Monday, April 11, 2016

Republicans Hijack an Election Agency

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD, NYT
APRIL 10, 2016

For 10 years, the Election Assistance Commission, the bipartisan federal agency created after the 2000 election debacle to help make voting easier and more standardized, has made it clear that prospective voters do not need to prove that they are American citizens before they may register.

Anyone registering to vote with the federal voter-registration form, which can be used for both federal and state elections, must already sign a statement swearing that he or she is a citizen. Congress rejected a proposal to require documented proof as well, finding that the threat of criminal prosecution for a false statement was enough to deter fraud. This did not satisfy some states, like Kansas and Arizona, where Republican officials have fought for years to block voting by anyone who cannot come up with a birth certificate or a passport.

These laws, like voter identification laws, have been pushed by Republican lawmakers trying to reduce turnout among the poor, minorities, the young and the elderly, who tend to lean Democratic. And, like voter ID laws, they’re based on a fiction. There is virtually no evidence of voting by noncitizens, or by people pretending to be someone else. Kansas officials — led by Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican and one of the country’s most tireless advocates of other restrictive voting laws — have identified, at most, a few dozen cases of noncitizens who had registered to vote.

(More here.)

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