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Institute uniform national standards for voter eligibility and access

This petition had 41 supporters

During the 2012 Campaign season we have seen unprecedented attempts, by way of various strategies, by partisans in both executive and legislative branches of various state governments, to suppress or limit voter participation in the most sacred right of all Americans: the right to vote.

The current system of leaving the running of elections to individual states has resulted in a state of affairs in which access to the Constitutionally-guaranteed right to vote varies depending on the state in which one happens to live. Some states allow early voting; others do not. Among those that do permit early voting, the number of days and hours allotted varies considerably. Some states are fairly lenient about absentee balloting; others require the voter to provide an excuse for needing to vote by absentee ballot. Some governors, such as Governor Rick Scott of Florida, have severely cut back on the number of days for early voting, resulting in voters having to wait as long as 8 or 9 hours to vote. Some states, on the pretext of combating voter fraud for which no evidence of its existence on any major extent has been forthcoming have imposed onerous voter ID requirements, which studies have shown will result in disenfranchising significant numbers of voters of certain constituencies. The result is that Americans are not afforded equal access to their right to vote -- that is, they are not receiving equal protection under the law as required by the 14th Amendment.

The Constitutionally guaranteed right to vote should never be subject to the kinds of partisan manipulations we have witnessed in the 2012 election cycle, nor should voters' ability to exercise their right to vote be in any way affected by which the state in which they happen to live, or by which party happens to currently control state government. It is time for the running of national elections to be brought completely under the authority and oversight of the federal government, and for uniform standards for things such as establishing voter eligibility, access to early voting and voting by absentee ballot, and hours of operation of polling places. There is really no reasonable case to be made for why the handling of these issues should vary from one state to the next.

An additional, very important reason for bringing federal elections under the full responsibility and oversight of the federal government is that, under the current system, if a political party colludes on a national level to suppress voting by use of the various strategies mentioned above across multiple states, those strategies must be challenged individually, in the courts of each state in which they occur. These strategies must be permitted to be challenged in a single legal process (including appropriate appeals), so that a nefarious practice can be definitively ruled upon in a way that will be enforceable across all states.

Wherefore, we, the signatories to this petition, demand that both Houses of the United States Congress commence work on passing the legislation necessary (be that legislation statutory or in the form of an amendment to the United States Constitution) in order to define national standards for voter eligibility and voting access, and to bring authority for enforcing those standards fully within the purview of the federal government.

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