Tim Johnson Watch

Representative Tim Johnson was elected to represent the residents of Illinois' 15th Congressional District in Central Illinois. His constituents should know what he's doing.

Location: 15th Congressional District, Illinois, United States

A concerned citizen of Central Illinois.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Tim Johnson: Voting Is Not My Friend

Ah, Fall. There's a chill in the air. There's optimism for the Illini. And thoughts turn toward the upcoming elections.

Unfortunately, these days, when the House Republicans think about elections, it is not with the warm enthusiasm we remember from civics class. No, it is with fear of those polls showing "Democrats with a lead averaging 11 points on the generic congressional ballot test", as "more and more GOP House seats move into the vulnerable column or worse, for them, into extremely vulnerable status".

Today, Tim Johnson and the House Republicans reacted to that fear of the ballot box not by doing something to make the Nation better, but by doing something to make voting harder. In a close and mostly party-line vote, Tim Johnson helped the GOP pass the shameful "Federal Election Integrity Act of 2006", which aims to make it harder for Democratic and Independent voters (including the elderly, the poor, minorities, and disabled people) to vote -- and which has the additional "features" of costing you tax money and probably making it harder for you to vote even if you're not in one of those groups.

Oh, and "shameful" isn't TJW's word. It's the New York Times', in tomorrow's lead editorial. I urge you to read the whole thing, but here's the flavor of it:
One of the cornerstones of the Republican Party’s strategy for winning elections these days is voter suppression, intentionally putting up barriers between eligible voters and the ballot box. The House of Representatives took a shameful step in this direction yesterday, voting largely along party lines for onerous new voter ID requirements. Laws of this kind are unconstitutional, as an array of courts have already held, and profoundly undemocratic. The Senate should not go along with this cynical, un-American electoral strategy.

The bill the House passed yesterday would require people to show photo ID to vote in 2008. Starting in 2010, that photo ID would have to be something like a passport, or an enhanced kind of driver’s license or non-driver’s identification, containing proof of citizenship. This is a level of identification that many Americans simply do not have.

The bill was sold as a means of deterring vote fraud, but that is a phony argument. There is no evidence that a significant number of people are showing up at the polls pretending to be other people, or that a significant number of noncitizens are voting.
Why so afraid of the voters, Mr. Johnson?


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