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GottaVote.org: Everything You Need to Know About Voting (En Español También)


by: Emily Cadik

Tue May 22, 2012 at 00:00 PM CDT


With primary season in full swing, Obama for America launched GottaVote.org, a bilingual resource to help navigate voting laws, deadlines and other important details by state.  

On the page for Texas, you can see that you need to register 30 days before the election, what to bring to the polls (and the forms that substitute for a voter registration card), find your polling place and hours, learn how to vote early or by mail, and sign up for reminders about voting deadlines and important dates.

Aside from being practically useful, it's interesting (and sometimes disturbing) to compare the voting laws and requirements between states.  In the past year alone, Republican legislatures in eight states have passed some form of a law requiring voter ID:  

Voter ID

The claim is of course that voter ID laws would protect voter fraud - a thinly veiled excuse for keeping the traditionally disenfranchised groups who vote Democrat from voting. Attorney General Eric Holder tells it like it is:

"Each of these lawsuits claims that we've attained a new era of electoral equality, that America in 2012 has moved beyond the challenges of 1965, and that Section 5 [which requires the sixteen states or parts of states with a history of discrimination to receive federal approval before changing their voting laws] is no longer necessary.  I wish this were the case.   But the reality is that - in jurisdictions across the country - both overt and subtle forms of discrimination remain all too common - and have not yet been relegated to the pages of history."

Texas' own version of the voter ID law was blocked by the U.S. Department of Justice for disproportionately targeting Hispanics.  Thanks to the Obama Administration, the law did not go into effect for the 2012 primary elections.  But it's still a mess, with a court case pending over pronouncements on the back of voter registration cards suggesting the law has actually been approved.  

The Obama Administration has blocked other similar laws as well, including one in South Carolina that disproportionately targeted African Americans.  And the battle isn't just limited to voter ID - sixteen states are also considering laws that would end voter registration on Election Day.

In the wake of all of the attacks on voting rights, it's nice to see that one party is still interested in allowing - nay, encouraging - everyone to vote.  

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