Challenging the Challengers
The Brennan Center for Justice, a self-described “part think tank, part advocacy group” at the NYU Law School, just held a news conference at the National Press Club on voter suppression.
The presentation was mostly a rehash of now-familiar talking points: minorities are targeted; Samuel J. Wurzelbacher (aka Joe the Plumber) would be purged if he were a new voter because his name is misspelled on Ohio voting rolls; and it’s more likely that someone will be struck by lightning than he will impersonate a voter on Election Day.
More noteworthy was the center’s proposed solution to voter suppression — universal voter registration.
Ideally, everyone should automatically become registered upon turning 18, said Brennan Center Deputy Director Wendy Weiser. Nevertheless, because there are more people in DMV registries than on voter rolls, “even using existing lists, we can do far better than we are currently doing.”
Voter suppression in elections past. (Brennan Center)
Representatives of the Brennan Center at the news conference largely skirted ACORN and the charges of voter fraud leveled against it.
After the presentation, I asked Michael Waldman, the director of the Brennan Center and a former head speechwriter for President Clinton, about the threat of voter suppression as a result of GOP challenges to ACORN’s registration lists.
“I think it’s a major *excuse *for voter suppression,” he responded. While there have been problems with ACORN’s registration efforts, he added that “the vast amount of good they’ve done ouweighs that.”
Waldman’s admonition to voters: “Don’t take no for an answer.” If you get turned away from the polls, call 1-866-OUR-VOTE and let the good guys rush to your defense.