Preventing the Vote

Efforts to restrict fraudulent voting in 2011 have resulted in a series of laws requiring identification at the polls. 25 laws and 2 executive actions passed in 19 states in 2011. 14 states have passed voting laws and executive actions that will have impact on the 2012 election. These states are:

  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • New Hampshire
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Ohio
  • South Carolina

The question I would ask is – is voter fraud such a problem that this is necessary, and who does it impact or keep from voting? The answer is less clearly defined, but the New York Times in 2007 identified 120 cases of voter fraud filed by the Justice Department over a five year period. And an analysis by News21 identified 10 voter impersonation cases out of 2,068 potential voter fraud cases since 2000. That’s one potential fraud case for every 15 million prospective voters.

It’s not clear how many legitimate US citizens might be affected by voting restrictions. One estimate states that roughly 12 million US voters don’t have a government issued photo ID. Now, among voters who stated that they were certain to vote, only 1% stated they didn’t have ID. Those who lack ID tend to be young people, poor people, people without college education, and Hispanics.

Personally, I’m not opposed to ensuring that those who vote are US citizens. Yet, the most damning evidence of a potential agenda comes from the identity of those who champion these laws. Aside from Rhode Island, ALL voter ID legislation has come from Republicans. For example, in a speech to Republican State Committee, House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) stated that Voter ID will allow Romney to win PA.

Was this the intent of voter ID laws? Did the Republicans champion voter restrictions with the intention of preventing those who might vote against them from voting? At the expense of a few hundred potential fraudulent ballots, are Republicans preventing hundreds of thousands or perhaps even millions of voters from having a voice in the selection of their leaders?

Given this, it seems to me that a case could be made, and that the Republican Party itself could be sued for colluding to prevent voters from exercising their rights. It also appears that adequate evidence could be assembled to support this case. Given this, I can’t help but wonder why such a case hasn’t been filed, or brought up. If this is true, and the Republican party is intentionally acting to prevent those who would vote against them from voting, then we have a situation where power is being entirely abused to manipulate a process that was intended to give EVERY American citizen a voice. A case where power is using power to prevent losing power.

Americans should be furious. I know I’m pretty pissed.

One Response

  1. A. Yes, I believe the GOP is trying to suppress Dem votes in some instances.
    B. Yes, I think foreign nationals should be prevented from voting.
    C. Whenever the low incidence of detected voter fraud is mentioned, I always wonder how much has slipped by undiscovered and thus unreported. The whole point of fraud, after all, is go unnoticed.

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