From the department of NWHIA: Now We’ve Heard It All
Republicans on the Dallas County Commissioners Court are criticizing county election officials for helping the League of Women Voters and other nonpartisan organizations register eligible high school students to vote yesterday. From the Dallas Morning News:
The county elections department put the League of Women Voters in contact with about 60 Dallas-area high schools where the group held registration drives Tuesday. The county also publicized the locations.
Republican Commissioner Mike Cantrell said Tuesday the elections office undermined its nonpartisan reputation by promoting an event [National Voter Registration Day] whose national partners include several liberal-leaning groups. They also said high school students overwhelmingly vote Democratic.
“We can hide and disguise all kinds of stuff,” said Cantrell. “Everybody knows what’s going on here.”
Ah. We see the real problem here. Cantrell is upset because he thinks young voters won’t support his political party.
One would think that registering people to vote and getting them to the polls would be a good thing in a democratic society. And that would be especially true when it comes to encouraging young people to take personal responsibility for choosing their nation’s elected leaders. But Cantrell and other partisans on the right don’t think so — at least not if they see potential voters as supporters of a party other than the GOP.
Youth leaders from TFN Education Fund chapters on college campuses around Texas registered voters yesterday. Some chapter members also registered eligible students on high school campuses. They didn’t ask whether an eligible student planned to vote as a Democrat or a Republican (or a Libertarian or a member of any other political party). Of course, political parties as well as nonpartisan organizations are working to register millions of voters across the country. But some folks apparently think it’s a good thing to make it harder for certain people to cast ballots.
In fact, states have been passing measures across the country that could keep millions of otherwise eligible Americans — especially the poor, the elderly and young people — from voting this year. Some laws cut back on early voting or make it harder to register people to vote in the first place. Others require voters to have forms of photo ID that the Brennan Center for Justice has estimated as many as 1 in 10 voters don’t have. One tactic has been to bar students from using their college ID cards (as in Texas and Pennsylvania) or even a driver’s license from their home state to vote.
The Republican speaker of New Hampshire’s House of Representatives told tea party supporters that making voting easier had led to “the kids coming out of the schools and basically doing what I did when I was a kid, which is voting as a liberal. That’s what kids do — they don’t have life experience, and they just vote their feelings.”
So we’re not really surprised that Cantrell has jumped on the “suppress the vote” train in Dallas. But we won’t be intimidated. The Texas Freedom Network will continue to defend and promote the right to vote for all eligible Americans — regardless of their political party.