Today, Americans across the country are heading to the polls despite new efforts by Republican politicians and corporate front groups in 15 states to make it harder for millions of American citizens to vote. In Michigan, this process was recently started by Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, who kicked off her campaign lobbying for the “Secure and Fair Elections Initiative” by claiming—without producing any evidence—that “thousands of non-citizens” are on the voter rolls. Johnson’s real mission here is to stoke fear while pushing Koch brother sponsored laws intended to suppress voter turnout.
Republicans are trying to turn the right to vote into a partisan issue, by passing controversial and unnecessary legislation requiring mandatory photo identification to vote and make it harder to register. They know they can’t count on your vote, so they’d rather you not be counted at all. That’s why Progress Michigan is petitioning the Legislature to drop these bills that erect unnecessary barriers to voting.
Elections are at the heart of our democracy, yet voting is under siege in states across the nation. Mandatory photo identification laws disenfranchise poor, elderly and minority voters who are less likely to have driver’s licenses or government issued photo IDs – and more likely to vote Democratic. In Tennessee, a 96-year-old woman – who has only missed one election in her lifetime – was denied photo ID because she didn’t have a marriage license. The new law requiring photo ID addressed a non-existent problem in Tennessee, and the same would be true in Michigan.
In Arizona, Republican Gov. Jan Brewer didn’t like the results of the state’s bipartisan redistricting commission – so she had the commission’s independent chairwoman impeached. And nearly 200 members of the U.S. House recently signed a letter to state election officials calling on them to “put partisan considerations aside and serve as advocates for enfranchisement.” “Voter ID laws are meant to disenfranchise Democrats,” said Rep. Gwen Moore, a Democrat from Wisconsin. “Very clearly if you want to disenfranchise a large swath of Democratic voters you go after the young and African American and you can very clearly accomplish that.”
Secretary Johnson’s “reform” legislation would create new bureaucratic barriers making it harder to register to vote, impose new regulations on nonprofit organizations who register voters, and further hamper these registration efforts by requiring completed forms to be submitted in just 24 hours, making voter registration drives almost impossible. Meanwhile, the idea of “voter fraud” that she rails against is itself a fraudulent bogeyman – more people get struck by lightning than impersonate another voter at the polls.
Republican politicians will do anything to win. But you can stand up for democracy and demand that lawmakers vote down these blatantly partisan attempts to rig the system. I hope you’ll sign our petition asking lawmakers to protect your fundamental right to vote.