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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

When it comes to voting rights, conservatives have to play dumb.

Over the last half-decade, Republican-led states have engaged in a concerted effort to limit voting rights that has not been seen since the civil rights struggle of the 1960s.

“From 2011 to 2015, 395 new voting restrictions have been introduced in 49 states, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, and 21 states have adopted new laws making it harder to vote, 14 of which will be in effect for the first presidential cycle in 2016,” wrote The Nation‘s Ari Berman, whose new book Give Us The Ballot tells the story of the modern battle to win the right to vote and the five-decade conservative effort to undo it.

Hillary Clinton called out several of her Republican rivals this week for their efforts to limit voting rights while proposing some simple yet radical ways to make it easier to vote, including automatic voter registration.

“She doesn’t know what she’s talking about,” Chris Christie told CBS’ Face the Nation in an interview that aired Sunday morning.

The New Jersey governor  — like all Republicans, with the occasional exception of Rand Paul — has to ignore both the broad GOP effort to keep Democrats from voting (an effort that conservatives have candidly or indirectly acknowledged several times) and his own personal contribution to it. Christie vetoed early voting in 2013 after Superstorm Sandy exposed problems with the state’s voting system.

GOP presidential candidates Scott Walker and Rick Perry passed laws that will deny the vote to hundreds of thousands of citizens in their states. But they’re amateurs compared to Jeb Bush, who was governor when purges of the voter rolls targeting minority voters may have helped swing Florida’s electoral votes to his brother George W. Bush twice.

Echoes of the stolen 2000 presidential election could be heard clearly in 2014, when Chris Christie argued that Republicans needed to win so they could maintain control over “voting mechanisms.” As head of the Republican Governors Association when the Bridgegate investigation targeted his administration, Christie set a record by raising over $100 million. And since then, he has distributed “generous gifts” to show appreciation to his donors.

While the conservative Supreme Court has gone on a rampage of undoing campaign finance laws, throwing out limits on donors and allowing unlimited anonymous donations to campaign organizations, actual voting keeps getting harder — but only for certain Americans.

Black, Latino, and Asian voters all have to wait longer to vote than their white peers. They also tend to vote Democratic more often, which is exactly the point. Republicans think voting should be harder, but buying an election should be easier, because they’re so much better at attracting the .01 percent of donors who sway our politics than voters. Here are five ways that Republicans use “voting mechanisms” to undermine the will of the people.

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