"ProtectYourVote.us is a powerful new tool for citizens to use to ensure that fair and honest elections are held this November. All Americans have a stake in protecting our election process. Without confidence in the system, we cannot continue to be a free, self-governing nation."
- Edwin Meese III, former U.S. Attorney General
March 22 - Smack in the middle of a furious national debate over state-passed laws that strengthen voter registration and voter ID requirements, the American Civil Rights Union is unveiling today its advocacy of specific measures to prevent vote fraud in the November elections by:
- Requiring a photo ID to vote in person;
- Requiring proof of U.S. citizenship when registering to vote;
- Requiring signature verification and an acceptable proof of ID when voting by mail.
The American Civil Rights Union (ACRU) will hold a press conference at the Hall of States, 444 North Capitol Street, Suite 283, promptly at 10 a.m. to announce the launch of a new campaign - ProtectYourVote.us. Attendees should arrive early with picture identification to get through security.
Speakers will include President Reagan's former Attorney General, the Honorable Edwin Meese III; the Honorable J. Kenneth Blackwell, former Ohio Secretary of State and U.S. Ambassador to the UN's Human Rights Commission (now Council); and the Honorable Linda L. Chavez, Chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity, former Chairman of the National Commission on Migrant Education, Staff Director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, former U.S. expert to the United Nations Human Rights Commission's Sub-commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities; and Ken Klukowski, constitutional scholar and ACRU Senior Legal Analyst.
Details are available on the organization's new website ProtectYourVote.us, which features updated information by state about all voting requirements and laws, plus news and commentary. The issue has been rekindled in recent days with the Justice Department ordering a halt to Texas' new photo ID law, and the NAACP going to the United Nations' Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland to lodge a formal complaint against U.S. states with photo ID laws and other measures to prevent vote fraud.
Last year, all but 13 states introduced legislation to help ensure the integrity of the ballot box, and seven enacted laws to require showing of a valid photo ID at the polls. This flurry of activity came on the heels of verified reports of vote fraud during 2010 in Colorado, Michigan, New Jersey and other states. In the past decade, 46 states have had either vote fraud convictions or prosecutions.
"We're coming down on the side of ensuring the integrity of the ballot box," said Susan A. Carleson, Chairman and CEO of the ACRU. "Vote fraud cancels out legitimately cast votes, and deprives Americans of one of our most precious civil rights. The Supreme Court rightly decided in 2008 that there is no evidence that laws requiring a valid photo ID 'suppress the minority vote' as falsely charged. Every American, regardless of race, benefits from honest elections."
According to ACRU Senior Fellow and Policy Board member, J. Kenneth Blackwell, "Some people assume that everything naturally comes together during an election. But there are countless challenges that must be addressed to make the machinery of democracy work on Election Day to result in a free and fair vote tally that accurately reflects the will of the people."
ACRU Senior Legal Analyst Kenneth Klukowski concurs: "Voting is unique among our constitutional rights in that it is also a citizen's duty. For that reason, the Constitution permits reasonable safeguards to protect the ballot box, with the expectation that patriotic citizens are willing to do their part."