One accusation of voter repression, one denial
New voter registration laws leave thousands off the rolls
Updated 10/10/2006 11:04 PM ET
By Richard Wolf, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON Ã· Some of this year’s elections could be decided by those who can’t vote.
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Across the country, new laws restricting who can register and vote have reduced the number of people who are eligible. Some of those laws have been blocked in court. Even so, critics say, the damage has been done:
Ã°In Arizona, about 21,000 voter registration applications were rejected because of inadequate proof of citizenship, required under a 2004 law. Most who were affected lacked up-to-date driver’s licenses, birth certificates or passports.
A federal appellate court blocked enforcement of the law Ã· which also requires voters to show ID at the polls Ã· last week, four days before the registration deadline. “We’re looking at an enormous disparate impact on people of color,” says Linda Brown, executive director of the Arizona Advocacy Network.
Ã°In Florida, a law setting up new requirements for independent groups that register voters prompted the League of Women Voters to suspend registration drives for five months until a court intervened. In that period, the league could have registered thousands of people, The registration deadline is Tuesday. “You’ve just got to assume it’s going to have an impact,” says Dianne Wheatley-Giliotti, the league’s state president.