The next time a Republican says something about listening to the people remember this is the same Republican Party that is doing all it can to silence the people. It’s no coincidence that prior to the shellacking, certain Republicans would suggest calling up friends and those who weren’t going to vote the “right” way should be prevented from voting. If all else fails, they have and will resort to what I affectionately refer to as the Huckabee method.
Republicans have been busy little bees changing the system to rig it in their favor because 2012 is, in the words of Charles Koch, the mother of all wars.
One example is seen in Maine’s attempt to eliminate same day registration, which was repealed by the ballot during shellacking Tuesday. Not surprisingly, the Republicans in Maine intend to establish new voter i.d. laws.
Conservatives will insist that this is about reducing alleged voter fraud, which according to credible studies is negligible. In a study of twelve states, the following conclusions were drawn.
Mail-in voting in Oregon and same day registration in several states did not facilitate voter fraud.
Despite hundreds of news stories on alleged voter fraud in Wisconsin during the 2004 presidential election, practically no fraud was proven. In fact, there were only 14 indictments and five convictions or guilty pleas for illegal voting in an election in which over 3 million ballots were cast.
As noted in Salon, the voter fraud claim is an attempt to suppress voting, rather than rectify a problem.
“… investigating voter fraud has become a Republican cottage industry over the last 20 years because it justifies questioning the eligibility of thousands of would-be voters — often targeting poor and minority citizens in urban areas that lean Democratic. Playing the role of vigilant watchdog gives GOP bureaucrats a pretext for obstructing the path of marginalized and first-time voters headed for the polls.”
Here is a list of states either have changed voting rules or intend to do so, while claiming to reduce alleged voter fraud, while the real intent is to keep Democrats away from the polls.
According to the Brennan Center of the Justice, the following states have changed the rules to make voting more difficult for people most likely to vote Democrat or they are in the process of passing such laws.
Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Perhaps the greatest challenge is the rapid and numerous changes in voter eligibility laws, which Republicans hope will create a first tier means of discouraging the vote. We, at PoliticusUSA, will keep you informed of changes in voter eligibility laws, so that you will know what you need to make sure you vote counts in 2012.
The Republicans have several tactics to suppress the vote, including:
- Voter identification requirements. This one is a two pronged approach as it seeks to exclude people who don’t have a certain kind of identification, and establishing a poll tax. There are two types of voter id laws. One which requires voters to have a photo i.d. States that require photo i.d. are: Alabama, Kansas, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin. The second version requires proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate. States which have the proof of citizenship law are: Alabama, Kansas, and Tennessee.
- Making registration harder by eliminating the same day registration and restricting voter registration drives. Fortunately, the people of Maine voted to repeal the Republican ban on same day legislation. However, other states have not had the same fortune. The Kasich regime eliminated Ohio’s weeklong period of same-day voter registration. Florida and Wisconsin now have laws making it more difficult for people who move to stay registered and vote. Florida, Illinois and Texas have new laws restricting voter registration drives. You may have heard about the school teacher in Florida who committed voter registration violations by informing her students about voter registration.
- Reducing early and absentee voting. Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee, and West Virginia passed bills to reduce early voting.
- Making it harder to restore voting rights. Florida and Iowa have permanently disenfranchised most citizens with past felony convictions.
The results of changes already in place are significant. According to the Brennan Center’s analysis:
• These new laws could make it significantly harder for more than five million eligible voters to cast ballots in 2012.
• The states that have already cut back on voting rights will provide 171 electoral votes in 2012- 63 percent of the 270 needed to win the presidency.
• Of the 12 likely battleground states, as assessed by an August Los Angeles Times analysis of Gallup polling, five have already cut back on voting rights (and may pass additional restrictive legislation), and two more are currently considering new restrictions.
As put so well by Newsday, voter turning is already very low:
Regardless of the politics, any effort that will restrict voter access is unacceptable. As it is, voters often don’t go to the polls. Turnout was low in several of this week’s elections — which included two closely watched gubernatorial races, critical legislative races in Virginia and New Jersey, and some weather-vane state ballot measures on abortion and collective bargaining. At 26 percent, New Jersey saw its lowest voter turnout ever, but Ohio reported its highest turnout in 20 years for an off-year election, with 46 percent of registered voters casting a ballot.
Aside from making it harder or impossible for certain voters to participate in elections, conservatives are working to assure that the “right” voters are not left out of the system.
According to the Guardian, the Koch brothers are preparing a database of right wing voters from conservative groups, such as the Koch financed Tea Party.
“Oil billionaires David and Charles Koch pumped $2.5 million into the voter file, called Themis, which will assemble data from groups like Tea Party organizations and conservative think tanks.”With this resource they become a natural center of gravity for conservatives,” says one liberal analyst.”
Our best defense against these tactics is to stay informed and remove all the hurdles that would prevent us from voting. Possibly some of these laws will be repealed through court challenges, but for now, we should be prepared and make our votes count in 2012.
Image: The Blue States