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Legislators Protest Proposed Voter ID Law

Jasey, McKeon and Spencer join NJ Citizen Action to bring attention to a growing national trend.

 

A handful of Essex County legislators stood alongside the state’s largest watchdog coalition Thursday on the lawn of the  to protest against a proposed voter ID law that is said to disenfranchise elderly, minority, and poor voters. 

“What a giant step backwards,” said Assemblyman John McKeon (D-Essex) about voter ID laws which have been passed across the country. “It is a thinly veiled attempt to oppress votes, and particularly votes of those who might tend to vote Democratic.” 

Assemblywomen Mila Jasey (D-Essex) and Grace Spencer (D-Essex), and Congressional candidate joined McKeon along with New Jersey Citizen Action at the Renna House to speak against the laws.

New Jersey currently does not have voter identification laws. However, three Republican state legislators -- Senator Christopher Connors (R-Ocean), Assemblywoman DiAnne Gove (R-Ocean), and Assemblyman Brian Rumpf (R-Ocean) -- sponsored bills earlier this year that would require voters to present state or federal photo identification, such as a valid driver’s license, when casting a ballot.

Since 2011, 16 states passed restrictive voting identification laws, according to the Brennan Center For Justice. Of these, 10 states currently have them in effect. Pennsylvania was the most recent state to implement a voter ID law when it was upheld by a judget on Wednesday

“Although we don’t see these laws going anywhere anytime soon [in New Jersey],” said Jasey, “I think that it’s a wake-up call, especially in light of what is happening in Pennsylvania, which I find to be frightening.” 

McKeon, former mayor of West Orange, likened the voter ID laws to voter suppression tactics in the past, such as poll taxes. He added that these laws will be a “significant factor in the presidential election” and thus affect New Jersey. 

“We want all who are entitled to vote to do so,” said McKeon, “and anything that oppresses votes in Texas, or South Carolina, or Kansas, or a number of the other states that ... have these laws in place will have a profound effect on us as it relates to how a president is elected."

Jeff Brown, policy and communication coordinator for Citizen Action, said widespread voter fraud is a nonissue. The only thing these laws will accomplish, he added, will be to disenfranchise elderly, minority and poor voters. 

“This is a concerted effort to attack a problem that isn’t there,” said Brown. 

