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Voting Rights

News

Trump meets with Martin Luther King III on Monday to discuss voting rights
01/16/17 |
Publication Date: 
Monday, January 16, 2017 - 17:00
Excerpt: 

The private session at Trump Tower with civil rights advocates, on the same day the nation is honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, represented a mix of symbolism and substance. King III has campaigned for years to establish a form of free government photo identification that could make it easier for Americans who lack a driver’s license or other official ID to cast ballots. He and the other attendees, including the Rev. James A. Forbes, have urged Trump to endorse the idea of making such identification free. ...

According to one of the meeting’s participants, who asked for anonymity to discuss a private conversation, Trump expressed a serious interest in making photos available on Social Security cards and said he would study the issue in further detail. ...

Proponents of the voter card emphasize that it will be voluntary, rather than universal, and said it represents a rational response to the fact that voter ID laws are poised to proliferate given Republicans’ recent gains on the state and federal level.

“We’re going to end up with more and more voter ID laws,” said American Enterprise Institute resident scholar Norman Ornstein. “And that’s a reality, and the question pragmatically is, what is the best way to deal with it?”

Ornstein noted that looking at minority turnout in the 2016 presidential election results, “It was down more in states with strict laws than in states without it."

Martin Luther King III: Trump agrees the voting system is broken. Here’s how he can fix it.
01/14/17 |
Publication Date: 
Saturday, January 14, 2017 - 01:00
Excerpt: 

[W]e can agree that every citizen should have the unfettered opportunity to vote. Indeed, my concern is not how people vote, but simply that they vote. ...

Fortunately, President-elect Trump agrees. Throughout the campaign, he consistently reminded the electorate that the system is broken.

Even more fortunately, it is indisputable that nonpartisan, common-sense solutions are available. In 2014, as the nation celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act at the LBJ Presidential Library, former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton endorsed my friend Andrew Young’s proposal that all citizens be able to obtain a photo ID card that would meet the voting requirements in every state. Following the event, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly voiced his support for the plan, saying they were “doing the country a service” and declaring, “Let’s get the pictures on the Social Security card, stop the nonsense and be a responsible country.” As Young has said, “The challenge with voter ID laws isn’t the requirement to show ID, it’s that so many people lack ID. That is the problem that needs to be fixed — and not just for voting. In today’s world, you can’t open a bank account without a photo ID — and the only people happy about that are check cashers.” ...

[A]t the end of the day, the right to vote is not a Republican right or a Democratic right — it is an American right. If Trump enables more Americans to exercise that right in future elections, he will be able to say that in no small measure he really did make America great again.
 

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