Dear MoveOn member,
Imagine Mitt Romney in the White House. Tea party Republicans still in control of Congress. No Obama to veto their worst bills.
The election is months away, but this scenario could definitely happen, and here's a big reason why: voter suppression laws passed by Republicans in battleground states to make it as hard as possible for students, poor people, African-Americans, and Latinos to vote.
Already, Wisconsin, Florida, and Ohio have passed laws to restrict voter registration drives, end early voting, or require voters to present photo IDs at the polls.1 And now Republicans are scrambling to pass laws in virtually every other key battleground state to make it harder to vote in 2012.
These laws shamelessly target key segments of the Obama coalition from 2008, including first-time voters, poor people, and people of color, and could easily tip a close election to Mitt Romney or whoever the Republican nominee is. We're looking at Florida in 2000 all over again.
The good news is that Attorney General Eric Holder has used the Voting Rights Act to block one of the worst GOP voter suppression laws in South Carolina. But the election won't be decided in South Carolina—and to protect every vote Holder needs to keep going.
It'll be a huge fight with Republicans, and with the election approaching, we don't have much time. So we're aiming to raise at least $150,000 this week to launch an emergency grassroots campaign for voting rights. Can you chip in $5?
Here's our plan: First, we'll team up with the leading voting rights groups in each state—great organizations like the Advancement Project, who have top-notch expertise in the policy but who don't have the grassroots network that MoveOn has.
Then, MoveOn will organize events to deliver petitions calling out the Republican legislators behind these despicable attacks on voting rights, swamp their phone lines, and show Attorney General Holder that if they refuse to back down, we'll be right there with him.
Voting is one of the most sacred rights in our democracy. But Republicans know that if they can shave off even 1-2% of turnout among these key voting blocs, it'll be enough to tip the scales in race after race.
These laws are a major attack on voting rights. Nationwide, 21 million eligible voters lack the kinds of photo ID required by these laws.2 And especially if you're elderly, poor, or a student, it's not easy to jump through the hoops required by these laws.
Take Joy Lieberman of Missouri. She's 80 years old and has been voting for 60 years. But now she won't be able to vote because her birth certificate does not list her middle name. Or Larry Butler, who was born in 1926 in South Carolina, when birth certificates often were not issued to black Americans. Now, it would cost Mr. Butler $150 to get the documents required by South Carolina's voter suppression law.3
The 2012 election is coming up fast, so we don't have much time. Can you chip in $5?
Thanks for all you do.
–Steven, Anna, Adam Q., Stefanie, and the rest of the team
1. "Voter Identification Requirements," National Conference of State Legislatures, January 9, 2012
2. "Voting Law Changes in 2012," Brennan Center for Justice, October 3, 2011
3. "Democracy Under Assault: The Truth About Voter Disenfranchisement Laws," Advancement Project, accessed December 6, 2011
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