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Craig Newmark is Fighting Back Against Vote Suppression. Here's What He Wants You to Know.

Do you remember the scene in the The Breakfast Club in which Brian, the lovable geek played by Anthony Michael Hall, is asked what he would need a fake I.D. for?

"So I can vote," he answers. 

That joke was funny in 1985. Today, Brian might very well be accused of taking part in some sort of ACORN-led conspiracy to rig the vote and take over the world. And yet, some very good work has been done by groups such as the Brennan Center for JusticeLeague of Women VotersRock the Vote, and Voto Latino to set the facts straight on this issue. Let's consider a few of these facts.  

Between 2000 and 2007 there were:

  • 32,299 reports of UFOs
  • 352 deaths caused by lightning
  • 9 instances of possible voter impersonation

That right, nine! As in there are nine other dorks like Brian out there. And yet, the reaction has been completely disproportionate. Consider this number:

164

That's the number of laws that have been proposed to make it harder for U.S. citizens to vote in the 2012 election. Craig Newmark, the Internet entrepreneur who created Craig's List, says when he learned about current voter suppression efforts he was shocked because it went against "everything I had learned in Civics class." So Newmark has created the following infographic to visualize what has been going on. Vote suppression efforts have included things like:

  • Eliminating election-day registration
  • Restricting third-party voter registration activities
  • Reducing the number of days for early voting
  • Legislation requiring photo ID for in-person voting

As Newmark's infographic shows, ideas such as voter I.D. laws are not only expensive, they could disenfranchise as many as 5 million Americans in the 2012 election. 

Check out Newmark's infographic as well as a Voter Suppression resources list to find out what you can do. 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Follow Daniel Honan on Twitter @Daniel Honan

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