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The ACLU of Utah Urges Senate to Reject Bill Restricting Voting Rights

27 February 2008 Published in Legislative Work

The ACLU of Utah Urges Senate to Reject Bill Restricting Voting Rights

In a letter regarding SB 210, “Proof of Citizenship Required to Vote,” which was distributed to the Utah Senate, The ACLU of Utah strongly urged senators to defeat the bill which would create barriers to voter participation by those who are lawfully entitled to vote in this state.

Read the press release >>

Read the letter >>

ACT NOW to halt Senate Bill 210 – an unnecessary bill that will discourage voter participation!

This bill will be voted on tomorrow, Wednesday, February 27th.

The ACLU of Utah is opposed to SB 210, "Proof of Citizenship Required to Vote" which is unnecessary and creates barriers to voter participation.

That is why we need YOU to tell YOUR senator to vote "NO!" on SB 210!

Each Senator's email is included - and linked! - below. Find the Senator who represents your area, and make sure he or she hears from you about why Senate Bill 210 is bad policy. If you know of people, family or friends in areas outside of Salt Lake City, please encourage them to contact their senators about this bill.

Here are a few talking points you can use:

The right to vote is the most fundamental expression of citizenship and thus must be guarded with vigilance.

There is no evidence that voting by undocumented immigrants is a problem within the state of Utah.

While the bill sponsor maintains that a state audit establishes that undocumented immigrants are fraudulently voting, the audit in question does not substantiate this claim. There is however reliable evidence that making the right to vote more difficult will dissuade lawful U.S. citizens from exercising their fundamental right to vote.

Senate Bill 210 runs contrary to the mandates of the National Voting Rights Act (NVRA).

The NVRA requires that states use and accept the Federal Mail Voter Registration Form. States are obligated to accept this form as full satisfaction of registration requirements for federal elections. SB 210’s requirement that registrants provide additional information pertaining to citizenship violates the NVRA.
Senate Bill 210 is largely unnecessary and does nothing to protect the integrity of the election process or assure the right of citizens to vote.

Existing state and federal laws already prohibit voting by non-citizens, and provide for severe penalties when violated.
Registering to vote in the state of Utah already requires registrants to sign an oath of citizenship.
SB 210 succeeds in erecting unnecessary barriers to voter participation.
Many Utah citizens do not possess the documents needed to satisfy Senate Bill 210’s requirements to prove citizenship. These documents can be difficult and costly to obtain and may constitute a form of poll tax, which is unconstitutional under the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The elderly, disabled people, minorities, and citizens born at home or out of the country are less likely to have birth certificates, driver’s licenses or other documentation establishing citizenship.
The cost of obtaining documents establishing citizenship can be prohibitive and will discourage voter participation. For example, the cost to obtain a U.S. passport is $100, a certified birth certificate from $10-15, and the cost to replace lost naturalization documents can be upward of $200.
A federal court in Georgia held that the $10 fee necessary to obtain a birth certificate to get a picture ID for voting purposes was in the nature of a poll tax, and thus was enjoined. Common Cause v. Billups, 406 F.Supp. 2d 1326 (N.D. Ga. 2005).

If you prefer to contact your Senator by phone, call (801) 538-1035 and ask the Senate Operator to connect you with your Senator. If they are not available, please leave them a message asking them to vote against SB 210.

Share this information freely with friends, colleagues and family members.

Senator Greg Bell
(R - Dist. 22; Davis County)
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Senator Curtis Bramble
(R - Dist. 16; Utah County)
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Senator Chris Buttars
(R - Dist. 10; Salk Lake County)
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Senator Allen Christensen
(R - Dist. 19; Morgan, Summit and Weber Counties)
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Senator Gene Davis
(D - Dist. 3; Salt Lake County)
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Senator Margaret Dayton
(R - Dist. 15; Utah County)
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Senator Mike Dmitrich
(D - Dist. 27; Carbon, Emery, Grand, San Juan, Utah and Davis Counties)
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Senator Dan Eastman
(R - Dist. 23; Davis County)
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Senator Mark Madsen
(R - Dist. 13; Tooele and Utah Counties)
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Senator Karen Mayne
(D - Dist. 5; Salt Lake County)
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Senator Scott McCoy
(D - Dist. 2; Salt Lake County)
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Senator Dennis Stowell
(R - Dist. 28; Beaver, Garfield, Iron, Kane, Millard, Washington and Utah Counties)
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Senator John Valentine
(R - Dist. 14; Utah County)
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Senator Michael Waddoups
(R - Dist. 6; Salt Lake County)
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Senator Carlene Walker
(R - Dist. 8; Salt Lake County)
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Senator Fred J. Fife
(D - Dist. 1; Salt Lake County)
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Senator Brent H. Goodfellow
(D - Dist. 12; Salk Lake and Tooele Counties)
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Senator Jon Greiner
(R - Dist. 18; Davis and Weber Counties)
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Senator John W. Hickman
(R - Dist. 29; Washington County)
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Senator Lyle Hillyard
(R - Dist. 25; Cache and Rich Counties)
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Senator Scott Jenkins
(R - Dist. 20; Weber County)
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Senator Pat Jones
(D - Dist. 4; Salt Lake County)
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Senator Sheldon Killpack
(R - Dist. 21; Davis County)
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Senator Peter Knudson
(R - Dist. 17; Box Elder, Cache and Tooele Counties)
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Senator Wayne Niederhauser
(R - Dist. 9; Salt Lake County)
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Senator Darin Peterson
(R - Dist. 24; Juab, Piute, Sanpete, Sevier, Tooele and Wayne Counties)
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Senator Ross Romero
(D - Dist. 7; Salt Lake County)
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Senator Howard Stephenson
(R - Dist. 11; Salt Lake and Utah Counties)
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Senator Kevin Van Tassell
(R - Dist. 26; Daggett, Duchesne, Sumitte, Uintah and Wasatch Counties)
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