Monday, June 20, 2011

Quash the vote

A basic rule of thumb is that if GOPers are accusing Democrats of doing something bad, in reality, it's something they're doing themselves or planning to do. So it is with so called voter fraud, which for all practical purposes is non-existent. Meanwhile, it's the GOP's longtime campaign of voter suppression that's the real defrauding of our electoral system.

Republican controlled state governments are going into overdrive to pass laws transparently designed to suppress the ability of traditional Democratic voters to cast ballots. As EJ Dionne points out at the linked op-ed:
These statutes are not neutral. Their greatest impact will be to reduce turnout among African Americans, Latinos and the young. It is no accident that these groups were key to Barack Obama’s victory in 2008 — or that the laws in question are being enacted in states where Republicans control state governments.
The laws run the gamut from abolishing early voting to making it extraordinarily difficult to register new voters. And of course, the ever popular Voter ID scam. My personal favorite is the provision in Texas that "allows concealed handgun licenses as identification but not student IDs." I'm sure that has nothing to do with the fact, "Nationwide exit polls show that John McCain carried households in which someone owned a gun by 25 percentage points but lost voters in households without a gun by 32 points."

An earlier NYT editorial adds additional context on the ID requirement.
A survey by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law found that 11 percent of citizens, 21 million people, do not have a current photo ID. That fraction increases to 15 percent of low-income voting-age citizens, 18 percent of young eligible voters and 25 percent of black eligible voters. Those demographic groups tend to vote Democratic, and Republicans are imposing requirements that they know many will be unable to meet.
Kansas has also come up with a novel approach to suppress voter registration drives. Not only are voters "required to show a photo ID at the polls. Before they can register, Kansans will have to produce a proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate." This is being sold as a way to prevent the grave threat of voter fraud. To put it into context:
Kansas has had only one prosecution for voter fraud in the last six years. But because of that vast threat to Kansas democracy, an estimated 620,000 Kansas residents who lack a government ID now stand to lose their right to vote.
Of course of this speaks to GOPers recognition that they can't win an election in a fair fight. But that's small comfort while they're successfully disenfranchising millions of voters across the country. [Graphic via Zaetsch.]

[More posts daily at the Detroit News.]

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