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Tuesday, Sep 28, 2004, 12:55 pm

Fox Takes on Young Voters

By Emily Udell
Speaking of keeping people from the polls (see "Pulling out the Stops" below).... Democracy Now!, broadcasting live from Tucson, Arizona, yesterday, reported on a local scandal involving young feminists and Fox News. In late August members of the Network of Feminist Student Activists at the University of Arizona were conducting a voter registration drive on campus when a Fox ("Fair and Balanced") News van rolled up and a reporter informed the registrars that they might be encouraging students to commit felonies.

It seems there was some serious confusion (or subterfuge) on Fox's part--students are allowed to register and vote in their school communities. Natalie Tejeda, the Fox reporter, had insisted to the bewildered feminists, however, that it was illegal to register students. Since the confrontation, lawyers have been consulted and the student activists confirmed that they (and the students they were registering) were well within their rights, but Fox failed to broadcast a clarification of the law or retract their insinuations that student voters were committing a crime. (Read Katha Pollitt's take on the situation.)

This episode brings to the forefront the differences between the two traditional movements in voting-rights law: voter access (as exemplified by the Voting Rights Act and championed by Dems) and voting integrity (favored by Repubs). Jeffrey Toobin recently published a very interesting piece in The New Yorker about the future of the Voting Rights Act under John Ashcroft's Justice Department. It's scary stuff--much much scarier even than the goons rolling around in Fox News vans.

Emily Udell is a writer for Angie’s List Magazine in Indianapolis. In 2009, she finished a stint drinking bourbon and covering breaking news for The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky. Her eclectic media career also includes time at the Associated Press, Punk Planet (R.I.P.), The Daily Southtown in southwest Chicago, and Radio Prague in the Czech Republic. She co-hosted and co-produced In These Times’ radio show “Fire on the Prairie” from 2003 to 2006.

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