New Guide Released to to Help Voters Obtain IDs
NEW YORK - With millions of Americans in danger of being disenfranchised this fall by new and unneeded voter identification laws, a report issued today outlines how state and local organizations can stand up for democracy by helping voters secure the necessary ID.
Got ID? draws lessons from programs in Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Colorado and details the best strategies that community groups are using to help voters ensure they’ll be able to vote. Co-authored by Demos, Common Cause, the Fair Elections Legal Network and the Lawyers’ Committee For Civil Rights Under Law, the report includes guidance on:
- Creating a diverse, engaged coalition of local organizations to support a voter outreach program;
- Identifying and reaching eligible voters who do not have the necessary ID;
- Addressing voters’ hurdles to obtaining required ID, such as transportation to DMV offices or the costs of obtaining the necessary underlying documentation like a birth certificate;
- Advocating for legislation to make obtaining the required IDs simpler and easier, including no-cost birth certificates and extended DMV hours.
“As we deal with the reality that there will be vote suppression in the 2012 elections, groups must work together to fight back by helping at-risk voters overcome these barriers to the ballot,” said Tova Andrea Wang, Senior Democracy Fellow at Demos. “By helping citizens secure an ID, voting rights groups are stepping up and sending the message to State Legislatures and to Washington that these voices deserve to be heard on Election Day.”
“With the well-funded backing of groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council, some of our nation’s governors and state legislators are engaged in a disgraceful effort to keep millions of student, elderly, disabled and minority voters from exercising their rights this November,” said Jenny Rose Flanagan, director of voting and elections for Common Cause. “This report gives Americans the tools they need to fight back and make their voices heard.”
“It has become clear that there is a concerted effort to make it harder for some citizens to vote,” said Ben Hovland, Senior Counsel for the Fair Elections Legal Network. “While several state legislatures have failed to protect the citizens of their states, it is not too late for individuals to help their fellow citizens exercise the right to vote. We hope that this guide will assist such efforts.”
“It is vitally important that community leaders, particularly those who work with communities of color, young people, seniors, and people with disabilities take an active role in helping voters acquire the requisite photo ID.” said Chris Melody Fields, Election Protection Coordinator at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “We hope that this report will be a helpful tool to ensure voters have the documents they need to fully participate in our democracy this November.”
A multi-issue national organization, Demos combines research, policy development, and advocacy to influence public debates and catalyze change. We publish books, reports, and briefing papers that illuminate critical problems and advance innovative solutions; work at both the national and state level with advocates and policymakers to promote reforms; help to build the capacity and skills of key progressive constituencies; project our values into the media by promoting Demos Fellows and staff in print, broadcast, and Internet venues; and host public events that showcase new ideas and leading progressive voices.