John Conyers (D-MI) is attempting to neutralize the GOP vote supression tactic known as “vote caging,” where Republicans target vulnerable voters using mailings an individual has to sign for to determine if an address is valid, and then challenging the registrations of voters who don’t respond. Republicans have attempted to disenfranchise thousands of black voters using the tactic. TPM has provided the text of the bill, but hopefully they won’t mind if I use their bullet points.

Via TPM:

* Provides that the right to register to vote or vote shall not be denied by election officials if the denial is based on voter caging and other questionable challenges not corroborated by independent evidence.

* Prohibits persons other than election officials from challenging a voter’s eligibility based on voter caging and other questionable challenges.

* Requires that any voter challenge by persons other than election officials be based on personal, first-hand knowledge.

* Designates voter-caging and other questionable challenges intended to disqualify eligible voters as felonies, crimes eligible for fines up to $250,000, five years imprisonment, or both.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have both signed on to a similar version of the bill in the Senate. It’s worth noting however, that Obama stood up to block career vote suppressor von Spakovsky from being named to the Federal Election Commission, a decision he is now getting considerable flak for because it’s holding up the ethics reforms he was pushing.

I’m glad Barack Obama prevented the appointment of someone who has spent his entire career trying to keep black people from voting to a government body that is in charge of regulating election law. I think Obama has his priorities right; no one who has worked to deny American citizens their right to vote should be given more authority to regulate that right, in the name of “efficiency”.

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