Kansas and Arizona are planning to divide voters into two "tiers": those who can vote in all elections, and those who can't. Officials in both states have issued new guidelines that are in violation of the Voting Rights Act and will allow only voters who produce a passport, birth certificate, or naturalization papers at time of registration to vote in state and local elections.
This blatantly discriminatory move will disenfranchise tens of thousands, disproportionately affecting low-income, minority, and young voters.
That’s why we’re calling on Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice to file suit against the states of Arizona and Kansas for violating Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The Department of Justice has challenged discriminatory voter id laws in other states and we need them to act again.
The Supreme Court ruled this year that the federal voter registration form must be accepted by the state of Arizona. But Arizona and Kansas are trying to exploit a loophole by not allowing those who use the federal form to vote in state and local elections - giving voters no say in the elections that most affect their communities. Plus, voters already have to sign a legal affirmation that they are U.S. citizen when registering to vote.
These changes will make it virtually impossible to run voter registration drives, the non-partisan efforts that have vastly expanded voting by minorities, young people, and the poor.
For non-profit organizations like HeadCount.org, which runs voter registration drives at concerts nationwide and registers thousands online, this strikes at the very heart of our ability to serve the public. Last year HeadCount helped register more than 100,000 voters.
Attorney General Holder can’t let Arizona and Kansas create an underclass of voters while hindering the vital work of voter registration drives. Please ask him to put a stop these outrageous efforts to create a discriminatory, two-tier system, and fight to protect Americans’ right to vote.
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