Across the country, Republican led groups have enacted legislation aimed at restricting voters in the next general election. This isn’t an attempt to promote fairness and truth in democracy. It’s nothing more than a late-inning desperate attempt by Republicans to limit voting rights with a demographic that historically votes Democrat, including the young, elderly, poor and disabled. What’s at stake? Plenty! The Brennan Center for Justice estimates up to five million people may be affected, an amount that determined the winner in the last presidential election.
Specifically, states are trying to make it harder for these minorities to vote by requiring specific photo ID’s that many of these individuals don’t have. For example, hundreds of thousands of seniors don’t have drivers licenses but instead rely on their social security card, birth certificates, and other alternative ID’s when voting. These alternative forms of ID’s have worked fine in the past, and for many, the act of having to go to a DMV is something that is logistically difficult and in some cases impossible.
Early voting is also something seniors take advantage of, and this process has also been curtailed in several states. There are many valid reasons why voters can’t get the new required ID’s, but that’s not the issue. At issue is that certain voters will be prevented from voting simply because Republican bullies will do anything to prevent Barak Obama from being elected next November. Call a spade a spade. It’s not about preventing voter fraud. Studies abound that show there are relatively minor incidences of fraud, and in fact new photo ID laws would do little to prevent it anyway. In Texas in the last two general elections out of 600,000 registered voters with no photo ID, there were “four” cases of alleged voter fraud.
Bullies have historically tried to thwart voters in America with things like a poll tax and literacy test. Were these bigoted laws aimed at truth and justice? Of course not. They were aimed at preventing poor blacks and other minorities from exercising their constitutionally guaranteed right to vote. Bullying tactics usually backfire. Americans despise bullies and not only will this generate a grass roots movement to overturn these laws but will make the democratic party stronger in the wake of its determination.
It is no coincidence that these ugly new attempts at minimizing democracy come at a time when the nation is so divided ideologically across party lines. The liberal majority has its work cut out for it. In 2000, Republicans literally stole the election from Al Gore who in fact won the popular vote by more than 500,000 votes. It took an unprecedented intervention by a right wing Supreme Court to intervene in a “States Rights Issue” (go figure) and it appears that certain bully groups will stop at nothing to have their way. Americans are smarter than that!