House bill restricts voter registration drives


Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a measure that would restrict the ability of non-profit organizations to conduct voter registration drives. The measure appeared as an amendment tacked onto a bill providing increased regulatory oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

This latest move by the Republican-controlled House is but one in a series of such attempts to prevent American citizens from voting. In 2003, there was the South Dakota voter ID requirement, clearly intended to thwart Native American voters, and just this year, Georgia also passed a voter ID requirement law, which was struck down by a federal court just a few days ago.

The Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac amendment–which prohibits any non-profit group from receiving federal affordable-housing funds if it has conducted a voter registration drive in the past year (even with its own funds)–was added for the benefit of the ultraconservative Republican Study Committee. It should be noted that one of the RSC’s members is Louisiana Representative Piyush “Bobby” Jindal, who, as an Indian-American, is a man of color. This disconnect from reality apparently doesn’t disturb Jindal’s RSC peers any more than it disturbs the thousands of Louisianians who voted for Jindal, a slick bureaucrat with extreme right-wing views. Some of those views–especially in the areas of church/state separation and choice–if transformed into law, would be harmful to both people of color and non-Christians (Jindal was a Hindu before he converted to Christianity).

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