3Center or American Progress | Voter Suppression 101
o he regisraion process in 2011.
Tese include limiing when ciizens can regiser,resricing who is permited o help hem, and implemening ougher bureaucraicrequiremens o regiser.Nowhere has he war on regisraion been more conroversial han he sae o Maine.Since 1973, Mainers have been permited o regiser o voe a he ballo box. For nearly 40 years, he sysem worked smoohly—separae lines or regisering and voing are used opreven congesion—and jus wo insances o voer raud were ound in he enire span.
Neverheless, when an unusually conservaive group o lawmakers ook over boh sae-house chambers and he governorship in 2010, one o heir primary orders o business was o repeal he sae’s law permiting ciizens o regiser on Elecion Day. Forunaely,in he ensuing weeks ciizens o he sae rallied o collec ens o housands o signauresand orce a voe on he mater. In November 2011, 61 percen o Mainers rebuked helegislaure and voed o resore Elecion Day regisraion in heir sae. Alas, voing righs proponens in oher saes have no been as successul. In Floridaand exas, or example, lawmakers succeeded in placing onerous new resricions onnonpro organizaions ha help regiser new voers. Voer regisraion drives by groupssuch as he League o Women Voers have been a saple o our democracy or years,helping housands o ciizens o regiser, regardless o heir poliical aliaion.In he Sunshine Sae, however, hose may now be a hing o he pas. Las July, heLeague o Women Voers announced i would no longer operae in Florida becauseo new anivoer legislaion—including complicaed new ling requiremens and amandae o submi compleed regisraion orms wihin 48 hours o compleion or acea hey ne—made i nearly impossible or hem o coninue heir work.
Te Lone Sar Sae also placed unnecessary new requiremens on groups and indi- viduals ineresed in helping regiser ohers. exas lawmakers in May passed legislaionrequiring ha people who help regiser voers, known as voluneer depuy regisrars,mus also be eligible exas voers hemselves. Te new law has a number o uninendedconsequences. For insance, legal permanen residens who are in he process o obain-ing heir ciizenship would be barred rom learning he poliical process by helpingregiser ohers. Many such immigrans are currenly employed as depuy regisrars; hisnew law would likely resul in heir ring. Wha’s more, disabled exans who are considered ull guardians o he sae and ineligibleo voe would be shu ou as well. One disabled genleman had carried voer regisra-ion orms in his wheelchair or years, eager o regiser ohers or a democraic process hehimsel could no paricipae in. Under he new law, i would be illegal or him o coninueregisering new voers.
As o February 2012, exas’s new law remains no in eec whilehe Jusice Deparmen deermines wheher i complies wih he Voing Righs Ac.
“I don’t wanteverybody to vote.”