Read time: 3 minutes

2010 Midterm Sweeps May Hand GOP 22 Races In 2014

Because Republicans took control of the statehouses, they were able to impose voting restrictions and other measures that will suppress the 2014 vote. If we let it.
2010 Midterm Sweeps May Hand GOP 22 Races In 2014

I'm sure you're sick of me telling you to vote, but I am writing that for the people who might not regularly read what I write, but randomly land on an article I wrote. And I am hoping that by repeating myself over and over, there will not be a repeat performance of 2010.

Here's where things are right now. The Senate is a complete toss-up. It's impossible to predict because the polls right now in some states have a very small sample, high margins of error, and are likely voter models.

Remember that. Likely voter models in midterms discount Democratic turnout because Democrats don't always come out to vote in midterms. I'm here to say they damn well better in 2014 if they want a country that isn't the property of people like the Kochs.

American Prospect's article about the cost of 2010 is stark: 22 races may be out of our reach because of voter suppression, gerrymandering, and voter ID laws.

For the first time in decades, voters in nearly half the country will find it harder to cast a ballot in the upcoming elections. Voters in 22 states will face tougher rules than in the last midterms. In 15 states, 2014 is slated to be the first major election with new voting restrictions in place.

These changes are the product of a concerted push to restrict voting by legislative majorities that swept into office in 2010. They represent a sharp reversal for a country whose historical trajectory has been to expand voting rights and make the process more convenient and accessible.

Although some of these new laws are harsher than others, and some are still being fought in the courts, they have already dramatically altered the landscape for 2014. The outcomes of some of the tightest races this year could turn on the application of controversial new voting rules. Strict voter ID laws have gotten most of the attention, but are only part of the story. Cutbacks to early voting and voter registration opportunities, and other idiosyncratic changes to voting rules, have the potential to do just as much damage.


↓ Story continues below ↓

Why is this happening? Where are the most damaging new laws? What impact could they have in this year’s elections? And how effective are the efforts by voters to push back?

First, some perspective. The current assault on voting is highly unusual. Election rules have long been prone to politicization, but the last large-scale push to curb voting access was more than a century ago, after Reconstruction. The first stirrings of a new movement to restrict voting came after the 2000 Florida election fiasco, which taught the unfortunate lesson that even small manipulations of election procedures could affect outcomes in close races. Even so, only a handful of states imposed new restrictions over the decade that followed.

It's a long read. Read it anyway, and share it with everyone you know. Make sure you're registered to vote and then do it. By mail, in person, by absentee, however you can. Just stand up and be counted.

Comments

We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service (revised 3/17/2016) for information on our posting policy.