Voter Action Press Release
Election Experts: Today’s Supreme Court Ruling Will Add to Long List of Hurdles Already Facing American VotersApr 28 2008 | Call for New Standards to Ensure Fair and Secure Elections
For Immediate Release:
WASHINGTON, DC —Election experts fear that today’s ruling in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board will not only prompt state election officials to enact similarly restrictive ID laws, but will also lay the foundation for them to impose other restrictions that unnecessarily burden voting. These restrictions, including laws targeting civic groups that help register voters and improper implementation of federal laws intended to protect voters from being wrongly purged from voter lists, could exacerbate difficulties voters already face complying with existing voting laws.
"Today's decision is disappointing because it upholds a new hurdle for voters unsupported by any evidence of voter impersonation in Indiana." said Bob Brandon, Co-founder and President, Fair Elections Legal Network. "With more states imposing their own rules, it's clear we need sensible reform to bring fair standards to all eligible voters."
"At a time of increased participation in our election system, we need to move toward lifting burdens on voters and creating a streamlined, fair system. The Court’s decision is an unfortunate step backward for our nation," said John Bonifaz, Legal Director for Voter Action. "We need broad reform to make the system easier for all eligible voters to register, remain registered, and vote."
The Court’s ruling means that large numbers of registered voters, many of whom have been voting for most of their lives, including senior, student, rural, disabled, minority and low income voters may not be able to cast a ballot in next week’s primary or in the November elections. While states have the authority to regulate the administration of elections, they must do so in a way that is uniform, fair and promotes, instead of deters, voter participation. This case demonstrates that fair standards are necessary to ensure full participation in our democracy.
Bob Brandon is Co-founder and President of the Fair Elections Legal Network with more than 25 years of public policy, legislative, media and campaign experience at the federal, state and local levels. The Fair Elections Legal Network is a national, nonpartisan network of election lawyers who work year round, well in advance of Election Day, to remove legal and administrative barriers to voter participation by traditionally under participating constituencies. It has over 180 lawyers in 29 states representing local organizations challenging restrictive laws and rules by working informally with state and local election officials or, with the help of its legal staff, initiating more proceedings.
John Bonifaz is a MacArthur Fellowship award winner and the Legal Director of Voter Action, a national non-profit organization at the forefront of the election integrity movement in the United States. He is also the founder of the National Voting Rights Institute and served as its executive director from 1994-2004, and its general counsel from 2004-2006.Through legal advocacy, research, and public education, Voter Action works to protect open and transparent election processes in which US elections at the federal, state, and local levels are accessible and verifiable.