SURVEY INDICATES HOUSE BILL COULD DENY
VOTING RIGHTS TO MILLIONS OF U.S. CITIZENS
Low-Income, African American, Elderly, and Rural Voters at Special Risk
By Robert Greenstein, Leighton Ku, and Stacy Dean
On September 20 the House passed a bill (H.R. 4844) that would, starting in 2010, effectively deny the vote to any U.S. citizen who cannot produce a passport or birth certificate (or proof of naturalization). Although the bill’s supporters present it as a measure intended to prevent non-citizens from voting, the bill’s main impact will be on U.S. citizens themselves. A national survey finds that approximately 11 million native-born citizens currently lack the required documents. A substantial number could have difficulty obtaining or affording them.
The national survey, conducted in January 2006 by Opinion Research Corporation and sponsored by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, also indicates that the bill would affect certain groups disproportionately (see Figures 1 and 2) — including people with low incomes, African Americans, the elderly, people without a high school diploma, rural residents, and residents of the South and Midwest. Substantial numbers of these and other citizens could potentially be disenfranchised by the bill."
We have to defeat as many Republicans as possible next month. Their destruction of the constitutional rights we have will continue and expand if they get two more years with a free hand. If they win this election they will be worse than ever.