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Welcome to Voter Watch Blog

YourVoteisYourVoice

Welcome to Voter Watch Blog. We believe that the right to vote is the driving force of a democracy, and a responsibility to a country and its citizens. We’re going to talk about certain aspects that have a direct impact on your voting rights, lives and well-being. We are planning to write about voter apathy/voter turnout, accessibility (polling stations, etc.), different voting systems (electoral college, popular vote, ranked voting), and voter ID laws. Here we will share our thoughts and always back our claims with facts, and current information.

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Until Next Time

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During the last 4 weeks, the Voter Watch Blog team researched and wrote about the reasons and outcomes of voter apathy, voter turnout, and the accessibility to the polls. We also wrote about the Electoral College, the importance of popular vote, and how voter ID laws affect us. We decided to touch on those important topics because we felt those are the ones that have been specially under fire during the last 5 elections. 

With the usage of facts and a neutral stand point on the political spectrum, we hope we have been able to inform and motivate you– the voter. We hope you found our blogs posts not only informative, but also inspiring.

We would like to thank every single one of your for giving us a few minutes of your time to read our weekly posts. Also, we would like to thank you for reading our points of view and other information that might have been in conflict with your personal believes and ideas. We thank you for your open mind and for your time.

Sincerely,

The Voter Watch Blog

Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

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If you’ve watched the news during the past few election cycles you may have heard a number of politicians claim that voter fraud is running rampant throughout the United States, taking away the power of good, hard working Americans voting rights, and that Voter ID laws will be the cure to this problem. But despite these claims, voter fraud is a red herring for Voter ID laws to disenfranchise poor and minority voters.

According to the ACLU, “11% of U.S. citizens – or more than 21 million Americans – do not have government issued photo identification.” On top of this Voter ID laws disproportionately affect voters of color, “up to 25% of African-American citizens of voting age lack government-issued photo ID, compared to only 8% of whites.” With the enacting of voter ID laws a substantial number of poor Americans are subject to a plethora of negative effects, leaving the poor, the old, the working class, and the disabled with debts and on the wrong side of scheduling.

While some laws could waive the identification fee, some Americans could pay anywhere between $75 to $175 dollars to gain the necessary documents. Not to mention the cost of missing work in order to obtain the materials. The enacting of Voter ID laws could leave potential voters. These laws could also hold up voters at the polls, as poor, and 9-5 workers get to the polls they could be jam-packed.

The narrative that voter fraud is an extensive problem is overblown politicized nonsense. According to The New York Times, the Government Accountability Office “identified few instances of in person voter fraud.” They went on to state that in 2012, an Arizona State University reporting project affiliate, News21, discovered “there had been 2,068 cases of fraud nationwide since 2000, including episodes of absentee ballot fraud, intimidation, vote buying and double voting.” This is quantifiable evidence that although voter fraud does exist, voter fraud isn’t common enough to impact elections, let alone necessitate laws to curb the problem.

The purpose of the voter fraud exists simply to push the Voter ID laws into effect. Pennsylvania State Republican Party chairman, Robert Gleason said in an interview that their Voter ID law, “had helped a bit” to decrease the gap in votes between President Obama and Governor Romney in the 2012 election. And according to Todd Allbaugh, a former staff aide to a Republican state legislature, “A handful of the GOP Senators were giddy about the ramifications and literally singled out the prospects of suppressing minority and college voters.” The actual purpose of Voter ID laws is an open secret in denying the right to vote for political gain.

Although they are being disguised as a new tactic against democracy Voter ID laws are nothing but a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

 

 

How Voter ID Laws Affect Democracy

Voter ID laws are damaging the decades of progress that have
Voter-ID-Nick-Anderson been made on our democracy and voting rights in the U.S. Up to this date, 33 states require some type of ID in order to vote, and 7 out of those 33 states have strict photo ID laws. Some outcomes of these laws are; voters are deprived of their right to vote, they reduce voter turnout, and they go against the fundamental ideas of a democratic process. Not surprisingly the voters that are affected by ID laws are  racial and ethnic minorities, the elderly, people with disabilities, and low-income citizens. Such voters usually have a hard time getting IDs, because they cannot afford or cannot get the documents they need to get an ID.

