WASHINGTON - October 31 -
SPENCER OVERTON, email@example.com, http://docs.law.gwu.edu/facweb/soverton A law professor at George Washington University, Overton was a
commissioner on the Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform.
Author of the new book "Stealing Democracy: The New Politics of Voter
Suppression," Overton said today: "In the 2006 elections, mass confusion
is the biggest threat to the right to vote. Much disenfranchisement will
be de facto -- rather than legal -- disenfranchisement. Politicians have
created a maze of 4600 different election systems -- all with different
rules and practices -- and the confusion over the rules itself threatens
to chill voter participation. Some Americans may be discouraged from
voting because they mistakenly assume that they need a photo ID or that
the lines will be 4 hours long. People who have had a brush with the law
may stay home, even though in most states ex-felons can vote.
"Often, state election boards contribute to the confusion and
misinformation. In Georgia, even after the court struck down the photo
ID requirement, the state election board mailed out hundreds of
thousands of letters indicating that voters needed photo ID to vote. The
Florida election board's website suggests that a photo ID is required to
cast a vote, but doesn't indicate that voters who don't have a photo ID
can cast a ballot. Confused voters and election workers without adequate
training may be intimidated by new electronic voting machines. I want to
encourage people to go to the polls and vote. Voters should not
disenfranchise themselves by being intimidated by this confusion."
WENDY WEISER, firstname.lastname@example.org,
JUSTIN LEVITT, email@example.com, http://brennancenter.org Weiser is deputy director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan
Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, where she runs a voting rights
project. Levitt is associate counsel with the Democracy Program at the
In an op-ed she co-wrote for the New York Times, published
yesterday, Weiser stated: "On November 7, many voters will encounter new
voting machines, new computerized voter lists and new rules regarding
registration and ID requirements. As primaries earlier this year
demonstrated, local officials and poll workers are overwhelmed by all
the changes -- some of them engineered by mischievous partisans who have
passed laws and rules that would block many eligible citizens from
voting. There is a silent disenfranchisement afoot --- one that could
affect hundreds of thousands of voters. ...
"In the 2004 presidential election, some states were decided by less
than 1 percent of the vote. This year, dozens of Congressional races
could be close enough that vote suppression would affect them. ...
Congress and state legislatures should spurn partisan attempts to
manipulate elections by imposing new voting requirements, like proof of
citizenship and identification. They should ban wireless components in
voting machines and require an audited paper trail. Judges should
continue to strike down illegal and anti-democratic laws. And citizens
and journalists should demand to know who is being purged from the
rolls, and why. All registered voters should cast their ballots and
insist their votes be counted."
Added Levitt: "At a minimum voters should demand a provisional ballot."