Once again, Democratic Perspective looked at Republican attempts to suppress the vote. As we’ve noted before, numerous studies, including a 2007 study by the Bush administration, have found very few instances of voter fraud.
Nevertheless, Republicans have used antecdotal evidence of a few instances to create fear with the system. They would like people to believe that, somehow, undocumented immigrants are going to vote for President Obama. This may be the most preposterous accusation ever, since it’s highly unlikely that undocumented immigrants would ever take the risk of exposing their situation to authorities.
But, for the time being, logic has been completely suspended with new voter ID laws already in place in nine states, many of them swing states that could determine the outcome of the election. These also happen to be states with the highest Latino population growth and the highest black voter turnout – groups that are most likely to vote for Obama.
Make no mistake; these laws are not about fixing a problem. They are all about politics. A Republican leader has as much as admitted so.
In a speech to other Republicans, Pennsylvania House Majority Leader, Rep. Mike Turzai, said the state’s voter ID law “is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”
The push to require voter ID began immediately after the 2010 midterm elections when Republicans gained control of state legislatures and governorships and the effort has gained steam since then.
Of course, Republicans say that IDs are required for other activities, such as driving, flying, even at many workplaces. But those requirements don’t interfere with Constitutional rights.
The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University estimates that one in ten Americans lack the types of IDs being required. 10 million American voters live more than ten miles away from any office that issues IDs, and 500,000 of those voters don’t have access to a vehicle.
Moreover, the cost of the documents required for ID cost money. According to the Brennan Center, the cost of the documents is actually more in current dollars than the poll tax ruled unconsitutional in the 1960s.
Restrictive voter ID laws are only one of the methods the Republican Party is using to suppress the vote. Florida is, once again, attempting to expand its list of felons ineligible to vote. In 2000, a similar effort led to thousands of innocent people being denied the vote in an election decided by just 533 votes.
Florida is also one of the Republican-controlled states that have made it more difficult to register new voters. And several states are trying to restrict early voting.
All of this is not to say that we don’t need to fix a number of voting problems. The few known organized voter fraud efforts in the past involved absentee ballots, and they benefited Republicans. Of course, voter ID laws will do nothing to prevent that. There are also some registration problems. It’s difficult for counties and states to keep up with changes of address and deaths. But that hasn’t resulted in fraudulent votes.