5 Ways Republicans Make It Harder To Vote And Easier To Buy Elections
1. Ensuring long lines.
Republicans didn’t steal the 2012 election, but they sure tried. Voters in mostly Democratic areas of Florida had to wait up to 9 hours to cast their ballots. Theodore Allen, an associate professor of industrial engineering at OSU, took a look at voting in central Florida and found that as many as 49,000 voters did not vote because of the long lines. Those who did not vote favored Obama by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, 30,000 to 19,000. There’s also evidence that long lines helped George W. Bush take Ohio in 2004.
2. Inventing crimes that do no exist.
Voter ID laws have become the fashionable rage among Republicans during the past six years, even though there’s no evidence that they do anything but disenfranchise voters. Since 2000, more than a billion ballots have been cast. A recent study found that only 31 cases of voter fraud were discovered during that entire time. Hence we get that dark, disgusting satire of the guys who tell us 30,000 gun deaths a year mean we should enforce current laws, while they invent new government regulations to deter a crime rarer than looting after a lightning strike. These voter ID laws poll well because the public assumes good faith and doesn’t recognizes the Kafkaesque obstacles that many poor and elderly have to get through to pay for new documentation that could cost as much in today’s dollars as the unconstitutional poll taxes of our past.
3. Registration restrictions.
Clinton’s elegant call for automatic voter registration cuts to the core of the right’s hypocrisy on voting. The right-wing movement that decries bureaucracy and trumpets the Founders’ cry of “No taxation without representation” in fact loves red tape and barriers to democracy, in order to keep “them” from the polls. When North Carolina introduced the most draconian anti-voting rights bill since Selma — made possible by a Republican landslide that apparently proved voting fraud was rampant — the Tarheel State canceled same-day voter registration. Proof-of-citizenship laws have exactly the opposite impact their supporters claim to want.
“State laws requiring voters to submit documentary evidence of citizenship in order to register to vote are already having a dramatic and harmful effect on citizens’ ability to participate in the political process in the states that have them,” Demos’ lead counsel Stuart Naifeh found. “Conversely, they do almost nothing to reduce voter registration fraud, a problem that barely exists in the first place.” (Incidentally, the most notorious instance of alleged voter fraud in recent years involved right-wing commentator Ann Coulter, but the Republicans defended her.)