NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

New Election Bill Draws Fire From Minority Groups

October 8, 2002

A bill to revamp the nation's election procedures appeared to be on its way to passage in both the House and Senate after emerging from conference with the support of both Republicans and Democrats. But some minority and civil rights groups -- which had initially pushed for reforms -- are opposed to some provisions of the bill they claim would make it harder to register and vote.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the League of Women Voters of the U.S., the N.A.A.C.P. and the National Council of La Raza are particularly opposed to the bill's voter identification measures.

  • One provision requires first-time voters who registered by mail to produce some form of identification -- like a photo ID card, a bank statement or a paycheck.
  • Another requires all state mail-in registration forms to include the question, "Are you a citizen of the United States of America?"
  • The bill also stipulates that an application for voter registration "may not be accepted or processed by a state" if a person with a driver's license fails to write the license number on the form.

Source: Robert Pear, "Civil Rights Groups Say Voter Bill Erects Hurdles Before Ballot Box," New York Times, October 8, 2002.


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