It is known that 11% of U.S. citizens (more than 21 million Americans) do not have an ID and getting and ID costs money. Even if IDs were offered for free, people have to pay for other documents such as birth certificates, transportation, time off work, etc.  Another fact about ID laws is that it reduce turnout by 2-3 percentage points, which means thousands of lost votes.

On the other hand, up to 25% of African Americans do not have an ID, compared to the 8% of whites. And minority voters are more likely to be asked for ID than are white voters. Also it is know that Voter ID laws reduce turnout among minority voters. According to a Washington Post study, ID laws have a negative effect on turnout among minorities.

“In general elections in non-strict states, for instance, the gap between white and Latino turnout is on average 4.9 points.But in states with strict ID laws, that gap grows to a substantial 13.2 points. The gap between white turnout and Asian American and African American turnout also increases”

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According to a study done by the University of California these laws come with political consequences. Since minorities tend to vote Democratic, states with ID laws are more likely to get a higher Republican turnout.

“All else equal, when strict ID laws are instituted, the turnout gap between Republicans and Democrats in primary contests more than doubles from 4.3 points to 9.8 points”

Such laws seem to be gaining momentum and more states are passing such laws. Even if the voter ID laws are somehow funded by the states, some people will inevitably face obstacles in the process of getting the required documents they need to get their IDs. Due to this obstacles and others, many Americans may be discouraged from voting just because they wont have the proper ID or just cannot get the proper ID.

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Fortunately there are non profits and state run organizations ready to help you. For example, VoteRiders is the only organization that focuses exclusively on voter ID. They help low income people, minorities, and everyone in need of help to get an ID and get you to the polls!

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Keep an Open mind!

When it comes to politics it is important to always keep an open mind and research! In politics everyone has an agenda and an angle they’re looking to push. Which can lead to networks like NBC, CBS, FOX, ABC, etc. to lean one way over the other, and show content in a way that would benefit their view more. So just make sure before you make a major decision to be in support of a law/political statement make sure you do your research! look at multiple sources and think about how it makes you feel!ncEEd76eiblog_news_network_logos

The Battle Continues for Ranked Voting in Maine

Last year, Maine became the first state to make Ranked-Choice voting it’s voting system for state and local elections, but the battle for the voting system isn’t over yet. Check out the article from The Portland Press Herald detailing the ongoing political battle over the Constitutionality of this new system.

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Ranked-Choice Voting: Last Politician Standing

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Ranked-choice voting works as a “last politician standing” style election. Voters list candidates in order of preference until the candidate with the majority of votes is chosen. If no candidate holds a majority of the vote then the lowest scoring candidate is eliminated and the voter’s next choice is factored into the results, this continues until one candidate wins a majority.

Check out this piece written by  The New York Times last December detailing the advantages and disadvantages of Ranked-Choice Voting.

Popular Vote it is!

Several democratic nations around the world have adopted some type of electoral system. The purpose of an electoral system is to calculate the number of votes at the end of an election in order to choose positions in a particular government.

There are several electoral systems used around the globe; in the United States for example, the electoral system used is called the Electoral College. The Electoral College is made up of “electors” (members of different parties), the number of electors a state has is determined by a census. (The 2012, 2016 and 2020 elections are and will be based on the 2010 census*)

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The number of people a state has determines the number of electors representing a certain state in congress (House and Senate). So, in other words we can say that, the more people a state has, the more electors or electoral votes it represents in the Electoral College. (In order to win an election a candidate must accumulate a majority of 270 electoral votes*)

The 2016 presidential election made many who are against the results challenge the old but current electoral system. For many the Electoral College is decrepit and inefficient for modern times. Even though not many countries follow the popular vote, some follow a similar type of popular vote called the Two-round system, as the title explains it, the two round system is made up of 2 rounds of popular votes, during the first round the candidates with the lowest percentage are eliminated and all remaining candidates stand for the second round and the candidate with the highest percentage wins.

According to the The Huffington Post a popular voting system or/and a two-round system would make many people who live in states with a low and high concentrated population feel like their voice matters!