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Wayne Parsons
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Elections 2013 and beyond – VoteRiders mobilizes national effort to deal with voter ID laws

5 comments

Government-issued photo ID laws in the following states will deny US citizens the right to vote: AR, GA, IN, KS, ND, NH, PA, SC, TN and WI. When the United States Supreme Court effectively overturned Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act they also gave the green light to AL, MS, NC, TX and VA to impose new voting requirements that would make it difficult or impossible for voting eligible United States citizens to participate in public elections. As reported by David Nivens on July 29, 2013, North Carolina will soon have a new tool to deny the vote to the citizens of that state:

GUILFORD COUNTY — Voting will be quite different starting in 2016 if changes the General Assembly made in an sweeping overhaul pass the scrutiny of the courts. Here’s an overview: 

—Voter Identification: Voters must have an approved government-issued form of photo ID to vote in 2016. A state study estimated more than 300,000 registered voters lack driver’s licenses or other forms of state-issued ID, most of them elderly or low-income minorities. Elections directors across the state will be looking for specific instructions on which photo IDs to accept and for whom.

“Not all people have a driver’s license and some have an expired license,” said Guilford County Elections Director Charlie Collicutt. “A 70-year-old person may be able to vote with an expired license, but a younger person may not.

As reported in the Huffington Post, the North Carolina law is going to make it hard for citizens of that state who do not have a valid driver’s license to vote.

Getting a state voter ID can be difficult for some people. If a person does not have a valid driver’s license they may be required to produce an original birth certificate. Those can be difficult to obtain in general and specifically they can be extremely difficult to obtain in the case of adoption or if the child was born with a midwife.

It can be a particular problem for disabled veterans and it stretches across all party lines. There are many grassroots organizations across the country in various communities that seek to help to register voters. However they find themselves overwhelmed when the difficulties and legal technicalities of applying for and obtaining a state ID present themselves. The laws make it so complicated that it basically requires the help of an attorney in many cases.

A new organization VoteRiders led by Kathleen Unger, a Los Angeles attorney, is addressing this problem on a national basis. VoteRiders has created a Voter ID Clinic-in-a-box™ – training documents and videos, marketing tools and guidelines – to assist local organizations that help citizens to secure the documents (e.g., birth certificate) required by their state’s voter ID law.  VoteRiders then provides media exposure for such Voter ID Clinics.  Obtaining these documents can be complicated for non-lawyers.

I am assisting in getting the word out to my brother and sister trial attoerneys in these key states with voter ID obstacles. This national effort is looking for attorney volunteers who are willing to help people get Voter IDs in their local community. The attorney would be working with local organizations that host VoteRiders Voter ID Clinics.

I’m asking my trial attorney friends across the country to get involved in this important aspect of our democracy.

5 Comments

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  1. Leane Wells says:
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    Adopt-A-Voter.com can partner. We can help each-other’s organization. We’re just getting up and running and are lolling for orgs to partner with. We’re on Facebook as well. Am so happy to begin to find like-minded orgs popping up!

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    Thanks Leane! I checked out your website and Facebook page. They look great. You may have already done this but talking to Kathleen Unger in Los Angeles is a good starting point. Here is her contact info:
    Kathleen Unger
    President/CEO, VoteRiders™
    VoteRiders.com
    Kathleen@VoteRiders.com

  3. Carolyn Stephens says:
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    Hi, Wayne. I am Carol Donnelly Stephens, the original founder of Adopt a Voter and I want to thank you personally for taking an interest in us. Thank you so much for the link. I will be in touch, personally with Kathleen@VoteRiders.com.

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