Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Republicans Work To Suppress Swing State Votes

The Republicans are making a bid to suppress the vote in swing states among two traditional Democratic constituencies, the urban poor and minorities. These efforts have increased since the Supreme Court's unfortunate gutting of the Voting Rights Act:

Republicans in Ohio and Wisconsin this winter pushed through measures limiting the time polls are open, in particular cutting into weekend voting favored by low-income voters and blacks, who sometimes caravan from churches to polls on the Sunday before election.

Democrats in North Carolina are scrambling to fight back against the nation’s most restrictive voting laws, passed by Republicans there last year. The measures, taken together, sharply reduce the number of early voting days and establish rules that make it more difficult for people to register to vote, cast provisional ballots or, in a few cases, vote absentee.

In all, nine states have passed measures making it harder to vote since the beginning of 2013. Most have to do with voter ID laws. Other states are considering mandating proof of citizenship, like a birth certificate or a passport, after a federal court judge recently upheld such laws passed in Arizona and Kansas. Because many poor people do not have either and because documents can take time and money to obtain, Democrats say the ruling makes it far more difficult for people to register.

...The flurry of new measures is in large part a response to recent court rulings that open the door to more restrictive changes.

Last year, the Supreme Court struck down a central provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The decision allowed a number of mostly Southern states to alter their election laws without the prior approval once required from the Justice Department. A few weeks later, free of the mandate and emboldened by a Republican supermajority, North Carolina passed the country’s most sweeping restrictions on voting.


Michael J. Mand said...

We have a very dangerous Supreme Court right now - very clear demonstration as to why this is perhaps the most important issue in every presidential election. Bad legislation can be reversed rather quickly. A bad Supreme Court can affect two generations without recourse.

Jeff Tone said...

Yes, the current Supreme Court has done enormous damage with its decisions regarding campaign contributions, i.e., bribes, and the Voting Rights Act. The Roberts Court has helped corrupt our democracy. The Koch brothers are pleased.