By Terry Frieden, CNN Justice Producer
Washington (CNN) - The Justice Department has approved a law that calls for New Hampshire voters to provide photo identification when they go to the polls.
Approval of the law, which requires the use of government-issued photos, was announced in a letter from T. Christian Herren Jr., head of the Voting Section in the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, sent to attorneys for the state Tuesday.
Political observers consider New Hampshire important because it is a battleground state, where the race between President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney is expected to be close.
Under the new law, which is being phased in over a year, voters who do not have photo identification at the polls will still be allowed to vote after executing what the state calls a challenged voter affidavit. Voters who fill out the affidavit will receive a letter requesting confirmation of voting. If there is no response within a month, the state may investigate to determine if voting fraud occurred. After September 1, 2013, voters must have photo identification.
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Editor's note: Ruben Navarrette Jr. is a CNN contributor and a nationally syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group. Follow him on Twitter: @rubennavarrette.
By Ruben Navarrette Jr., CNN Contributor
Charlotte, North Carolina (CNN) - As you probably heard, Julian Castro's keynote speech to the Democratic National Convention was historic.
It marked the first time that a Latino had ever delivered the signature address at that event, and the fact that the 37-year-old mayor of San Antonio was invited to do so by the Democratic Party - and his twin brother, Texas state Rep. and congressional candidate Joaquin Castro, was chosen to introduce him - was a show of respect for America's largest minority.
As we Latinos might say: "Ya era tiempo" - "It was about time." A majority of Latinos have voted for the Democratic candidate in every presidential election dating back to 1960. That's 13 elections, loyally casting votes for strong candidates and weak ones. Over the last half-century, a lot of Democrats have owed their political careers to voters with names such as Gutierrez, Rodriguez or Morales.
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Editor's note: The identity of some of those quoted in this piece has been kept confidential.
By Sarah Brown, CNN
(CNN) - Lynne was driving home late at night after a trip out of town when it hit her. She had to share her story of surviving rape, to reach out and reassure other women who had been through the same traumatic experience that they were not alone.
CNN iReport asked people to send in their personal testimonies of surviving rape after the recent controversy over comments made by U.S. congressman Todd Akin, who said in an interview that women's bodies could naturally prevent pregnancy in the case of "legitimate rape."
The request led to a flood of soul searching and often passionate responses from women such as Lynne who have survived such an assault.
Akin's 'legitimate rape' comments trouble for Republicans
More than 40 people sent in stories from across the U.S. and beyond. Some had not spoken of what had happened to them, even to their own families; others used the traumatic experience to go public to inform and reassure others. Many were angry; others were reflective over what had happened. Some spoke of, inasmuch as it was possible, coming to terms with what they had survived, while for others, emotions were still as raw as the day they were assaulted.
Because some perceive negative connotations in the term "victim," many of those affected, and the organizations and individuals who support them, prefer the term "survivor."
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Editor's note: Sophia A. Nelson is a columnist and political analyst. She is the author of "Black Woman Redefined: Dispelling Myths and Discovering Fulfillment in the Age of Michelle Obama."
By Sophia A. Nelson, Special to CNN
I still pinch myself every time I see her.
I still well up with tears every time she walks into a room. I stand taller, with a smile, every time she delivers a passionate speech about her deep love for her country or her commitment to the families of our military. I have had the privilege of sitting with her in the White House kitchen garden tasting honey and apples, interviewing her about her new book, and I have been blessed to laugh with her during the Christmas holidays as the White House photographer snapped our picture with the president.
But I still find it hard to believe that my first lady is a woman of color: a strong, beautiful, accomplished black woman. Michelle Obama is elegant, educated, and full of grace. But what makes her so special is that she is still a down-to-earth "sister girl" raised in Chicago’s Southside.
Opinion: Michelle's personal story a political triumph
On Tuesday night she told America, and the world, her story. But what she did for millions of black women and girls here, and around the globe, was humanize us. She softened us. She made us part of the American fabric in a way no one else ever could. Without ever uttering a word about race in her speech, Obama’s very presence on the world stage – her arms well-defined, her dress fierce, her hair shiny-silky with a flip curl to boot – made us no longer invisible.
Michelle Obama convention speech dress dazzles, scores
By Sarah Aarthun, Ed Lavandera and Mariano Castillo, CNN
Charlotte, North Carolina (CNN) - A young rising star. A keynote speech on the Democratic Party's biggest stage. Is it 2004 again?
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro gave the most significant speech of his political career on Tuesday night when he became the first Latino to deliver the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.
"My grandmother didn't live to see us begin our lives in public service. But she probably would've thought it extraordinary that just two generations after she arrived in San Antonio, one grandson would be the mayor and the other would be on his way - the good people of San Antonio willing - to the United States Congress," Castro said in his speech, referring to his twin brother, Joaquin.
"My family's story isn't special. What's special is the America that makes our story possible. "Ours is a nation like no other - a place where great journeys can be made in a single generation ... no matter who you are or where you come from, the path is always forward."
Comparisons to the 2004 Barack Obama are inevitable. The then-Illinois state Sen. Obama gave the same address in Boston, launching him onto the fast track for the presidential nomination four years later.
Castro, 37, shrugs off the similarities and talk that he could eventually become the first Hispanic president.
What defines you? Maybe it’s the shade of your skin, the place you grew up, the accent in your words, the make up of your family, the gender you were born with, the intimate relationships you chose to have or your generation? As the American identity changes we will be there to report it. In America is a venue for creative and timely sharing of news that explores who we are. Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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