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craigconnects: Infographic on Restrictive Voting Laws Released by craigslist Founder Craig Newmark

SAN FRANCISCO, March 29, 2012 — craigslist founder Craig Newmark has issued an infographic that illustrates the impact of voting restriction laws on U.S. citizens. The infographic  was published today on Newmark’s craigconnects website. It explores the extensive actions taken by states to limit the opportunities for Americans to vote in general elections.

“What I learned in high school civics class is that an attack on voting rights is virtually the same as an attack on the country,” said Newmark. “So I asked people smarter than me to help me do what George Washington would have wanted me to do, collect and release the information you're getting from us today."

Newmark pointed to the fact that more than 150 state laws have been introduced that would impact citizens trying to vote in the upcoming 2012 election. “This could make it harder for more than five million Americans to vote this year,” said Newmark, citing data from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, 70 percent of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidential election in 2012 will now come from states that have already passed new voter restriction laws. And five of the eleven so-called battleground states have either recently restricted voting rights or are considering new restrictions.

“At a time when we keep hearing about low voter turnout, we ought to make it easier for people to vote, not harder,” said Newmark.

The infographic points out that state legislatures have passed laws restricting voting in a variety of ways: by eliminating election-day registration, restricting third-party voter registration activities, reducing the number of days for early voting, and requiring photo ID for in-person voting.

“Why would states reduce the number of days for early voting, when having early voting has been shown to help county and local registrars get the votes counted more quickly?” asked Newmark.

The infographic also questions the photo identification requirements of many new state laws. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, 18 percent of people over 65 don’t have a government-issued photo ID. “There are lots of valid reasons someone might not have a driver’s license,” said Newmark. “And the cost to states to provide other state-approved photo IDs is prohibitive, especially considering the current state of budget shortfalls.”

Advocates of laws restricting voter registration often cite a concern about voter fraud as the justification for such laws. Newmark pointed out that, based on research, proven cases of voter fraud are very rare, and there is no evidence of such fraud affecting an election in the United States. According to, between 2000 and 2007 there were nine cases of possible voter impersonation, while during the same period there were 352 deaths caused by lightning. “You’re more likely to be hit by lightning than have your election affected by voter fraud,” said Newmark.

“I think all Americans should be concerned about these new voter restrictions,” he said. “Voting is our fundamental right. If the states continue to restrict who can vote, who knows where they will stop?”

The infographic was prepared with information from a variety of sources, including the Brennan Center for Justice, the League of Women Voters, Rock the Vote, and Voto Latino.

About craigconnects

Launched in March 2011, craigconnects is Craig Newmark’s personal, Web-based initiative to support philanthropy, public service, and organizations getting results in both areas. The initiative spotlights individuals, organizations and agencies working for veterans and military families, open government, public diplomacy, back-to-basics journalism, consumer protection, and technology for the common good. craigconnects is a fiscally sponsored project of Community Initiatives.

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