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Poll Watchers on Both Sides Keeping Close Eye on Voter ID Laws

By    |   Saturday, 25 October 2014 04:41 PM

Poll watchers for both liberal and conservative groups will be battling over voter ID laws on Election Day, with Democrats having more to lose if young, black or Latino voters, which make up a key part of the party's base, are kept from casting their ballots.

Conservative groups, meanwhile, say they just want to be sure only legitimate voters are at the polls, reports The Hill.

The Democratic National Committee's Voter Expansion Project has state directors stationed countrywide to help train poll workers and work with local election officials, said DNC spokesman Michael Czin.

Likewise, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has also positioned members at polls to make sure nobody is improperly turned away and to "make sure any funny business at the polls" is addressed, said NAACP Washington Bureau Director Hilary Shelton.

On the other side, Republicans have their own watchers, with conservatives believing the measures are necessary to prevent voter fraud.

True the Vote, a group supporting ID laws, is training observers to watch how the laws are being implemented, and organization President Catherine Engelbrecht said it will also receive notifications from voters who want to report that they themselves were not required to follow ID laws.

As the election approaches, the voter ID controversy is heating up. Texas will be allowed to enforce its photo ID law at the polls, the Supreme Court ruled earlier this month, and in North Carolina, the law is getting a soft rollout, with voters not being forced to present identification.

However, voters in North Carolina will only be able to cast ballots in the precincts they are assigned, not at any polling place they choose.

Voter laws have been knocked down in Wisconsin and in Arkansas. Wisconsin's Democratic congressional delegation members said they are still worried that voters could find problems at the polls.

"While we are pleased the Court decided to temporarily block this onerous law, we are concerned that widespread confusion regarding the law prevails," they wrote in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and Vanita Gupta, the acting assistant attorney general for the DOJ's Civil Rights Division.

Voter ID requirements do not target the most common types of voter fraud, which occurs with absentee ballots, election officials say. Instead, they target impersonation fraud, which University of California-Irvine Professor Rick Hasen said is "negligible."

A Government Accountability Office report said such laws contributed to lower turnout in Kansas and Tennessee in 2012, particularly among African-American and young voters.

"They have a disproportionate impact on minorities in any election," said Sean Young, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union's Voting Rights Project.

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Poll watchers for both liberal and conservative groups will be battling over voter ID laws on Election Day, with Democrats having more to lose if young, black or Latino voters, which make up a key part of the party's base, are kept from casting their ballots. Conservative...
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2014-41-25
Saturday, 25 October 2014 04:41 PM
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