Press Release

Released: May 15, 2008

DFA Mobilizes Members Against Anti-voting Laws

BURLINGTON, VT, our nation's largest progressive political action organization, today, kicked off the Right to Vote Campaign to stop Republican efforts to require citizens to present government-issued photo identifications before voting. DFA sent a message to its membership asking them to participate in the multi-pronged campaign to defeat the Republican anti-voting plan.

"The progressive community is not going to sit idly by while Republicans work to dismantle our democracy," said Jim Dean, Chair of Democracy for America. "These photo ID laws are just literacy tests dressed up in new clothes."

Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court upheld an Indiana law that requires voters to present a government-issued photo ID before casting a ballot in an election. Republicans say these laws are designed to protect against voter fraud, but the truth is that this is a solution in search of a problem. The real aim of these voter ID laws is to disenfranchise traditionally Democratic voters: the elderly, the poor, people of color, and new voters.

Already, six states in addition to Indiana Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Michigan, and South Dakota now require voters to show a photo ID before voting. 19 more states are considering passing such requirements. And, Missouri is trying to take all of this a step further and require voters to prove their citizenship before voting.

In his message to Democracy for America's members, Jim Dean said, "Republicans can't win elections based on their failed philosophies, so, they've latched onto a new plan: make it as hard and expensive as possible for people to exercise their constitutionally protected right to vote."

Democracy for America recognizes that voter ID laws are just the latest attempt to disenfranchise voters and place additional hurdles before citizens who want to participate in our political process. As a stunning example of how voter ID laws disenfranchise and punish voters, just last week in Indiana, as many as 12 nuns were turned away from their polling place because they did not have photo identifications.

Democracy for America has a long track record of successful grassroots action. DFA has helped elect over 550 progressives to office from Governor Deval Patrick in Massachusetts to Rep. Jerry McNerney in California's 11th Congressional District. DFA has been instrumental in the ongoing fight to block President Bush's attempt to grant retroactive immunity to the telecommunications companies that participated in his illegal wiretapping program.

"The Right to Vote Campaign starts today with a petition that will be delivered to Democratic legislators and it will continue with online and offline action to beat back this outrageous attempt by Republicans to strip people of their right to vote," said Arshad Hasan, Executive Director of Democracy for America. "DFA and its members will be active across the country and, together, we will protect the right to vote."


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