By Tobin Van Ostern
September 8, 2011
Caption : Key ALEC leaders were among the co-sponsors of successful ALEC Voter ID legislation.     

Research conducted by Campus Progress reveals that every single one of the five states that recently passed Voter ID legislation had American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) members as co-sponsors of the legislation. ALEC is a DC-based non-profit organization that brings together state legislators and corporations to promote conservative policies.

The claimed intent of these restrictive Voter ID laws, explained here, is to prevent voter impersonation fraud. However, there are barely any cases of such fraud. Instead, these laws make it harder for young people, people of color, low-income people, the disabled, and older Americans to vote. Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin have all passed Voter ID requirements this cycle, joining Georgia and Indiana, which had already passed such restrictions.

Prior reporting by Campus Progress revealed that ALEC has played a critical role advancing the ongoing legislative attack on voting rights. Now, new research shows that not a single successful piece of Voter ID legislation became law without the involvement of ALEC members:

In Texas, one of the co-sponsors was the former National Chairman of ALEC’s Board of Directors, Rep. Tom Craddick. 

In Wisconsin, co-sponsors include the former ALEC Wis. State Chair, Rep. Robin Vos, and current Senate Majority Leader and former ALEC State Chairman Rep. Scott Fitzgerald.

In South Carolina co-sponsors include Rep. Liston Barfield, the ALEC State Chair and member of ALEC’s National Board of Directors.

In Tennessee co-sponsors includes ALEC State Chair and member of ALEC’s National Board of Directors Rep. Curry Todd.

Finally, in Kansas co-sponsors include numerous members of ALEC including Rep. Steve Brunk, Rep. Lance Kinzer, Rep. Marvin Kleeb, and Rep. Peggy Mast.

ALEC has indicated that Indiana’s Voter ID law was instrumental in ALEC’s creation of model Voter ID legislation because its provision to provide free IDs was upheld by the federal courts. When ALEC actually drafted its model legislation, the text followed Indiana’s structure.

It is easy to see the influence that the ALEC co-sponsors had on the legislation.

Looking at the first section of definitions of Pennsylvania’s proposed Voter ID legislation, HB 934, it is possible to see just how similar it is to ALEC’s model legislation [PDF], which was first disclosed by Campus Progress. The definitions are substantively identical, there is very similar wording, and the requirements are in the exact same order.

In other states, due to pre-existing state law, the order of the text of the legislation may have varied but the content is substantively very similar. This information demonstrates that ALEC’s influence encompasses all stages of the war on voting. From providing the model legislation, to spreading it to a variety of conservative legislators at conferences, to having its members actually propose the legislation, ALEC is streamlining the passage of the harmful Voter ID legislation.

To learn more about the Voter ID laws and how they are being spread, visit the Campus Progress Voter ID page at www.campusprogress.org/VoterID

Get updates on these issues and more! Sign up to receive email updates on the latest actions, events, and updates impacting 18- to 35-year-olds.