Rock the Vote Backs Fight Against Indiana Voter ID Law
Update/Clarification (Jan. 24): Ocean MacAdams of MTV News responds (see bottom of post)
Politico's Ben Adler has a story today about Rock the Vote submitting a friend-of-the-court brief in favor of overturning a law requiring voters furnish photo identification before casting a ballot:
Opponents of Indiana’s law requiring voter identification at the polls usually argue it places an unfair burden on the poor, the elderly, minorities, inner-city residents and the disabled.
But some activists predict another group will be affected in November: young people and college students.
A coalition of youth groups including Rock the Vote and the National Black Law Students Association filed an amicus brief to the Indiana state Democratic Party lawsuit urging the Supreme Court to find the law unconstitutional.
“The Indiana case has far-reaching consequences for students and other young people who move frequently, making current ID hard to come by, or who do not possess a driver's license,” wrote Alexandra Acker, executive director of the Young Democrats of America.
“It’s not something that at face value people think is overtly discriminatory,” says Matthew Segal, founder of the Student Association for Voter Empowerment, which also signed the amicus brief, and a senior at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. “They don’t understand the millions of Americans who are poor and don’t have a driver's license.”
Maybe I'm missing something here, but the proliferation of American college kids with fake IDs shows me that your average person in your Rock the Vote demographic isn't exactly hurting for the cash to pay for a real driver's license or state-issued photo ID.
Rock the Vote (RtV) has long maintained its youth-oriented voter drive is unconcerned with whom MTV viewers vote, but that they engage themselves in the political process. It may be strictly non-partisan, but the voter registration drive is hardly non-ideological and no longer confines itself to merely registering new voters.
In 2005, for instance, RtV campaigned against partial privatization of Social Security.
By filing a brief in support of a Democratic lawsuit aimed at striking photo ID requirements, RtV shows a disregard for its ostensible non-partisan mission, as well as disrespect for conservative and Republican MTV viewers who care about guarding the electoral process from abuse by voter fraud.
Update/Clarification (Jan. 24 | 11:49): I received the following from Ocean MacAdams, senior vice president of MTV News:
I'm a fan of your site, but have never had reason to email until today. While I'm sure you have had and will continue to have issues with MTV that don’t concern, "Rock The Vote," I would like to make sure that you know that MTV and Rock The Vote are two separate organizations. We have worked together in the past, especially in the late 90's, on some projects but we really don’t do much, if anything together any more. I think some senior MTV/Viacom folks may be on the board (although I'm not even sure about that anymore), but we really have little to do with them. We've didn't do anything with them in '02 or '04 and have done nothing with them this cycle. It certainly won't be the last time someone makes this mistake, but it drives me to distraction every time I see it.
MacAdams's objections are noted and I do apologize for failing to note the distinction between MTV and the Rock the Vote project.