standard for signing up new voters, and states are not free to add extra qualifications.
NATIONAL
July 8, 2006 | From Times Wire Reports
With less than two weeks to go before the July 18 primary, a judge in Atlanta issued a restraining order blocking the state's new voter ID law, saying that requiring photos as proof of identity was an unconstitutional burden. Superior Court Judge Melvin Westmoreland said that the Legislature did not have the authority to enforce the law and that an amendment to the state constitution would be required instead.
NATIONAL
July 18, 2006 | From Times Wire Reports
Officials in Missouri's largest cities, St. Louis and Kansas City, filed a lawsuit to block a new state law requiring voters to show photo identification. Under the law, voters will need a photo ID issued by the state or federal government, such as a driver's license, to cast a regular ballot.
NATIONAL
April 13, 2006 | From the Associated Press
Former Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes on Wednesday filed a lawsuit alleging that the state's voter ID law violated the Georgia Constitution. He said the GOP-backed law was a "blatant attempt to curb minority voting." Barnes filed the suit in DeKalb County Superior Court as a class action on behalf of all voters without photo IDs. Georgia legislators in 2005 passed a law requiring that all voters present a government-issued photo identification at the ballot box.
NATIONAL
April 22, 2006 | From the Associated Press
The U.S. Justice Department gave its approval Friday to a Georgia law requiring voters to show a photo identification at the polls. Supporters -- including Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue, who signed the measure earlier this year -- say it is needed to crack down on voter fraud. Opponents say it unfairly discriminates against minorities, the poor and the elderly, who are less likely to have a driver's license. Voters without a license can get a state-issued photo ID for free.
NATIONAL
June 30, 2013 | David Zucchino
To Allison Riggs, a voting rights lawyer, North Carolina's 1st Congressional District looks like an octopus with its arms stretched menacingly in all directions. Each arm, Riggs says, sucks in black voters to pack them into the district and dilutes their voting strength in nearby districts -- "a cynical strategy to disenfranchise blacks. " With Republicans adding the governor's mansion last fall to their control, on top of the North Carolina Legislature, Riggs and other civil rights activists have counted on protections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act to prevent GOP geographical empire-building through redistricting.
NEWS
June 25, 2013 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court struck down a key part of the historic Voting Rights Act on Tuesday, ruling that Southern states may no longer be forced to seek federal approval before making changes in their election laws. The ruling came on a 5-4 vote, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. speaking for the court. Roberts said the 1965 law had been a “resounding success” and has ensured that blacks now register and vote at the same rate as whites. But he said it was no longer fair or rational to subject these states and municipalities to special scrutiny based on a formula that is more than 40 years old. “States must beseech the federal government for permission to implement laws that they would otherwise have a right to enact and execute on their own,” he wrote.
NATIONAL
June 17, 2013 | By David G. Savage, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court agreed with the Obama administration Monday in yet another of its confrontations with Arizona, striking down a state law on voter registrations and ruling that states may not require new applicants to show proof of their citizenship. In a surprisingly lopsided 7-2 decision, the justices said the federal Motor Voter Act and its simple registration form sets the national standard for signing up new voters, and states are not free to add extra qualifications.
NATIONAL
November 1, 2012 | By Joseph Tanfani, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - When elections officials in Palm Beach County, Fla., checked out a form indicating that Carlos Ferrer, 36, wanted a new voter ID, they knew something was wrong. Ferrer is 43, and, instead of his home, the form listed his address as the Land Rover dealership where he works. Ferrer didn't fill out the form. It was one of the suspicious registrations linked to a voter turnout campaign financed by the Republican National Committee, an operation that has spawned criminal investigations in Florida and elsewhere.
NATIONAL
October 8, 2012 | By David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - Earlier this year, voting rights advocates foresaw a cloud over this year's election because new voting laws in Republican-led states tightened the rules for casting ballots and reduced the time for early voting. But with the election less than a month away, it's now clear those laws will have little impact. A series of rulings has blocked or weakened the laws as judges - both Republicans and Democrats - stopped measures that threatened to bar legally registered voters from polling places in the November election.
NEWS
October 2, 2012 | By David G. Savage
A state judge has blocked Pennsylvania's new photo ID requirement from being enforced in the November election, ruling state officials failed to assure that all the eligible and registered voters would have the needed identification. The decision did not strike down the photo ID law, but puts it on hold until the next election. However, state officials can appeal to the state Supreme Court. The ruling is a victory for civil rights advocates who said the newly required photo ID could prevent tens of thousands of older and minority voters from casting a ballot this year.  While the vast majority of Pennsylvanians can use their drivers license as a valid identification, several hundred thousand registered voters who do not drive did not have an acceptable ID card under the terms of the state's strict law. “We are very glad voters will not be turned away from the polls this November if they do not have an ID,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Judith Browne Dianis.
NATIONAL
October 2, 2012 | By David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - Pennsylvania's strict new photo ID requirement, which critics said could prevent tens of thousands of eligible voters from casting ballots, will not be enforced in the November election. A state judge blocked the new rule Tuesday after deciding state officials had failed to take steps to make sure all registered voters would be able to get the identification card they would need. "In the remaining five weeks before the general election, the gap between the photo IDs issued and the estimated need will not be closed," said Judge Robert Simpson.
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