Huffington Post: Voting Rights Issues Weighed By Senate In Heated Partisan Hearing

-By Larry Margasak, The Associated Press

December 20, 2012- WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats and Republicans sparred Wednesday over whether voter ID laws, attempts to purge voter rolls and restricted early voting were legitimate efforts to stop fraud or mainly Republican strategies to hold down Democratic votes.

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, a onetime Republican who recently turned Democrat, said the state GOP aimed its efforts at Hispanics and African-Americans. They cited as one example the elimination of early voting on the Sunday before the election, when members of those groups historically vote after church.

At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the senior Republican on the panel, defended Republican efforts to clear the rolls of ineligible voters and was backed by two Republican secretaries of state — Matt Schultz of Iowa and Ken Bennett of Arizona.

"I believe voter ID laws are commonsense measures to prevent voter fraud," Grassley said.

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Huffington Post: Jim Greer, Ex-Florida GOP Chair, Claims Republican Voting Laws Focused On Suppression, Racism

-By Ian Gray

November 26, 2012- Jim Greer, the former head of the Florida Republican Party, recently claimed that a law shortening the early voting period in the state was deliberately designed to suppress voting among groups that tend to support Democratic candidates, the Palm Beach Post reports.

“The Republican Party, the strategists, the consultants, they firmly believe that early voting is bad for Republican Party candidates,” Greer told the Post. “It’s done for one reason and one reason only…‘We’ve got to cut down on early voting because early voting is not good for us.’"

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NY Times: A Broken Election System

-Editorial

November 20, 2012- While President Obama was delivering his victory speech in the early hours of Wednesday, Nov. 7, people were still standing in line in Florida to vote. Thousands had waited hours to vote in New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio, some in the cold, some giving up wages to do so. In a spontaneous aside — “by the way, we have to fix that” — the president acknowledged the unnecessary hardship of casting a vote in the United States and established a goal that he now has an obligation to address.

The long lines can be shortened with commitments from Washington, as well as state and local governments, but they are just the most glaring symptom of a deeply broken democratic process. In too many states, it’s also needlessly difficult to register to vote. States controlled by Republicans continue to erect partisan impediments to participation. And the process for choosing a candidate remains bound to unlimited and often secret campaign donations that are bound to lead to corruption.

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Huffington Post: Chris Coons Offers Election Reform Bill To Fix Problems At Polls

-By Amanda Terkel

November 15, 2012- Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) is heeding President Barack Obama's election night call to "fix" the problems voters faced at the polls this year, by introducing legislation that would reward states for election reform.

Coons' bill, titled the Louis L. Redding Fair, Accurate, Secure and Timely (FAST) Voting Act of 2012, is modeled on Obama's Race to the Top program for education. States that make voting faster and more accessible would be rewarded with federal grants.

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