The Republican Party has, over a number of years, managed to implement some draconian Voter ID laws. Roughly two dozen states have significantly tightened their identification rules for voting since 2003, and the pace of change has accelerated rapidly in the last two years. Ten states have now passed laws demanding that voters possess a current government-issued photo ID, and several others have enacted measures slightly less strict. Most of these laws were based on a template provided by the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). (note: this is the same ALEC that is behind the “Stand Your Ground” laws that are being used as the basis for supporting George Zimmerman’s killing of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, in Florida) Republicans have justified their Voter ID laws with claims of significant levels of voter fraud. These claims were supported by a 2011 Republican National Lawyers Association list of reported election crimes during the last twelve years. On the surface, it is hard to argue with laws aimed at eliminating voter fraud but, as with many Republican initiatives, things are not always as they appear. Let’s dig a little deeper. (Reference 1)
What types of voter fraud are addressed by Republican Voter ID laws?
Voter ID laws only address the kind of fraud where someone walks into a polling place and tries to vote as someone else. Guess what….this type of voter fraud is a non-existent problem! After extensive research, Kevin Drum (author of the Repeat After Me article referenced above), was only able to identify one case of possible in-person voter fraud that could have been prevented by a Voter ID law. ONE FUCKIN CASE!!! This seemed strange to me, so I went to the Republican National Lawyers Association website and personally review every cited case of possible voter fraud. Based on my review, none of their examples could have been prevented by Voter ID laws. So what the fuck is going on here? We obviously need to keep digging. (References 2 and 3)
Who is impacted by the Voter ID law?
According to most studies the people that are impacted are disproportionately young or elderly, poor, black, and Hispanic (Reference 1). Having established that, let’s look at the composition of the Republican and Democratic parties. According to my research on this topic (Reference 4)) the Republican party is almost totally dominated by white people with approximately 87% of the Republicans being non-Hispanic whites. The Democratic Party on the other hand is much more diverse with 30% of the party composed of Hispanic and Black members. The bottom line here is that the Voter ID laws put in place by the Republicans almost exclusively impact Democratic voters.
How many Democratic voters could be impacted by Voter ID laws?
According to the Voter Suppression Returns article (Reference 1), “The number of people potentially affected is considerable: the Texas secretary of state, for example, estimates that at least 600,000 already registered voters do not possess the documents to cast ballots in November. New York University’s respected Brennan Center for Justice has estimated that a total of more than five million people may lack the requisite identification documents in states that have passed new ID laws.”
Bottom Line Conclusions!
- The Republican Party has put draconian Voter ID laws in place that address a voter fraud problem that does not exist.
- The Republicans knew this when they put them in place….so what was the point of the laws?
- The laws are about voter suppression not voter fraud.
- The vote being suppressed is not random! The laws are aimed at minorities, racism at its worst, blatantly taking away voter rights that were hard won over the last 150 years.
- The laws are also aimed, almost exclusively, at Democratic voters with the potential to eliminate five million votes during the 2012 election.
These Voter ID laws could swing the election to the Republican party and there my friends is the bottom line. The Republicans can’t win the election with their policies which serve only the top 1% of the US population, so their only hope is to steal the election with racist Voter ID laws. Romney has clearly said he doesn’t give a damn about the 47%….if you needed more proof that this was truly a Republican position now you have it!
This post owes much of it’s content to the following articles/resources, I have provided hyperlinks to the materials that I used and suggest that you refer to them for additional details.
- Voter Suppression Returns, Harvard Magazine, Alexander Keyssar (Stirling Professor of History and Social Policy at Harvard Kennedy School)
- Repeat After Me, Mother Jones, Kevin Drum
- Republican National Lawyers Association website
- Gallup Poll On Republican Base