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Analysis: New Wisconsin Voter ID Rules Expose Law's Real Aim
08/29/16 |
Publication Date: 
Monday, August 29, 2016 - 17:15
Excerpt: 

A federal appeals court on Friday offered what some described as a compromise over Wisconsin's strict voter ID law. But a closer look suggests the new rules will still keep eligible voters from the polls, maintaining a barrier to voting in a crucial presidential swing state this fall.  ...

[T[he law still unquestionably adds a hurdle to the voting process. Walking into a DMV office and requesting an ID may not sound like a lot to ask of a would-be voter, and for many it's not. But the law's opponents say requiring a trip to the DMV will nonetheless end up keeping some people from the polls, especially in more marginalized communities. An estimated 300,000 registered Wisconsin voters lack an acceptable form of ID under the law, a court found.

One reason is access. According to a 2014 brief filed by opponents of the law, just three of Wisconsin's 92 DMV offices are open after 5pm, and just two are open on weekends, making it difficult for many working people to get there. Over half operate just two days per week. One, in rural Sauk City, is open just three days a year.

Ahead of Wisconsin's April primary, MSNBC spoke to one Madison high school senior who needed to make an hour-and-a-half round trip by bus to get an ID at the nearest DMV. He succeeded only after getting help from an organizer with a group that works to get voter IDs to those who need them. 

A Nonprofit Response to Democracy’s Challenge
08/28/16 |
Publication Date: 
Sunday, August 28, 2016 - 01:45
Excerpt: 

[E]ven the most voter friendly states have very substantial gaps in voter participation between high- and low-income, young and old, and across the lines of race. That’s because voter-friendly policies may make voting “possible,” but they don’t really do anything to make voting “probable.” ...

[P]articipation gaps in large part reflect mobilization gaps—gaps between who is personally contacted about voting and who isn’t. ...

This is where nonprofits can make a big difference. ...

[O]nce contacted by nonprofit staff and volunteers about voting, these prospective voters turned out at higher rates than other registered voters across all demographic groupings. These increases were largest among those least likely to vote. We reach the right people, and when we engage them, we can make a big difference.

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Voting as a Student

As a student, you have a constitutional right to register and vote in the place you truly consider to be “home” — whether that’s your parents’ house, your apartment, or your dorm room. But before you make the important decision about where to vote, make sure you know the voting rules (and sometimes consequences) of registering to vote in that state.

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