As North Carolina moves to restrict voting, others move to expand
While North Carolina may be leading the nation in efforts to restrict the vote, several other states are moving to expand voting rights and modernize their election systems, according to an ongoing analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice.
Here, state legislators are currently considering bills which would, among other things, impose a strict voter ID requirement; shorten early voting; eliminate same-day registration; and impose a tax penalty on parents whose children choose to vote on campus.
Elsewhere, though, states are taking a more expansive view of voting rights:
Nearly 200 bills to expand voting access were introduced in 45 states in 2013. Of those, 41 bills in 21 states are currently active, meaning there has been some form of activity, such as a hearing or vote. Three states, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Virginia, have already passed expansive laws.Many of these new bills are drawing bipartisan support. The GOP introduced an online registration bill in Pennsylvania and passed it in Virginia. New Mexico’s new law streamlining registration at state DMVs received broad bipartisan support and was signed by a Republican governor. And in Colorado, Democrats in the legislature worked with the mostly-Republican Colorado County Clerks Association to draft a modernization bill, which passed the House Friday.
Like North Carolina, other states are also considering restrictive voting measures, according to the center’s analysis. At least 80 restrictions have been introduced in 31 states. Of those, 25 bills are active in 12 states, and three are already signed into law.
The trend, though, is moving towards expansion. According to Wendy Weiser, Democracy Program Director at the Center:
Although states continue to push restrictions, others have gotten the message from the 2012 election. Americans deserve better and want a higher functioning, more modern voting system. Both Republicans and Democrats, in states from Colorado to Pennsylvania to Nevada, are working to give them one. It’s time to end the partisan voting game and ensure every eligible citizen can make their voice heard on Election Day.