Rock the Vote charged with bias

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The College Republican National Committee is pointing to the ostensibly nonpartisan Rock the Vote’s (RTV) anti-voter identification advocacy as proof of RTV’s liberal bias.

Wednesday, RTV sent out an action alert to followers warning that some politicians in Ohio do not want them to vote – due to pending legislation that would require voters to show some form of government issued identification before entering the polls.

“A new photo ID bill being pushed in the legislature could disenfranchise up to a million Ohioans – mostly students, seniors, people of color, and the poor,” the alert, penned by RTV president Heather Smith, warned. “600,000 students would be restricted from using their student IDs to vote and over 40,000 out-of-state students who are legally registered Ohio voters would be out-of-luck.”

RTV alleges that if the legislation passes, Ohio will be the hardest state in the union to cast a vote and urges alert recipients to contact Ohio Senators and urge them to “kill the bill.”

“What I find bizarre is that a group who focuses on voter registry is sending out action alerts talking about disenfranchisement when all that this bill in Ohio is saying is you need a driver’s license or valid form of government issued ID in order to vote,” Rob Lockwood, College Republican spokesman, told TheDC.

“Going back to the inception of Rock the Vote there have always been suspicions from the Right. Some activities from Rock the Vote have lead us to believe that they are a left leaning group,” Lockwood added noting past instances when the right has cried foul at RTV’s activities, most notably their 2009 ”Withhold Sex” campaign to get health care reform passed.

RTV’s vice president for civic engagement, Thomas Bates, stressed, however, that their group is trying to make sure everybody is able to vote, not just one political group.

“We are fighting to protect the rights of all [stress his] young people to vote. We don’t believe politicians should make it more difficult for people to get registered and cast a ballot,” Bates told TheDC.

“The larger issue is voter ID. You need an ID to get into a movie, to get onto an airplane, to get into a bar if you are in college, and you don’t need one to get to vote?” Lockwood asked incredulously.

Bates contends that the push is all about making sure that the youth are able to get into the polls.

”We have worked with young people from both parties in a number of states, including New Hampshire and Wisconsin, where proposed measures threaten to make it difficult for students to vote” Bates wrote in an email. “These laws unfairly target students, create unnecessary bureaucracy and barriers, and add costs in states that are already struggling to make ends meet. We want make sure young people are informed about their rights and have a chance to take action before it’s too late,” he wrote, noting that the Republican Ohio Secretary of State, Jon Husted, also opposes the ID requirement.

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Tags : ohio
Caroline May