With Lawsuits Flying Over Voting Rights, HeadCount Steps Up

At HeadCount, we don’t usually take a stand on issues. We’re a non-partisan org, and we just want people to vote. What they’re voting for is up to them. But what happens when voting itself is threatened? After much deliberation, we decided it was time to take a stand. That’s why we launched the Change.org petition DOJ: Shut Down Discriminatory Second Class Voting, confronting attempts by Kansas and Arizona to change or disallow the federal voter registration form.

Already, almost 35,000 people have signed our petition.

Here’s the problem: We register most of our voters at concerts, using a form created by the federal government that works from coast-to-coast.  Just this past summer a Supreme Court decision validated the use of this form. So we’re good, right?

Well, Kansas and Arizona have sued for the right to play by their own rules, and demand proof of citizenship during registration. If registrants don’t have a passport, birth certificate or naturalization papers on them when registering (oh, and a photocopier), they’ll be out of luck. These states want to either alter the federal form, telling voters that they have to submit this extra documentation — or they want a “two-tier” system, where anyone who registers with the federal form is barred from voting in state and local elections.

HeadCount has registered over 250,000 voters at concerts and festivals, and by letting people print out a form on our website. Very few of those registrations would have been possible under these rules. Kansas and Arizona are creating a system that will make our work (and the work of hundreds of other voter registration organizations) impossible.

voter-registration-form-469x225And consider this — the federal form already asks voters to swear they are a citizen, under penalty of perjury! That’s worked just fine for the rest of the country, and there are no serious issues with non-citizens caught voting in Arizona, Kansas, or any other state.

The good news is, we’re not the only ones in this fight. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit in Kansas, and the League of Women Voters is taking on Kansas and Arizona.

We endorse their efforts, and we ask you, if you support our work, to sign our petition, share it with your friends, and help us to fight a set of laws that could partially disenfranchise thousands of voters.

Tell your friends!