Fox News, Voter IDs, and Mandatory Voting

New Orleans    Fox News Special Reports doing a documentary on voting rights  would seem to some to be an oxymoron, while others would be certain that it would be me that was the moron for even being willing to sit down with these folks, but, hey, someone has to carry the weight and, frankly, the issue is very, very important.   By waving the bloody shirt of alleged voter abuse and the ACORN flag, right wing Republican majorities in state after state have used this thin rationale to suppress the votes of lower income voters, minorities, youth, and others.

Preparing for their visit with me in our New Orleans offices, I wanted to be up to date so did a little research.  Let me tell you, it is worst than I even imagined!

First you just have the general mess of our patchwork voter system.  According to recent reports by Pew:

  • 24 million citizens are no longer validly registered or have information that is significantly inaccurate.
  • 1.8 million deceased are on the voting rolls
  • 2.75 million are registered in multiple states
  • 51 million or 24% of the eligible population is NOT registered!

In 2008 over 2 million ballots were cast nationally.  Half were rejected because the voter was NOT registered, meaning, it seems to me, that they thought they were registered, so they were simply disenfranchised.

Secondly, we have the systematic attempts now to restrict voting access, especially by requiring IDs.  According to the New York Times’ compilations:

  • 11% of citizens or 21 million people do NOT have a current photo ID
  • The demographics of disenfranchisement would decrease the voting of 15% for low income citizens, 18% for young voters, and 25% for African-American voters.

Thirdly, if you take the accumulated weight of all of the new initiatives to restrict access to the ballot, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU:

  • The cumulative impact will be that 5,000,000 people will find it harder to vote in 2012.
  • States attempting to suppress the vote account for 63% of the electoral vote in 2012.

I’ll have more to say about this, but how can anyone pretend that these measures are democratic?  Not me!

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Remittances and a New World Bank President

New Orleans   The president of the World Bank, one of the premier world credit and developmental financing institutions created at Breton Woods, serves a 5 year, renewable term, and is currently occupied by former USA Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, appointed by George W. Bush.  Traditionally the post has been held by a US citizen because the US is the largest shareholder in the bank.  Luckily, this June marks the end of the five year term and allows a new president to emerge.

ACORN International and its affiliates have been pressing for more than a year through the Remittance Justice Campaign for there to finally be some real progress on capping remittance fees at no more than 5% of all transactions, which is a goal set by the G-8 top industrial countries and enabled by the World Bank.  We have also called on both the World Bank and these countries to seriously regulate remittances rather than continuing to allow predatory conditions to prevail that are fleecing the hard earned transfers of migrant workers and immigrant families.  Unfortunately given how voiceless this population is, their concerns have been shunted to the side over and over.  The World Bank, when confronted on the issue of remittances and doing what is necessary to achieve these reforms has repeatedly attempted to virtually disavow the existence of this goal and its own role.

ACORN International is demanding that President Obama and the leaders of other countries finally take the robbery of remittances seriously and make a precondition of the appointment of the next World Bank president be a real and robust commitment to achieving this 5% cap and supporting appropriate regulations of remittances.

To support this campaign, please sign our petition.

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