CLBR Segment 2: Kathleen Unger on Voter ID Laws

SEGMENT 2: VOTERIDERS COMBATS VOTER ID LAWS

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Voter ID laws could deny millions of American citizens their right to vote. VoteRiders helps those citizens get the ID required to vote. VoteRiders is a non-partisan organization whose mission is to ensure that all citizens are able to exercise their right to vote. Through resources and media exposure, VoteRiders supports on-the-ground organizations that assist citizens to get their voter IDs and inspires local volunteers and communities to sustain such programs and galvanize others to emulate these efforts.

VoteRiders is currently focusing its efforts in states that have voter photo ID laws such as Pennsylvania. We are working with the Pennsylvania Voter ID Coalition (http://www.seventy.org/Elections_Voter_ID.aspx) and Election Protection (www.866ourvote.org), among others, to ensure that all eligible citizens will be able to vote in November and beyond.

220px-kathleen_ungerKathleen Unger

Kathleen Unger is Of Counsel in the Los Angeles office of Freeman, Freeman & Smiley, LLP. She was in-house counsel at MCA/Universal Studios (now NBCUniversal) for 15 years. As a Vice President, Ms. Unger handled multi-divisional and -affiliate corporate matters, e.g., theatrical, television and home video product; concerts; publishing; theme parks; music; merchandising; broadcasting and other exhibition; cable programming; and real estate marketing and community relations. Ms. Unger has also served as a Mediator, having been certified by the Harvard Negotiation Insight Initiative at Harvard Law School.

Ms. Unger was the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Talking Heads, the quarterly publication of the Worldwide Entertainment and Communications practice of Spencer Stuart, one of the three largest executive search firms in the world. Subsequently, Ms. Unger was the Senior Strategist for Independent World Television. She also provided editorial services to Diana L. Schwarzbein, M.D. for The Schwarzbein Principle II and toward Dr. Schwarzbein’s current book.

Ms. Unger has significant professional and volunteer experience in the nonprofit sectors. She served as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Starbright Foundation (now part of Starlight Children’s Foundation), working with Steven Spielberg, Chairman, to improve the quality of life for children with serious medical conditions by providing entertainment, education and family activities. Ms. Unger’s accomplishments at Starbright included: 1) raising $8.5 million toward the capital campaign; 2) attracting and managing staff, consultants and over 500 volunteers; and 3) developing and overseeing the $5 million-site selection for the then-contemplated Starbright Center in Hollywood.

She also served as a member of the Board of Directors of (1) both the Scott Newman Foundation and Center for a decade, including as President (with Paul Newman as Chairman); (2) the Foundation of Santa Monica-based KCRW-FM, one of the largest National Public Radio stations in the U.S., for a decade; and (3) the Valley Community Clinic, including as Vice Chairman.

Ms. Unger currently serves on the Board of Directors of Eagles Youth Partnership (since 1994), the foundation of the Philadelphia Eagles football franchise.

Ms. Unger has co-chaired a successful Congressional campaign; served as Director, Business for California Campaign in the 1988 Presidential campaign; and was appointed a National Finance Vice Chair and a Trustee for a Presidential campaign.

NOTEBOOK

Selected Quotes

I can’t help thinking, since we just celebrated the Fourth of July and we’re supposed to be a country dedicated to liberty, that one of the most pervasive political movements going on outside Washington today is the disciplined, passionate, determined effort of Republican governors and legislators to keep most of you from voting next time. There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the other Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today.

Getting rid of same-day registration. Some states getting rid of all advanced voting. Governor of Florida proposed to reverse his Republican predecessor’s signing of a bill that gave people the right to vote when they got out of prison and they’d finished they’re probation period, even if they didn’t have a pardon—that’s one of the most important things we can do. Why should we disenfranchise people forever once they pay their price? Cause most of them in Florida were African Americans and Hispanics and would tend to vote for Democrats, that’s why.

Why do we want to get rid of same day registration? Why has New Hampshire made it almost impossible for college students who come from other states but live in New Hampshire most of the year to vote there? Why is all this going on? This is not rocket science. They are trying to make the 2012 electorate look more like the 2010 electorate than the 2008 electorate.

Former President Bill Clinton

Having covered Watergate and the impeachment of Richard Nixon, and more recently written a biography of Nixon, I believe that the wrongdoing we are seeing in this election is more menacing even than what went on then. Watergate was a struggle over the Constitutional powers and accountability of a president, and, alarmingly, the president and his aides attempted to interfere with the nominating process of the opposition party. But the current voting rights issue is even more serious: it’s a coordinated attempt by a political party to fix the result of a presidential election by restricting the opportunities of members of the opposition party’s constituency—most notably blacks—to exercise a Constitutional right.

This is the worst thing that has happened to our democratic election system since the late nineteenth century, when legislatures in southern states systematically negated the voting rights blacks had won in the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

Elizabeth Drew

We are focused on making sure that we meet our obligations that we’ve talked about for years. Pro-Second Amendment? The Castle Doctrine, it’s done. First pro-life legislation – abortion facility regulations – in 22 years, done. Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.”

Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R) in a speech to Republican State Committee members.

Why are left-wing activist groups so keen on registering the poor to vote?

Because they know the poor can be counted on to vote themselves more benefits by electing redistributionist politicians. Welfare recipients are particularly open to demagoguery and bribery.

Registering them to vote is like handing out burglary tools to criminals. It is profoundly antisocial and un-American to empower the nonproductive segments of the population to destroy the country — which is precisely why Barack Obama zealously supports registering welfare recipients to vote.

Conservative columnist Matthew Vadum

[Allowing people to register and vote on Election Day led to] the kids coming out of the schools and basically doing what I did when I was a kid, which is voting as a liberal. That’s what kids do — they don’t have life experience, and they just vote their feelings,

And they’ve taken away the town’s ability to govern themselves. It’s not fair.

New Hampshire House Speaker William O’Brien

Link Par. 1, Link Par 2

I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine. Let’s be fair and reasonable

Doug Preisse, chairman of the Republican Party in Franklin County

HOST: Are you absolutely convinced…that the methods to implement this law are effective and will in fact make sure no legitimate voter will be disenfranchised?

METCALFE: I don’t believe any legitimate voter that actually wants to exercise that right and takes on the according responsiblity that goes with that right to secure their photo ID will be disenfranchised. As Mitt Romney said, 47% of the people that are living off the public dole, living off their neighbors’ hard work, and we have a lot of people out there that are too lazy to get up and get out there and get the ID they need. If individuals are too lazy, the state can’t fix that.

Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-PA) author of Pennsylvania Voter ID law.

Plus

Everything You Wanted to KNow About Voter ID Laws, Pro Publica

Art of War: How Republicans mastered voter suppression, New Republic

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