Efforts to limit democratic participation, facilitate big money in politics, and override the federal government
This page shows how ALEC bills or resolutions would disenfranchise Americans and give corporations even more power to use their vast financial resources to influence elections in our democracy. These "model bills" include the infamous "Voter ID" bills pushed through this year by new governors, many of whom have ties to ALEC. Through ALEC, corporations have both a VOICE and a VOTE on specific state laws affecting your voting rights and elections through these model bills. Do you?
Opposing public financing of elections designed to reduce the influence of moneyed interests, and justifying their position with the plainly untrue assertion that "campaign contributions have no effect upon legislative behavior."
Anticipating unlimited secret spending in the 2010 midterm elections and releasing a resolution opposing the disclosure of donors, before many others recognized how corporations, CEOs, and corporate front groups would hide behind non-disclosure rules and funnel hundreds of millions of dollars into the 2010 elections, with more to come in 2012.
Opposing the use of statistical sampling to get an accurate count of urban people of color and immigrants in the U.S. Census, although many modern countries use such cost-effective and accurate tools to conduct their census. Some politicians have expressed concern that this would increase the number of electoral votes and districts to favor Democrats.
After Barack Obama swept into office in November of 2008 with the energized support of youth and African Americans, suddenly "voter fraud" became a deep concern for many in the Republican party -- despite no evidence fraud occurred in any statistically significant way. When Republicans emerged from the November 2010 elections with new majorities in statehouses across the country, a total of [ 37 states saw strict voter ID laws introduced in 2011 and 2012. Many of those proposals contained elements of the ALEC "model" voter ID act, which imposes new burdens on the right to vote by requiring voters show state-issued ID cards that approximately 11 percent of voting-age American citizens do not possess. That number is even higher for students, African Americans, low-income, and older citizens. Though the ALEC "model" provides for free ID cards, the Brennan Center for Justice has found that the process of obtaining an ID presents significant difficulties, with voters lacking access to transportation, living dozens of miles from the nearest ID-issuing office (many of which have irregular and limited hours), and facing costs and headaches in obtaining supporting documentation like birth certificates. Additionally, the in-person voter fraud these laws might prevent happens at an infinitesimally small rate -- meaning that on balance, the purported benefits of the law (stopping voter fraud) do not outweigh the costs of disenfranchising as many as 21 million American citizens.
Photo voter ID bills were signed into law in eight states — Alabama, Kansas, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania — and passed by referendum in Mississippi. Additionally, Minnesota's legislature approved a ballot measure to amend the state constitution to require ID at the polls.
Though the number of states with strict voter ID laws quadrupled in 2011, there has been some pushback. Under Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, several states with a history of racially motivated voting rights discrimination require federal pre-approval for changes to voting procedures and practices, and the U.S. Department of Justice has refused to approve voter ID laws passed by South Carolina and Texas. In Wisconsin, two state judges have found the law violates the state constitution's express protections for voting rights. A Pennsylvania court upheld that state's law but it is being appealed to the state's supreme court. Other challenges to the laws are pending.
This information is available for download as a one-page fact sheet here.