Don't make voter mistakes that threaten your eligibility to vote
Mar 19, 2012, 6 a.m.
Even over-55 citizens make mistakes that prevent them from casting their important votes in general elections. Everyone should be aware of these common errors and these voting mistakes to avoid. Your vote is important to America. Don't lose it.
The most common voting mistakes to avoid involve the lack of a government-issued photo ID. These fatal errors affect older voters, African Americans, the poor, and active students the most. The statistics are disturbing. For example, a 2006 study by the Brennan Center's Democracy Program discovered that almost 20 percent of American citizens over 65 did NOT have a government-issued photo ID.
Of these around eight million people, the usual choice of using a valid driver's license was no longer available. Many in the over-65 crowd gave up their licenses without replacing them with common state-issued photo IDs that many U.S. states offer to those who do not have driver's licenses.
Some seniors also face challenges with a common secondary source of evidence: Birth certificates. Some in the over-65 group have long misplaced their birth certificates or, in other cases, never had one. Many seniors were born prior to state regulations mandating formal recording of births.
Tighter photo ID laws in some states (Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin) add to the
voting mistakes to avoid, if their new stricter laws stand the test of legal challenges. The Justice Department recently rejected South Carolina's new law as too restrictive for minority voters, who are 20 percent less likely to have required government-issued photo IDs.
Focused on minimizing voter fraud, other states do permit alternate forms of identification in some cases. Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, and South Dakota permit other identification documents, but only under certain circumstances.
Alternate documents, such as voter registration cards, Social Security cards, utility bills, or gun permits, are accepted in some states. Check your state rules to achieve these voting mistakes to avoid. Cast your vote.
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