Legislators Protest Proposed Voter ID Law

Jasey, McKeon and Spencer join NJ Citizen Action to bring attention to a growing national trend.


A handful of Essex County legislators stood alongside the state’s largest watchdog coalition Thursday on the lawn of the  to protest against a proposed voter ID law that is said to disenfranchise elderly, minority, and poor voters. 

“What a giant step backwards,” said Assemblyman John McKeon (D-Essex) about voter ID laws which have been passed across the country. “It is a thinly veiled attempt to oppress votes, and particularly votes of those who might tend to vote Democratic.” 

Assemblywomen Mila Jasey (D-Essex) and Grace Spencer (D-Essex), and Congressional candidate joined McKeon along with New Jersey Citizen Action at the Renna House to speak against the laws.

New Jersey currently does not have voter identification laws. However, three Republican state legislators -- Senator Christopher Connors (R-Ocean), Assemblywoman DiAnne Gove (R-Ocean), and Assemblyman Brian Rumpf (R-Ocean) -- sponsored bills earlier this year that would require voters to present state or federal photo identification, such as a valid driver’s license, when casting a ballot.

Since 2011, 16 states passed restrictive voting identification laws, according to the Brennan Center For Justice. Of these, 10 states currently have them in effect. Pennsylvania was the most recent state to implement a voter ID law when it was upheld by a judget on Wednesday

“Although we don’t see these laws going anywhere anytime soon [in New Jersey],” said Jasey, “I think that it’s a wake-up call, especially in light of what is happening in Pennsylvania, which I find to be frightening.” 

McKeon, former mayor of West Orange, likened the voter ID laws to voter suppression tactics in the past, such as poll taxes. He added that these laws will be a “significant factor in the presidential election” and thus affect New Jersey. 

“We want all who are entitled to vote to do so,” said McKeon, “and anything that oppresses votes in Texas, or South Carolina, or Kansas, or a number of the other states that ... have these laws in place will have a profound effect on us as it relates to how a president is elected."

Jeff Brown, policy and communication coordinator for Citizen Action, said widespread voter fraud is a nonissue. The only thing these laws will accomplish, he added, will be to disenfranchise elderly, minority and poor voters. 

“This is a concerted effort to attack a problem that isn’t there,” said Brown. 

sosonj August 29, 2012 at 11:50 PM
If election laws are so clear and inviolate, why bother with the teeny acorns and ignore the rotten oaks? Religious institutions regularly promote and support candidates, directly breaking regulations regarding non-profits.
Steven Serebrenik August 30, 2012 at 03:44 AM
Dear sosonj, Your first sentence sounds very cute. Are you dismissing what Acorn has done? Do you suggest that religious institutions are rotten oaks? Do you believe that supporting a candidate is the same as getting fictitious names on ballots? If you feel so, then I suspect that a continued reply on my part would be totally fruitless. GOD bless!
Sammy Ski August 30, 2012 at 06:05 PM
"There was no comparable identification requirement for voters who cast an absentee ballot by mail;" This comment was from a Judge that found the voter ID law unconstitutional based on the fact that "this omission constitutes inconsistent and partial regulations". That is where the flaw exists in this proposed law. Any copy of photo ID that may be required by mail can be easily forged on a copier. Many states allow early voting for an extended period of time before election day. These voters vote by mail and there would be no way to monitor their identifications.
sosonj August 30, 2012 at 10:27 PM
All violators of law should be treated equally, regardless of size or power. Religious institutions should not flaunt law or regulations while still retaining tax-exempt status.More, the IRS should not be in the position to declare what is a "religion". New roadblocks for voting should be discouraged and strict enforcement of existing laws should be encouraged.
Steven Serebrenik August 31, 2012 at 12:33 AM
Sounds like you have a problem with religion more so than worrying about voting rights...


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