Young Democrats Discuss Improving Voting Rights

first_imgBy Abrahm HurtTheStatehouseFile.comINDIANAPOLIS–Identification hurdles, poorly-trained poll workers and missing power cords for voting machines are just a few of the problems people face when trying to vote in the United States.“In Georgia last year, we had a polling place at Morehouse College, which is a HBCU (historically black college and university) and is in one of the blackest districts in the state,” said Porsha White, national political director at Let America Vote. “And the power cords went missing for three hours on election day.”White, along with Matthew Kochevar, co-general counsel for the Indiana Election Division, spoke on fighting for and expanding the right to vote at the Young Democrats of America national convention on Wednesday.The convention, being held through Saturday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Downtown Indianapolis, is expected to bring about 1,000 Democrats under age 36 from around the state and nation to Indiana. Highlights including South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a top-tier candidate for the Democratic nomination for president who will address the convention Thursday evening, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who speaks Friday evening.White said voting rights are being attacked at the local, state and federal levels.“We have a severe lack of protections from the feds for state laws from doing things like purging voters and making sure that we are running our elections in a secure fashion,” White said.Kochevar said Indiana has seen restrictive voter ID laws, restrictions to absentee voting and restrictions on registering to vote.In 2005, the state became one of the first in the nation to enact a strict voter ID law. It requires a federal or state-issued identification card that has a photo, a name that matches the voter registration and an expiration date.“That means local IDs, all private university IDs, are not acceptable for voting, which really limits those folks who may not be from the state but go to college here who are residents, who use services here, who rely on local, county and state government services to live while they’re studying here,” he said.White said Oregon, Colorado, Washington and California have or will be implementing voting by mail, where each voter is mailed a ballot to complete and return to a local election administrator.In California, vote-by-mail ballots can be sent to county elections officials, returned in-person to a polling place or to a county elections official, dropped in a county ballot drop box or voters can authorize someone to return the ballot on their behalf.Voters also can track and confirm the receipt of vote-by-mail ballots by going online or calling.White called vote-by-mail “the dream” and said it is known to increase voter participation.Viola Myers, attending the convention from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, said she’d love to see vote-by-mail come to her state, noting she lives in a rural area with limited transportation.In a recent election, she said, she went to vote at her usual polling place and was told she was in the wrong location.“It was the location I’ve always gone to, and then they sent me across town,” she said. “But when I got there, the place was already closed.”Abrahm Hurt is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalists. Print Friendly, PDF & EmailFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img