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States’ voter laws may make it difficult for Dems in 2012

by Adam Russett on September 16, 2011

A number of new voter registration laws that have passed or are being debated may pose a threat to democratic voters come the 2012 election. Some civil rights groups have voiced concerns that the new laws, some of which require individuals to have a state-issued ID, discriminate against lower income voters as well as African Americans, according to The Washington Post.

A study from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University found that a quarter of African Americans do not have a valid government-issued photo ID, while the same is true for only 8 percent of Caucasians. Around 15 percent of voters who make less than $35,000 per year do not have an ID.

In Texas, federal officials are weighing a law that was put forward by presidential hopeful Rick Perry. Several prominent civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, urged the Justice Department to shelve the law, which is slated to go into effect on January 1.

"This law is part of the largest legislative effort to turn back the clock on voting rights in our nation in over a century," Judith Browne Dianis, co-director of the Advancement Project, told The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

In Maine, a typically "blue" state, activists are working to repeal a recent law banning same-day voter registration, according to WABI. Opponents say that the law hurts student voters as well as those who have difficulty accessing transportation.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in Pennsylvania, another state that Barack Obama won in the 2008 election, are considering rewriting laws that would alter the state's "winner takes all" Electoral College approach. Currently, the state's electoral votes go to the candidate who wins the most districts. Under the new law, the 18 votes would be divvied up among candidates depending on who garnered the most popular votes in each district, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  

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