The midterm elections are nearing and voters across the country have to contend with a myriad of requirements and restrictions in the process of casting their votes.
State legislatures broke records between 2021 and 2022 in enacting laws regarding the right to vote. A majority of the legislation affected the ability of people to cast a vote.
In the year 2021, at the time of the last election legislators have passed at most 42 laws restricting voting across 21 states. The majority of these statutes contain provisions applicable for the midterm elections.
The laws regarding voting restrictions in the first place are not new. Black males were not allowed to vote until 1870 and until 1920, women could cast their vote.
However, these amendments haven’t hindered states from enacting legislation that make it more difficult for certain Americans particularly Black Americans — to decide on a candidate for the presidency. Most well-known of these laws are Jim Crow Laws. Jim Crow Laws that were prevalent across the South as well as elsewhere for more than 100 years starting with the freedom of the slaves in 1865 to around the 1960s.
It was the Jim Crow Laws directed at voter registration took a variety of forms including exams for literacy, poll taxes and grandfather clauses. Congress eventually adopted a law banning those restrictions through the Voting Rights Act in 1965.
Even though the law lifted some of the most severe restrictions, certain states discovered ways to introduce new restrictions. One of the most well-known is the voter identification law. In 2008, states had not demanded ID at the point of voting however, today, 35 states do. The advocates of these laws argue that they stop voter fraud. However, some critics claim that they impede voter participation by those who are at the lower end of the scale, who aren’t able to provide proper identification.
The significant increase in strict voter laws that were passed since the start of 2021 is now taking on different types. Even though evidence of voter fraud during the general election isn’t as clear the reason why the numerous new and restrictive laws were passed is that legislators are insisting that elections must be safer.
Below are a few of the new changes that are coming into force:
- The laws governing voter ID in some states are becoming more restrictive. The laws in eight states require voters to present photo identification at the polls. This is nearly triple the number required in 2000.
- Arizona and Mississippi are now governed by laws that require citizens to show proof of citizenship before applying for registration.
- In some states, it’s becoming more difficult to cast a ballot by mail. Certain states require ID numbers for those who seeks an absentee vote Certain states currently prohibit the use of ballot drop boxes.
- A new law passed in Oklahoma states that new voters to fill out the form of address verification. The opposition says this could limit voter participation for those who live in tribal areas where they aren’t registered with traditional addresses.
- It won’t impact election results for the midterms the ballot question that was put on in Arizona asks for voter approval to implement tighter voter ID requirements for the near future. If the proposition is approved the ballot, every voter within Arizona must provide an image, as well as mail voters must show an ID number taken from a driver’s license, or the final four numbers from their Social Security number when filling out the envelope for their ballots.
While others have taken a different approach and expanding voting access.
Based on the Brennan Center for Justice, twelve states have this year introduced 19 new laws to allow voters to cast their ballots. Six states have passed laws that facilitate mail-in ballots and eight laws across six states facilitate voting for disabled people and six laws from six states help to sign up to vote and three laws across three states allow for or extend the early voting in person.
If you’re planning to vote you should take the time to study the laws governing elections within your state. There may be a greater challenge to be able to vote this year, based the location you reside in therefore it is advisable to be aware of laws that could be changed. There may be a greater difficulty to exercise your right to vote, however, it’s still your legal right.
It’s not necessary to solve this on your own – Seek the help of a lawyer
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