The Republican National Convention now includes an amendment supporting voter ID. The language was added by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach—who has long intellectually authored anti-immigrant and voter-suppression legislation. As the Wichita Eagle reports, the party’s new platform mirrors “a controversial law that goes into effect” in Kobach’s state next year.
As tropical storm Issac remains a potential threat to next week’s convention in Tampa, we’ll keep an eye not just on the convention but on voting rights, too. If you’re looking for some worthwhile reading that explains the Republican National Convention’s ties to a dubiously named group called True the Vote, make sure to read Brentin Mock’s investigative report. In the meanwhile, here are some more of this week’s voting rights updates.
DOJ Backs Virginia’s Voter ID
The Department of Justice has pre-cleared Virginia’s voter ID law. Rather than require strict photo identification, Virginia’s law allows school IDs, utility bills and bank statements to be used when casting a ballot—and the DOJ found that it is nondiscriminatory. As Rick Hasen points out, the NAACP issued a mixed response on the decision, noting that Virginia should use its resources to “enhance and increase [voter] participation.”
Pennsylvania Supreme Court to Hear Voter ID Case Next Month
Opponents to Pennsylvania’s controversial voter ID law, who lost their challenge last week, are now headed to the state’s Supreme Court on September 13 to appeal the ruling. The law’s backers wanted to wait until October—just weeks before Election Day—for the high court to hear arguments, but civil rights groups that wanted an earlier hearing won a small victory with the announcement.
California Passes Election Day Registration
California lawmakers passed sameday voter registration legislation, doing away with the state’s current two-week deadline. Governor Jerry Brown is expected to sign the bill into law, which wouldn’t be in effect for this fall’s election. Only eight states currently allow same-day voter registration.