john g chipko August 17, 2012 at 02:01 PM
the dems are a bunch of hyprocrites, they will take a vote even if it comes from a animal. In america most transactions require id so why not voting, because the dems can then fill the ballots with dead people, animals and felons. If they require ID to get into their campain shindigs, then showeing ID to vote if far more important
john g chipko August 17, 2012 at 02:03 PM
it's amazing that the dems don't care about the integrity of the vote just the vote itself. Please stop with the BS about hurting the minorities , its false and you know it.
Steven Serebrenik August 17, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Where is the proof of this? Just speaking in generalites doesn't say anything...It's just your opinion. ACORN has subverted our system. That is PROOF of voter fraud! Letting the Balck Panthers get off the hook in Philly by our esteemed attorney general adds to the courage people will have to continue on. Is that what you would like?...I know you wouldn't like your vote tarnished. Not a Republican...Not a democrat...AN AMERICAN!!!
Steven Serebrenik August 17, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Thanks John..my fellow AMERICAN!
Pat Shane August 17, 2012 at 02:26 PM
I don't think it's necessarily the act of showing an ID that is an issue, because everyone can eventually get an ID. HOWEVER... This being enforced several months before a presidential election. If voter fraud was really an issue, and this law was to ensure a vote is legitimate, than it would have been propose and implemented a couple of years ago in order to ensure everybody who would be effected is taken care of. I think the outrage stems from the time in which this law was enacted. Oh, and this isn't shady: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuOT1bRYdK8
Saundra Robinson August 17, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Have nothing against showing ID. Do it all the time. My concern is the timing. As someone here said, the election didn't just show up, it is a scheduled event. If the concern about fraud or anything illegal was genuine, the push for voter ID would have been done a long time ago, not on the doors of the next national election. To me it smells of something dishonest. Yes, we have to show ID to board a plane, to enter buildings, to open accounts, etc. I don't recall the interest in voter fraud and the need for voter ID being such a big issue when either Bush was up for election. Just Saying.
John R. Overall August 17, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Ah, another great urban legend!!! First of all, there were shown to be, I think, ten cases of PROVABLE voter fraud in the last big election nationally. And maybe, someone did win an election somewhere with M. Mouse & E. Presley. But to do large blocks of these people (say the residents of a cemetery), involves fraud on a much higher level. And you'd have to show that ONLY Democrats do it... I know for an actual fact someone, a friend, who was unemployed (laid off), who HAD to get a photo id for a job and a bank account, and it cost him $49 ($25 for a NY birth certificate and $24 for the NJ photo id) and he had a lot of hassles in the process. Would he have gotten one just to vote? Not a chance. Of curse, if you wanted to be fair, and make sure everyone who wanted to vote could, then you'd have to have government fund a program to get a photo id for everyone who couldn't afford one. "Oh no", sez you," not another government program to grow the national debt." But, of course, I do want to be fair. If you cite documented fairly recent cases of large scale fraud using animals, etc. as you suggest, I'll be glad to listen. Because there ARE figures of people w/o id who won't be able to vote. All you have to do is check the voter lists and list of the photo id'ers. (And throw the dead ones out, if you can find them.) I guess you just don't want everybody to vote. Especially if it seems they might vote for the other guy.
Crafty Spiker August 17, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Any one here recognize the 15th amendment to the Constitution?
Crafty Spiker August 17, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Where were you in 2000 when Bush wasn't elected? Where were you in 2004 when Bush wasn't elected? You have the talk but wouldn't even recognize the walk.
Crafty Spiker August 17, 2012 at 02:58 PM
It's the 15th amendment. It's the law of the land. Period.
Steven Serebrenik August 17, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Hi Saundra, I agree that the "timing" does not look good and being done for political reasons... The fraud has increased TENFOLD now. Many states that our president won was only by a relative handful of votes. Remember Florida. Executive order of allowing undocumented illegal Democrats looks bad too. Obama went around OUR elected officials to accomplish this. ANYONE should understand that that is TOTALLY POLITICAL! This adminstation STOPS AT NOTHING to accomplish victory and I think this is SICKENING! Their ads are the lowest class ads I've EVER SEEN in 65 years. SHAME ON THEIR LIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
John R. Overall August 17, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Technically, the 15th amendment says: on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude Don't say nuttin' 'bout having to be able to spend close to $50 to vote. And like I said before, we should be trying to get the citizenry involved and concerned about what and how they want their goverment. Republicans & Democrats..... Green people, blue people...
Barbie August 17, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Everyone over 18 should have a photo ID. Show it, vote. End of story. Let's stop making a mountain out of a mole hill.
Rev. Susan Gillespie August 17, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Someone above said elections are well-planned events. This reveals two things: the person lives and votes in a more affluent community (in cities all across the country in 2004, many people gave up trying to vote because there weren't enough machines, the rosters were inaccurate and people without transportation were expected to find a courthouse to get permission to vote, even though they had voted in the same place before, etc.), and 2) you haven't been paying attention. Even if the election was well-planned, these laws are recent and in Pennsylvania the state admits there is no possible way they could produce the number of voter IDs needed in time for the election if everyone who needed one showed up to apply for one. So no, it is not possible for people who don't have the required ID to all get it and vote in this election (and that, of course, is the point of the law).
sosonj August 17, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Reforms to the voting process should be those that encourage participation, not those that place impediments on the users of mass transit, non-drivers or the elderly. Changes that make voting more convenient, such as automatic registration, online voting and weekend poll hours might enhance democracy. Rationalize photo id all you want, the entire concept is anti-democratic and intended as a benefit for political partisans.
