Today’s roundup of voting news from around the country

Legal, financial and constitutional developments

Efforts to reduce access to the ballot have been occurring all over the country. Here’s today’s roundup of voting news.

In Florida, a teacher who organized a voter registration drive is facing fines for doing so. The new law created rules so onerous that the League of Women Voters was forced to abandon its long-standing voter registration efforts.  

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed suit to block implementation of the law. The most controversial elements are under review in federal court before they can be implemented in five counties.

In Wisconsin, the League of Women Voters is bringing a lawsuit against the new photo id law.  The basis of the lawsuit?  The League argues that, “the state constitution clearly only bars children, felons and the mentally incompetent from voting, not people who lack photo IDs.”

The lawsuit notes many Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicle offices have limited hours. Although people can get state ID cards for free, state policy prohibits DMV workers from informing them the $28 fee can be waived, the lawsuit said. What’s more, obtaining supporting documents for an ID, such as birth certificates, presents its own bureaucratic hurdles and fees. A report the league released earlier this month found a dry run at asking for photo ID from voters during legislative recall elections in August contributed to long lines and confusion.

In New Hampshire, there are warnings that proposed legislation would have a potentially large effect on its state universities’ bottom line. 

As in other states, New Hampshire’s public colleges rely on out-of-state tuition to subsidize in-state tuition. If a large number of nonresident students voted in New Hampshire and were deemed residents, they would begin paying in-state rates, and that loss of revenue could lead to increases in the rates charged in-state students.

The difference between tuition for New Hampshire residents and out of state residents is a whopping $14,000 a year each — and this is collected from 4,800 students — totalling over $67 million annually.  

New Hampshire’s proposed laws come after its House Speaker said that college students are “foolish”and “just vote their feelings,” as seen in a tendency to vote “as a liberal.” Four months after making that statement, it was reported that the Speaker’s son  “voted in Maine elections and ran for state office in Maine while a student at Bates College in Lewiston.”

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.