Your Vote At Stake
If they can't count on your vote, they'd rather you not be counted at all.
Connect: This is America -- we've never solved anything in this country with less democracy, and we won't now.
Define: State by state, Republican politicians are putting up new hurdles that make it harder for millions of law-abiding citizens to vote.
Explain: They're pushing these laws to make it harder for students and people of color, who often vote for Democrats, to cast a ballot.
Warn: But that's not all. The unintended consequences are that seniors who never got a birth certificate and veterans with just a military-issued ID are also getting turned away from the polls.
Contrast: If these politicians can't count on your vote, they'd rather you not be counted at all -- no matter the consequences.
Expose: It's bad enough they're rewriting our laws to favor the big corporations funding their campaigns. Now they're trying to rig the vote -- so the system stays rigged in their favor.
Words to use: Fundamental freedom, American right, Making it harder to vote
Words to avoid: Disenfranchisement, Discrimination
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To illustrate the impact of voter ID laws on real people, here are several stories you can use:
- In Tennessee, Dorothy Cooper, a 96 year old African-American woman who has voted in almost every election since she was old enough to vote, couldn't get a voter ID card because she didn't have a copy of her marriage license. She says that she didn't even have problems voting during the "Jim Crow days," but she does now under the new voter ID laws.
- In Indiana, Russell Baughman, a decorated Army veteran, couldn't vote because none of the photo IDs he had or his voter registration card were good enough under the state's new restrictions.
- In Pennsylvania, Viviette Applewhite, a 93 year old woman who has voted in almost every election for the last 60 years, can't vote now because she lost her photo ID when her purse was stolen and state officials can't find the birth certificate she needs to replace it.
- In Wisconsin, Ricky Lewis, a 58 year old veteran, showed state voting officials proof of his honorable discharge from the Marines Corps, but he still couldn't get a voter ID card because the county couldn't find his birth records.
ATTACKS AND RESPONSES
FALSEHOOD: "We need these voter ID laws to protect our elections against rampant voter fraud."
- In the real world, the idea of voter fraud is a fraud. Even a leading figure pushing these voter ID laws admits it. In fact, more people get struck by lightning than impersonate another voter at the polls.
- A lot of Republican politicians complain about people impersonating others at the polls, but guess who's actually doing it just to make a political point: Republican officials and right-wing political hacks like James O'Keefe.
- Here's what's going on: Republican politicians are rewriting our laws to keep Americans who tend to vote for Democrats from voting at all. And they're manufacturing a conspiracy to help them rig the vote in their favor.
FALSEHOOD: "These voter ID laws don't suppress voters."
- Actually, these voting restrictions will make it harder for millions of Americans to vote.
- The GOP voter suppression efforts are such a threat to our fundamental freedom to vote that the nonpartisan League of Women Voters and President Clinton are calling them "Jim Crow-like."
- Here's the truth: Republican politicians are trying to turn our fundamental right to vote into a partisan issue because if they can't count on your vote, they'd rather you not be counted at all.
- President Obama won 95 percent of the African-American vote, two-thirds of the Hispanic and Asian vote, and two-thirds of the youth vote. These GOP-driven voter ID laws are making it especially hard for these same Americans to vote. You do the math.
- Voting is a fundamental freedom guaranteed by more Constitutional amendments than any other right we have. Getting on an airplane and buying cold medicine aren't enshrined in our Constitution.
- Photo ID laws are designed for one purpose alone: to keep people of color, students, and seniors from voting by imposing requirements they won't be able to meet.
- Not only do these laws take away our right to vote, they cost millions. When so many states are financially struggling, it makes no sense to waste our money on things we don't need.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- In the past few years alone, many states have enacted new laws requiring law-abiding citizens to show a photo ID before they are allowed to vote.
- The new GOP voter suppression efforts will undermine the voting rights of as many as 5 million American citizens in the 2012 election -- the margin of victory in two of the last three presidential elections.
- Over 20 million American citizens do not have valid IDs, including an even greater percentage of African American, low-income, and older citizens.
- Many citizens find it hard to get government photo IDs, because the underlying documentation like birth certificates (the ID one needs to get ID) is often difficult or expensive to come by.
- During the Bush administration's unprecedented years-long attempt to prosecute "voter fraud" cases, they were unable to find a single case of in-person polling place impersonation -- the only type of voter fraud such voter ID laws might address -- across the entire nation.
- Politicians trying to manufacture a conspiracy of voter fraud will only find incidence rates like 0.00003% nationwide during 2002 and 2007; 0.0009% of the time in Washington state; and 0.00004% of the time in Ohio. And most cases of "voter fraud" are actually due to clerical or typographical errors, mismatched record entries, and simple mistakes.
- The GOP-driven hurdles to voting are unnecessary and so harmful to our democratic process that nearly 200 members of Congress have warned all 50 states to set aside partisan considerations and protect the right to vote for all Americans.
We develop messaging by aggregating, analyzing and distilling polling, tested messaging, and expert recommendations, and monitoring the media to identify what is and isn't working. See here for some of the experts and organizations we draw on.
Posted in - Voting Rights