Election 2014  
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Voter Suppression 101: How Conservatives Are Conspiring to Disenfranchise Millions of Americans

A spate of anti-voting-rights proposals in states as different as Florida and Wisconsin is not occurring by accident. Instead, many of these laws are being spread through ALEC.

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Paul Carroll

Paul is an 86-year-old World War II veteran who has lived in the same Ohio town for four decades. Yet when he attempted to vote in the recent Ohio primary, he was told his photo ID from the Department of Veterans Affairs was not good enough because it did not include his address.

Dorothy Cooper

Dorothy is a 96-year-old African-American woman who says she has voted in every election but one since she became eligible to vote. Yet when she attempted to obtain a voter ID she was turned away because she did not have a copy of her marriage license. In a subsequent interview Dorothy said that she didn't even have problems voting in Tennessee "during Jim Crow days -- only now under Voter ID.

Thelma Mitchell

Thelma is a 93-year-old woman who cleaned the Tennessee Capitol for 30 years. She never received a birth certificate, however, because she was delivered by a midwife in Alabama in 1918 and there was no record of her birth. When she attempted to obtain a voter ID, she was turned away for lack of a birth certificate by a clerk who suggested she could be an illegal immigrant.

Virginia Lasater

Virginia is a 91-year-old woman who has been active in political campaigns for 70 years Because of her advanced age, however, she is no longer able to stand for extended periods of time. When she attempted to obtain a voter ID, she was confronted with lines that stretched for several hours and no place to sit while she waited -- forcing her to abandon her effort to obtain an ID due to her physical constraints.

"Election Day registration leads to "the kids coming out of the schools and basically doing what I did when I was a kid, which is voting as a liberal. That's what kids do -- they don't have life experience, and they just vote their feelings."

-New Hampshire House Speaker William O'Brien

Darwin Spinks

Darwin is an 86 year-old World War II veteran. He was told to pay a fee before he could obtain a voter ID in Tennessee, despite the fact that charging someone to vote is unconstitutional.

Rita Platt

Rita is a Wisconsin resident who was turned away from her attempt to obtain a voter ID because she required either a birth certificate or a passport to obtain one -- both of which can only be obtained if the voter pays a fee. Worse, in Wisconsin, voters must fill out a misleading form that suggests that they cannot obtain the birth certificate they need to obtain a photo ID unless they already have a photo ID.

Jessica Cohen

Jessica is a Texas resident who lost her license and other identification papers in a burglary. She now must also pay an unconstitutional fee in order to obtain the birth certificate she needs to obtain a new voter ID. Because Cohen lives in Texas, she will likely be able to vote in 2012 because the Department of Justice blocked Texas’s law under the Voting Rights Act -- although there is a high risk that the Supreme Court’s conservatives will declare the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional.

These nine voters are representative of the millions of voters who could be deprived of their right to vote after exercising that right for, in some cases, decades. Their problems will become more commonplace as additional states continue to pass suppressive laws.


When speaking about this subject at the Campus Progress National Conference in 2011, President Bill Clinton asked the young audience why these laws making it harder to vote were all being proposed in such a high rate and passed across the country. The answer, he said, was that "They are trying to make the 2012 electorate look more like the 2010 electorate than the 2008 electorate."

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