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Friday, December 9, 2016

June 22 (Bloomberg) — Mitt Romney was in Michigan this week trying to make it competitive in the presidential election. It’s a steep climb for the native Michigander because President Barack Obama’s auto bailout, which Romney opposed, has helped bring the state’s unemployment rate down by 5.7 points since 2009.

But Romney has a strong ally there: legislation being pushed this month by his fellow Republicans aimed at preventing the nonpartisan League of Women Voters from undertaking the voter-registration drives it has sponsored for nearly a century.

Across the country, the Republicans’ carefully orchestrated plan to make voting harder — let’s call it the Voter Suppression Project — may keep just enough young people and minorities from the polls that Republicans will soon be in charge of all three branches of the federal government.

Yes, both sides try to change voting laws to favor their team. The 1993 “motor voter” law that made voting more convenient by extending registration to the Department of Motor Vehicles helped mostly Democrats. That was at least in the long American tradition of expanding the franchise.

The Republican effort to restrict voting isn’t just anti- Democrat, it’s anti-democratic. No fair-minded person believes the tall tales of voters pretending they were someone else, which have been debunked by the Brennan Center for Justice and others. What fool would risk prison or deportation to cast a single vote?

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