John Lee August 17, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Voter ID laws are just another way the teaparty and GOP are trying to keep America white.
Kurt muldoon August 17, 2012 at 08:57 PM
All voter ID laws recently passed should be suspended until the hotly contested presidential election of 2012 has passed in order to give everyone sufficient time to prepare and to minimize the suspect motivation related to partisan politics
scarletxknight August 18, 2012 at 02:30 AM
its not that hard to live without ID. everyone is mentioning plane tickets, bank accounts etc etc....but people live without ID everyday. there are individuals i know that would vote but wouldnt go out of their way to find/replace their ID just to do so. this may have something to do with my age group (18-25) ...but still, that matters. without repeating everything, i agree with what others have already said......voter ID laws are unnecessary.
Steven Serebrenik August 18, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Wow.... Another RACIST comment being made and will be disregarded... YOU ARE THE RACIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Butterfly August 18, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Sorry Adam, but your writing smack of regurgitation of helpfully provided talking points. Do you have original thoughts or just parrot fox news? Why dont youwrite a nice essay and contrast your emulated viewpoints with the classical constitutional arguments regarding this issue?
Adam Kraemer August 21, 2012 at 10:43 AM
The state and the county governments are responsible to make sure election are fair and orderly. Every one who is legally entitled to vote should be able to vote with out much hassle. Obtaining and showing identification is not a road block for honest and lawful voters. Each vote should count and count once and only once. Showing a valid photo Identification at the polls can help in this regard. If Assemblyman John Mckeon and Assemblywoman Mila Jasey don't want voters to show a photo identification: what controls do they suggest to make sure we have a fair and orderly election with accurate counts? I will make the point that former Essex County Freeholder Samuel Gonzalez pleaded no contest to election fraud in March 2011. Election fraud is real and is a current issue in our community. Voters, citizen, and politician need to know controls are in place and that in our representative democracy the vote count has integrity. That is why voters should have to show photo identification to vote.
sosonj August 25, 2012 at 12:13 AM
I have just returned from a nursing home/ assisted living facility (visiting patients.) The staff I spoke to told me that no patient has picture ID that is government issued. The only images are those that staff takes to avoid mistakes when providing services. That Mr. Gonzalez was guilty of voter fraud is not proof of widespread fraud and should not be a reason to deprive others of their right to vote. This incident of cheating had no effect on the results of the election. One way to ensure fairness is to be certain all voting machines have a paper trail. One way to make democracy truly representative is to facilitate participation by easing obstacles to the voting process.
Steven Serebrenik August 25, 2012 at 11:32 AM
Dear folks, We do know of ACORN and their lawyer's initials..BHO don't we? Google ACORN and tell me that there is minimal amount of fraud...This is just one article in one state. Multiply this by every state... In a development that was (unsurprisingly) ignored by the mainstream media, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) was convicted of the felony of unlawful "compensation" in the registration of voters. Nevada outlaws compensating voter registration canvassers based on the quantity of registrations. The rationale is that basing pay on how many registrations one can obtain provides a financial incentive for canvassers to invent people and do sloppy work. ACORN faces a fine of up to --wait for it-- a whole $5,000. Two senior ACORN executives who participated in the conspiracy already cut deals with prosecutors and received slaps on the wrist. Given how many ACORN employees have already been convicted of voter fraud (a blanket term referring to a variety of election-related improprieties) across the nation this conviction of ACORN itself --the first time ACORN has ever been convicted of such an offense-- would seem to provide an opening for a federal prosecution under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. Acorn uses other names but still operates... This is not great news for anyone with an honest heart.
Sammy Ski August 29, 2012 at 07:11 PM
I think everyone is missing one important point. If the whole intent of voter ID laws is to ensure the sanctity of the vote and stop voter fraud, then how is the law going to address mail-in-ballots. You certainly don't show ID to vote by mail-in-ballot. So technically........it's a moot point. Why subvert the walk-in voter only to allow mail-in-ballots? Certainly our legislature does not want to eliminate the right to vote to the elderly, sick, or vacationing citizens! That would be a travesty.
Steven Serebrenik August 29, 2012 at 08:14 PM
GREAT point Sammy! I will call and find out how mail-in-ballots are being handled in this voter ID law. Thanks for your comment... Will get back to you. God bless.
sosonj August 29, 2012 at 11:50 PM
If election laws are so clear and inviolate, why bother with the teeny acorns and ignore the rotten oaks? Religious institutions regularly promote and support candidates, directly breaking regulations regarding non-profits.
Steven Serebrenik August 30, 2012 at 03:44 AM
Dear sosonj, Your first sentence sounds very cute. Are you dismissing what Acorn has done? Do you suggest that religious institutions are rotten oaks? Do you believe that supporting a candidate is the same as getting fictitious names on ballots? If you feel so, then I suspect that a continued reply on my part would be totally fruitless. GOD bless!
Sammy Ski August 30, 2012 at 06:05 PM
"There was no comparable identification requirement for voters who cast an absentee ballot by mail;" This comment was from a Judge that found the voter ID law unconstitutional based on the fact that "this omission constitutes inconsistent and partial regulations". That is where the flaw exists in this proposed law. Any copy of photo ID that may be required by mail can be easily forged on a copier. Many states allow early voting for an extended period of time before election day. These voters vote by mail and there would be no way to monitor their identifications.
sosonj August 30, 2012 at 10:27 PM
All violators of law should be treated equally, regardless of size or power. Religious institutions should not flaunt law or regulations while still retaining tax-exempt status.More, the IRS should not be in the position to declare what is a "religion". New roadblocks for voting should be discouraged and strict enforcement of existing laws should be encouraged.
Steven Serebrenik August 31, 2012 at 12:33 AM
Sounds like you have a problem with religion more so than worrying about voting rights...

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