U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced a resolution today that would designate September 2012 as the "National Month of Voter Registration."
"In the United States, voting is a right, not a privilege for all Americans," said Senator Cardin. "I am concerned about the growing number of restrictions that many states are placing on eligible voters who are seeking to register to vote and cast their ballot. Voter identification laws are modern-day poll taxes that have the potential to disenfranchise a large number of eligible voters, particularly minority and elderly voters who cannot easily obtain a government-issued ID card."
The resolution notes the long history of state-sponsored voting discrimination that Congress has had to overcome through voting rights legislation and constitutional amendments. Current-day examples include laws passed in Wisconsin, Florida, Texas and Ohio that make it more difficult for individuals to register to vote or cast their votes, and several of these state laws have been struck down by courts or challenged by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Senator Cardin's resolution designates September 2012 as the "National Month of Voter Registration," and encourages each voting-eligible citizen to: (1) register to vote; (2) verify that the name, address, and other personal information on record for the citizen at the local board of elections is correct; (3) confirm that the citizen has everything in hand that will be required to vote on election day; and (4) confirm the correct polling place for election day.
The resolution also calls on state and local election officials to conduct public outreach and take affirmative steps to encourage voter registration, and encourages states to be fully compliant with The Motor Voter Act and other federal voting rights laws prior to Election Day.
U.S. Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) has introduced a similar resolution in the House, H.Res. 758.