True the Vote This Week 12/11/15

11th of December 2015

The IRS wants to deny your tax deduction unless you share your Social Security Number

Take our word for it – never trust the IRS to do the right thing. The same politicized agency that “accidentally” revealed the confidential taxpayer information of donors to activists who would later harass them now wants you to share your Social Security number with every charitable organization that you financially support. Under the proposed “Substantiation Requirement for Certain Contributions” regulation, the Obama IRS would deny your tax deduction if you gave more than $250/year and didn’t cough up your SSN.

Look, it’s hard enough for charities to find donors in uncertain economic times. It’s even harder to keep administrative costs low to ensure that the maximum portion of each dollar given can go toward mission advancement. It would essentially be a deal-breaker if faith institutions, and other 501(c)(3) nonprofits like TTV, had to invest ungodly sums into security systems that would still be vulnerable to breaches and identity theft. Don’t believe us? Ask Sony, Target and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management how it worked out for them recently.

The period for public comment on this regulation will remain open until Wednesday, December 16, at 11:59pm ET. Click here to see other comments already registered, and let your concerns be known. Once you’ve done that, demand that your friends and family do the same. Remember, we’re talking about the IRS here.

 

Did you know? PEW Research highlighted a study that detailed the total amount it would cost to collect ALL voter files in the country. True the Vote’s national voter roll research databank costs $126,482 -  just for the raw data! If you haven’t yet, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to help underwrite our research efforts.

 

Check out TTV’s latest court brief against the IRS

The long road to justice against the IRS continued this week as TTV’s attorneys filed a brief before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. You can get all the details in the 63-page filing here. You don’t have to be a legal scholar to follow along with this document. In it, you’ll get a procedural walkthrough on how we landed at this stage of the legal system; the factual background of the case is revealed; and the core legal arguments are examined. The briefing schedule and eventual court date are estimated to extend into spring of 2016. No one said this was going to be a sprint.

 

What does 'one person, one vote' even mean?

You might have heard that a Texas court case, Evenwel v. Abbott, was recently heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. What you may not know, however, is that it could completely re-shape American politics. At issue is whether legislative districts in Texas should be drawn to equally reflect total population (which is the status quo) or registered voter population instead. Evenwel is arguing that some Texas Senate districts are drawn with populations of “nearly 50 percent” ineligible voters, particularly in urban areas. In essence, these districts that are composed of a substantial noncitizen population receive a “political subsidy by granting more political power to areas with larger noncitizen populations.” Conversely, then, the voices of those residing in less-populated, citizen-dense areas are diluted, according to our pals over at the American Civil Rights Union. If Evenwel succeeds, states like California, Texas, Florida and New York could see political clout diminish -- while the Midwest would loom even larger in national races, should a domino effect occur. This is definitely a case worth watching. Click here to access an official copy of the transcript for oral arguments heard. 

 

Legislation on the Move

United States

Conduct of Elections bill HR 195 was placed on the Union Calendar, Calendar No. 275. This bill would terminate the Election Assistance Commission.

Florida

Absentee Voting bill HB 361 was reported favorably by Government Operations Subcommittee. This bill would substitute the term "vote-by-mail ballot" for the term "absentee ballot" that is currently used.

Voter Registration bill HB 541 was reported favorably by Government Operations Subcommittee. This bill would require voter registration applicants to provide distinguishing information about their address, like an apartment, suite, or dormitory room number. It also changes the required phrasing on the form from "legal residence address" to "address of legal residence."

Voter ID Expansion bill SB 666 was reported favorably by Ethics and Elections. This bill would expand the list of acceptable forms of identification for certain voter registration applicants to include veteran health identification cards and licenses to carry a concealed weapon or firearm.

Voter Registration bill SB 1016 was filed. This bill would streamline voter registration at DMVs, as applicants for a new or renewed license or ID card would provide eligibility information and an opportunity to decline voter registration. If the applicant does not opt-out, a single signature would be required for the transaction and voter registration application, and the information relevant for voter registration information would be electronically transferred. If deemed eligible, the applicant would be provided additional follow-up information about declining or selecting party affiliation.

Michigan

Absentee Voting bill HB 4724 was referred to second reading. This bill would amend the Michigan Election Law to modify the procedures both for obtaining an application for an absentee ballot, and also for returning that application to the local clerk where the voter was registered to vote. Notably, the bill would permit any eligible voter, without offering a reason, to apply for an absent-voter ballot in person with the local clerk by providing a driver license, an official state identification card, or another generally recognized picture identification card. The bill would take effect January 1, 2016.

Missouri

Conduct of Elections bill HB 1379 was prefiled. This bill would require a voting machine in every location, for federal, state, and local elections, that is accessible for visually impaired voters and compliant with the Help America Vote Act. This bill also provides state funding for use and maintenance of accessible voting machines.

Election Challengers bill HB 1380 was prefiled. This bill would allow challengers to remain in the polling place to observe the completion of forms, sealing of ballots, machine disassembly, and so forth. Previously, each political party on the ballot could assign a challenger to observe election procedures only during voting hours and ballot counting.

Absentee Voting bill HB 1480 was prefiled. This bill would allow for the use of voting machines to process absentee ballots.

Voter ID bill SJR 20 was prefiled. Upon voter approval, this constitutional amendment provides that a voter seeking to vote in person may be required by general law to identify himself or herself as a United States citizen and a resident of the state by providing valid, government-issued photo identification. Exceptions may be provided for by general law.

Ohio

List Maintenance bill HB 402 was introduced. This bill would provide for the cancellation of voters' registrations upon notification of registration in another jurisdiction within the state, or a change in residence outside the state. Residence changes within the state would no longer trigger cancellation. It would prohibit mailing a confirmation card or cancellation unless there is reliable information that the voter changed his voting residence to a location outside of Ohio, when using the National Change of Address registry. If a voter casts a ballot during the time the registration was cancelled, the voter would be considered registered at the time of voting.

Pennsylvania

Voter ID bill HB 1724 was referred to State Government. This bill would require voters to provide a driver's license number or, if they do not have a driver's license, their social security number to vote absentee. If the absentee voter has neither a license nor Social Security number, they may submit a copy of a photo identification issued by a government agency, an institute of higher learning, or a care facility. An in-person voter would have to present valid photo identification, including identification issued by the US or state government or a student or employee identification. If the person does not have photo identification, they may present a non-photo ID issued by the US or state government, or a firearm permit, current utility bill, current bank statement, a paycheck, or a government-issued check.

Virginia

Voter ID bill HB 32 in in the house: Committee Referral Pending. This bill would add student identification bearing a photograph issued by any institute of higher education in the United States to the list of identification required to cast a ballot.

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