Young Black voters pay higher ‘time tax’ at the polls

Freddie Allen | 12/16/2013, 7:49 a.m.

Even though Pennsylvanian lawmakers found “zero instances of in-person voter fraud,” they still moved ahead with their own version of a voter ID law. Virginian legislators also passed a bill requiring photo identification, without any evidence of in-person voter fraud.

“North Carolina, which is home to the most comprehensive voter suppression law, includes a voter ID provision that expressly prohibits IDs from the state’s numerous colleges and universities from being accepted for voting,” the report stated.

The report continued: “Among its dozens of voting restrictions, North Carolina’s H.B. 589 decreases the early voting period by a full week and eliminates same-day voter registration during early voting; it prohibits the counting of provisional ballots cast by eligible voters who go to the wrong precinct, expands the number and scope of voter challengers, eliminates pre-registration for 16- and 17- year olds, and eliminates a state mandate for voter registration in high schools, among other provisions.”

The new voting laws in North Carolina inspired a grassroots movement in the state called “Moral Mondays” that has increased awareness of a state legislature that many civil rights advocates believe has passed laws that violate the civil rights of minorities and women.

The report outlined a number of recommendations to upgrade the current election system and increase voter turnout among young people including online voter registration, same-day voter registration and expanding early voting opportunities.

OurTime.org and Advance Project also endorsed federal standards requiring all states to accept “student and university IDs, employee IDs, Veterans Administration IDs, and non-photo identification such as a voter registration card, current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter.”

OurTime.org and Advance Project called on Congress to update the Voting Rights Act and restore the full protections of Section 5 “to block discriminatory voting changes before they can be put into effect.”

The civil rights groups also urged the Justice Department to continue to combat state voting laws that discriminate against minorities utilizing all legal tools available.

“We believe that elections should be free, fair and accessible,” the report stated. “The ballot box is the one place where we are all supposed to be equal, whether rich or poor, young or old, and no matter what your race.”