State Senator George Young, D-Oklahoma City, is saying two new bills that passed the Senate yesterday, House Bill 2974 and House Bill 2976, will confuse some voters and intimidate others, with the intent to suppress votes.
“The first, House Bill 2974, would require that any address with 10 or more registered voters on record be sent to the district attorney and law enforcement for further investigation. This unfairly targets large households and families who share a home, discouraging eligible citizens from registering to vote in fear of an inquiry.”
Many low-income voters live in large groups so they can afford a single-family residence. Young fears the bill unfairly targets that group with intimidation by law enforcement a direct consequence of registering to vote.
“HB 2976 is a bit more insidious in that it requires cooperation between the federal, district and municipal court systems to help denote felons on the voter roll,” he continued. “This bill presents two problems. First, the continued labeling of individuals as felons who have completed their debt to society and are eligible to vote. Second, it promotes the thought that those who have been convicted and completed their sentence have lost the right to vote indefinitely.”
Former felons who have finished their sentences in Oklahoma are eligible to register to vote.
“These pieces of legislation are part of the psychological warfare against voting, particularly among our most vulnerable electorate members. Oklahoma is among the worst states for voter participation and voter registration in reference to our total population. We must pass bills that encourage voter participation and cease voter suppression.”