Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Vote Our Way - or No Way

From the WaPo:

New Hampshire House Republicans are pushing for new laws that would prohibit many college students from voting in the state - and effectively keep some from voting at all.

One bill would permit students to vote in their college towns only if they or their parents had previously established permanent residency there - requiring all others to vote in the states or other New Hampshire towns they come from. Another bill would end Election Day registration, which O'Brien said unleashes swarms of students on polling places, creating opportunities for fraud.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you that I live in NH, and I attended the recent public hearing on both of those bills. It's not just NH, though. Other states are getting into the voter suppression act.

Backers of the voting measures say they would bring fairness and restore confidence in a voting system vulnerable to fraud. Many states, for instance, do not require identification to vote. Measures being proposed in 32 states would add an ID requirement or proof of citizenship, according to an analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.

Perhaps most telling of all:

The disputes are taking on national implications. Several states where newly empowered Republicans are pushing voter legislation, such as New Hampshire, Wisconsin and North Carolina, are expected to be battlegrounds in the 2012 presidential race.

Coincidence? I think not.

The youth vote helped propel Obama into the White House. The NH GOP is apparently unwilling or unable to effectively organize on college campuses. Their solution: prevent students from voting.

The goal of overturning same day voter registration is to make voting as onerous a process as possible, to ensure that some people just won't bother.

Same with the voter ID requirements. It disenfranchises people who don't have current picture ID's. Some folks don't have driver's licenses. Getting a birth certificate has a cost. Getting a photo ID has a cost. All of it takes time, time out of a working day. Elderly people who don't have current photo ID, and may be too physically frail to leave home to get one, are unable to vote. The more onerous the process, the more likely that fewer will vote.

From the Brennen Center for Justice:

The Brennan Center has researched the impact of voter identification legislation and the frequency of the only type of voter fraud that voter ID bills have the potential to address: the impersonation of registered voters at the polls. Our research has established that impersonation fraud rarely occurs. Indeed, more Americans are struck by lightning each year. But while there is no credible evidence that impersonation fraud occurs, reliable evidence proves that photo ID and proof of citizenship bills erect hurdles that prevent real citizens from voting. The citizens affected are predominantly elderly and indigent voters, and citizens from minority communities.

There is also the cost to the states, who will be picking up the tab for ID. At a time when every state has a budget deficit, is this a responsible use of tax dollars?

Given that there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud, what's this really all about? As Speaker O'Brien in NH makes clear - if you don't vote the way WE want you to, you won't vote at all. These states are hoping to pass these laws in a hurry, before the next presidential election.

cross-posted at MainSt/

1 comment:

DissedBelief said...

Perhaps the Republicans are well versed with voter fraud since this is the general opinion on how Bush won not once but twice. Certainly his first victory was due to many factors including turning away Hispanic and other minority voters from polling stations (FL) long before they were due to close. The GOP are practised perhaps (?) in many types of voting fraud and what is surprising is that they are so blatantly outspoken now about their goals and plans. We are seeing a new kind of civil war. Whether we like it or not, this nation has turned a dangerous corner from which it will not recover. We're headed downhill at lightening speed and the GOP is piloting the rocket.