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How conservatives are conspiring to disenfranchise millions of Americans

HERE‘s a long and detailed piece from the Center For American Progress on voter-suppression efforts of the political right:

The right to vote is under attack all across our country. Conservative legislators are introducing and passing legislation that creates new barriers for those registering to vote, shortens the early voting period, imposes new requirements for already-registered voters, and rigs the Electoral College in select states. Conservatives fabricate reasons to enact these laws—voter fraud is exceedingly rare—in their efforts to disenfranchise as many potential voters among certain groups, such as college students, low-income voters, and minorities, as possible. Rather than modernizing our democracy to ensure that all citizens have access to the ballot box, these laws hinder voting rights in a manner not seen since the era of Jim Crow laws enacted in the South to disenfranchise blacks after Reconstruction in the late 1800s.

Talk about turning back the clock! At its best, America has utilized the federal legislative process to augment voting rights. Constitutional amendments such as the 12th, 14th, 15th, 17th, 19th, 23rd, and 26th have steadily improved the system by which our elections take place while expanding the pool of Americans eligible to participate. Yet in 2011, more than 30 state legislatures considered legislation to make it harder for citizens to vote, with over a dozen of those states succeeding in passing these bills. Anti-voting legislation appears to be continuing unabated so far in 2012.

There’s more on this matter HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE.

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7 Comments

  1. expdoc

    I voted on Tuesday in the primary and simply walked up to the table and said my last name. They then flipped to a list and asked me to confirm my address. I could read it right off the sheet of paper 1 foot away from me. Then I voted.

    How do you know that voter fraud is exceedingly rare if we are checking the ID of people who vote?

    The politics in this country are very polarized. We have a recent history of VERY close elections, and it is easy to acquire and show ID and it is required many other places in our lives.

    To call this anti voting legislation is ridiculous. If people are interested in voting, they will in fact register and vote. These laws are in fact pro-voting legislation making sure we each get 1 vote and that it counts.

    http://www.brennancenter.org/page/-/Democracy/VRE/Mycoff%20et%20al.pdf

    In the CCES, respondents answered questions about
    whether they were asked to show identification and if they
    were prevented from voting because of a problem with identification. Ansolabehere (2007) used this data to demonstrate
    that exclusions from voting are exceptionally rare. Twentytwo respondents out of the 36,421 person sample said voter-ID
    requirements prevented them from voting. Ansolabehere
    reports no more than 0.2% of potential voters claimed to have
    been excluded from voting due to ID requirements, and with
    no clear demographic pattern among them, there is very little
    empirical basis to raise the alarm over the implementation of
    identification requirements.
    15
    As Ansolabehere explains, “one
    would need a survey more than 10 times as large as this one to
    begin to gauge who was excluded and why. It is just that rare
    of a phenomenon” (2007, 8). Indeed, when non-voters in the
    Current Population Surveys (CPS) from 2000 to 2006 were
    asked why they did not vote, a lack of interest in politics was
    given as a reason twice as often as registration problems (which
    include a variety of issues, many of which are unrelated to
    having a photo ID at the polls on Election Day). Indeed, according to the CPS, even in states where photo IDs are required,
    11.7% of non-voters claim that a lack of interest kept them
    home in 2006 while 6.3% cited general registration problems.
    General registration problems could include voters turned
    away due to a lack of identification but also includes voters
    who had moved without reregistering, felons, and a litany of
    other special cases. More telling was that one-third of 2006PS respondents from Indiana said they did not vote because
    they were “too busy,” which can arguably be interpreted to
    mean they were less interested in midterm voting; after all
    they did respond to the CPS.
    At every level of analysis, and with multiple forms of data,
    we have consistently demonstrated that voter-identification
    laws appear to be a much smaller piece to the voting behavior
    puzzle than are factors such as the kinds of issues on a state
    ballot, the competitiveness of campaigns, the institutional
    structures of a particular election, socioeconomic factors, and
    individual-level motivational factors such as interest in politics. This is not to say that the rules of voting are unimportant
    or that there is no potential for disenfranchisement; rather
    our findings suggest that voter-ID laws have had no systematic effect on turnout thus far, and that some rules (voter-ID
    laws) do not affect turnout as much as others (same-day registration in Minnesota, a state with historically high turnout).
    While voter-ID laws appear to have little to no main effects
    on turnout (see Alvarez, Bailey, and Katz 2007), our central
    argument is that other individual-level motivations such as
    interest in politics (Berinsky 2005), types of elections (Gronke,
    Galenas-Rosenbaum, and Miller 2007), and social issues (Tolbert, Grummel, and Smith 2001) would mediate any impacts
    related to ID rules. While strict ID requirements have the
    potential to burden some members of the electorate, our analyses suggest that these numbers are small. What’s more, actions
    taken by state governments, interest groups, and political parties are likely strong enough to induce those who are interested in voting, but have no more strict form of ID, to take
    action to ensure their voice is heard. This form of political
    resilience is the type we expect, and have seen from racial
    minorities, women, and other oppressed groups in America’s
    history.
    Until there is systematic, empirical evidence of discrimination in the administration or availability of required forms
    of identification, there is little reason to suspect voteridentification laws will significantly affect turnout. Thus, we
    fail to reject the null hypothesis that voter-ID laws do not
    significantly affect turnout. While all state-level voting laws
    should be heavily scrutinized as efforts to stop voter disenfranchisement are paramount, it is time we give some
    credit to the electorate and as Berinsky (2005) suggests, spend
    more time searching for ways to increase citizens’ interest in
    politics. 

  2. Neftali

    What is the liberal plan for trying to suppress voter fraud? Oh, that’s right. They have none. Vote early and vote often! Its the Democratic way!

    Liberals concept of government is usually backwards. They interject it in places not needed, and refuse government policies where it makes the most sense.

    Funny how they preach that voter fraud is “rare”, yet each year there are multiple convictions across the country.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57372176-503544/indiana-sec-of-state-convicted-of-voter-fraud/

    What is so bad about wanting accurate and fair elections?

  3. monkey

    I’ve posted this question on other posts dealing with voter fraud. Where is the massive evidence of huge voter fraud? When I vote in Winn. County, I walk up and give my name, THEN I HAVE TO SIGN THE FORM and the signature HAS TO MATCH the signature they have on file when I orginally registered. If I were to try to go to a different ward and vote again, then wouldn’t have my name. If I tried to use someone else’s name, I wouldn’t be able to match the signature. So, again, any huge examples of massive voter fraud out there? The last time I asked, someone linked to a story from 1994 and then some issue in NYC earlier this year that was hardly significant. Repubs are clearly trying to suppress under the guise of solving a problem that doesn’t seem to be a problem.

  4. Neftali: You write: “Vote early and vote often! Its the Democratic way!”

    Where’s your evidence of that? Put up or shut up!

    And perhaps you can explain why certain Republican operatives have been trotted off to the pokey in recent years on charges of voter fraud.

  5. expdoc: Speaking of voting, I see that the incompetent Republican county clerk in Waukesha screwed up the vote count again the other night. And I see that the Milwaukee paper is calling for her to step down.

    You’re a big fan of hers, right?

  6. expdoc

    Wrong.

    She is a typical mid-level government putz who refuses to give up her job because she would never make it in the private sector.

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