Friday, December 9, 2011

Color of Change - Wants your Help - RE: ALEC Voter ID Laws

(I'm republishing this exactly as they sent it - they are looking for people to help spread the word - so please help spread the word)

Major corporations are helping suppress the votes of Black folks and
other minorities through a right wing group called ALEC.

Please join us in demanding that they stop:

For years, the right wing has been trying to stop Black people, other
people of color, young people, and the elderly from voting for
partisan gain — and now some of America's biggest companies are
helping them do it.

These companies have helped pass discriminatory voter ID legislation
by funding a right wing policy group called the American Legislative
Exchange Council (ALEC). Voter ID bills linked to ALEC have already
passed in seven states,(1) and similar voter ID bills have been
introduced in 27 other states.(2)

Supporters of discriminatory voter ID laws claim they want to reduce
voter fraud (individuals voting illegally, or voting twice). But such
fraud almost never actually occurs, and never in amounts large enough
to affect the result of elections.(3) What is clear is that voter ID
laws prevent large numbers of eligible voters from casting a ballot,
and could disenfranchise up to 5 million people.(4)

ALEC's voter ID laws are undemocratic, unjust and part of a
longstanding right wing agenda to weaken the Black vote. Major
companies that rely on business from Black folks shouldn't be involved
in suppressing our vote. Please join us in demanding that these
companies stop funding ALEC:

ALEC’s right wing agenda
The American Legislative Exchange Council is a behind-the-scenes group
whose membership consists of legislators and corporations who work
together to push legislation that benefits their interests. ALEC
crafts model legislation, which its member legislators then introduce
in statehouses across the country, without mentioning its corporate
ties. The group has written legislation to impose harsher criminal
penalties on juveniles, to privatize education, and to break unions.
ALEC is funded in part by the Koch Brothers, the same family that
funds the radically conservative tea party. It also receives funding
from large corporations, many of which are household names.

"Voter fraud" and discriminatory voter ID laws
Supporters of discriminatory voter ID laws say they're needed to stop
"voter fraud." The fact is that voter fraud rarely occurs, and when it
does occur it does not happen at a scale that would change the outcome
of an election. The kind of voter fraud addressed by the ALEC voter id
bill happens as infrequently as death by lightning.(5)

Over and over again, the myth of widespread voter fraud is used to
justify stronger restrictions on voting and voter registration (like
voter ID laws), as well as voter roll purges. It has also been used to
attack organizations which register large numbers of low income and
minority voters, by painting simple mistakes made during registration
drives as organized efforts to commit voter fraud. These kind of made
up scandals have helped the right wing convince the public that voter
fraud is real and voter ID laws are necessary to protect the integrity
of elections.

The truth is that voter ID laws are discriminatory — Black people,
Latinos, the elderly, students, people with disabilities, and the poor
are all less likely to have the photo IDs necessary to vote under
these laws.6 For example, if you've recently moved because of
foreclosure or some other economic circumstance, you're more likely to
have recently ended up in a new state which won't accept your out of
state driver's license. If you don't have a car, you're less likely to
have a driver's license in the first place.

In many states, it can be expensive and time consuming to secure the
proper ID. Even when the ID itself is free, it often requires
supporting documents like a birth certificate which cost money to
achieve. There are already stories of voters who have been eligible
for years struggling to navigate a frustrating bureaucratic maze in
order to vote. Requiring ID to vote amounts to a modern day poll tax.
And that's the real purpose of voter ID laws - they are an important
part of the modern effort to suppress the votes of groups that usually
vote against right wing politicians.

These laws are part of a long history of voter suppression directed at
Black folks and other underrepresented groups. No longer is the Black
vote suppressed through violence, intimidation and literary tests.
It’s now suppressed through laws that make it burdensome and difficult
for many Black folks to vote.
Corporate-backed voter suppression
Some of the companies supporting ALEC may simply be unaware that the
group is involved in voter suppression. Others might think that voter
suppression will benefit their political interests, and hope that they
can get away with supporting it because so few people have even heard
of ALEC.

We've started reaching out to these companies to make sure they know
what they're supporting, and to demand that they stop. Adding your
voice to this campaign will help us convince these companies that
continuing to support ALEC will hurt their reputation with consumers.

We hope that many of them will simply do the right thing and stop
supporting ALEC. If they don't, we'll be prepared to shine a spotlight
on them and make sure the world understands what they're involved in.
Please take a moment to join us in standing up to corporate-backed
voter suppression. And please ask your friends and family to do the
same. It takes just a moment:
Thanks and Peace,
-- Rashad, James, Gabriel, Dani, Matt, Natasha and the rest of the team
  December 8th, 2011

Help support our work. is powered by YOU—your energy
and dollars. We take no money from lobbyists or large corporations
that don't share our values, and our tiny staff ensures your
contributions go a long way. You can contribute here:

1. "New Evidence of ALEC Connections in All Successful Voter ID
Legislation," Campus Progress, 09-08-11
2. "First, show your face," The Economist, 09-17-11
3. “The Myth of Voter Fraud,” Washington Post, 03-29-07
4. “GOP, ALEC Could Make It Harder For 5 Million To Cast Ballots,”
Mother Jones, 10-3-11
5. See reference 3.

6. "Citizens without proof," Brennan Center For Justice, 11-2006

Here is the Tweet:
Major corporations are helping suppress the Black
vote. Demand that they stop: via @colorofchange #ALEC

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