- Senate District 8
- Photo Gallery
- Speak Out
- Contact Senator Yee
California Senate Supports Federal Investigation Into Voter Suppression Laws
August 13, 2012
SACRAMENTO – On a party-line vote, the California State Senate approved SJR 29, a resolution in support of an investigation by the United States Department of Justice into states’ voter suppression laws.
“Recently, we have made great strides in bridging the voter participation gap with African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans registering in overwhelming numbers,” said Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo), the author of SJR 29. “Sadly, many states have tried to counter this trend by passing voter suppression laws. These voter suppression laws are a deliberate political act designed to disenfranchise minorities, young adults, the poor, disabled, and the elderly.”
Since 2008, more than 30 state legislatures have introduced voter suppression laws, which may result in five million voters being disenfranchised.
Most such laws require an individual to produce a government-issued identification in order to vote. These laws disproportionally affect the poor, homeless, minorities, disabled, and elderly who often do not have a state-issued ID due to lack of financial means, time or mobility. Prior to 2006, no state required an individual to show an ID in order to vote.
Recently, the State of Florida started purging their voter rolls, resulting in thousands of citizens losing their right to vote. In addition, a federal judge recently ordered Florida to stop enforcing rules that require voter registration groups, such as the League of Women Voters, to turn in registration forms within 48 hours. Such a requirement essentially shut down registration efforts on holiday weekends as cards could not possibly be turned in within 48 hours when election offices are closed on Monday.
States have claimed that passing such laws are to prevent voter fraud, however nearly all instances of voter fraud are clerical or typographical errors on the voter rolls. Studies show the threat of voter fraud to be overblown, as cases are extremely rare and carry the risk of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine for each offense.
Last month, Mike Turzai, the Republican majority leader of Pennsylvania’s House, said their new voter ID law would help Mitt Romney win the state in the presidential election. The state conceded in the ongoing legal battle that it couldn’t pinpoint any instances of voter fraud.
“An elderly person who doesn’t drive or a poor person who cannot afford a government-issued ID should not be prevented from voting in America,” said Yee. “We should be encouraging more people to get engaged in the political process, not trying to throw up roadblocks in their attempt to have their voices heard. SJR 29 will send a very strong message that California will not stand for such discrimination.”
SJR 29 will now be considered the State Assembly.
Contact: Adam J. Keigwin,