While I hate to say I told you so, I was interested to read the front page of the Los Angeles Times this morning and see the following story: “Parties Battle Over New Voter ID Laws.” Here’s the lead:
Little noticed by voters, a nationwide melee has broken out pitting liberal and conservative groups in a duel over new laws that could determine who wins close elections in November and beyond.
The dispute, which is being fought in disparate and often half-empty courtrooms in as many as nine states, concerns new state laws and rules backed primarily by Republicans that require people to show photo identification in order to vote and, in some cases, proof of citizenship and identification when registering to vote.
And here is some of the argument of the story:
The legal battle reflects a deep partisan divide, with Republicans arguing that the new requirements are needed to prevent voting fraud and boost confidence in election results, and Democrats charging that they disenfranchise seniors, minorities, students and others who tend to vote Democratic.
Hundreds of thousands of votes are potentially at stake in some of the most contested congressional races this year and the 2008 race for the White House, making the court cases the latest battle in a broader war over election policies that has been raging since the 2000 Florida recount.
As readers know, we’ve been making the argument since 2000 that voter registration issues are the primary source of election problems. While HAVA was intended to improve the situation, as we are still very much in the midst of a massive set of policy changes across the nation regarding voter registration and authentication, things are in flux and these issues will be contested and fought this fall — and certainly as we move toward the 2008 presidential election.
The LA Times story also had this wonderful graphic, that depicts the important changes in election law regarding voter registration and authentication in Arizona, Missouri, Georgia, Ohio, Florida, Indiana, New Mexico, and Wisconsin.
Also, couldn’t image a better plug and motivation for the upcoming VTP conference on voter registration and identification; for details, go to the conference website.