Rolling Stone just published an unbelievable piece detailing the GOP War on Voting (bought and paid for by the Koch brothers); an effort to prevent millions of Democratic voters from casting ballots in the 2012 elections next year.
"Just as Dixiecrats once used poll taxes and literacy tests to bar black Southerners from voting, a new crop of GOP governors and state legislators has passed a series of seemingly disconnected measures that could prevent millions of students, minorities, immigrants, ex-convicts and the elderly from casting ballots. "What has happened this year is the most significant setback to voting rights in this country in a century," says Judith Browne-Dianis, who monitors barriers to voting as co-director of the Advancement Project, a civil rights organization based in Washington, D.C.
Republicans have long tried to drive Democratic voters away from the polls. "I don't want everybody to vote," the influential conservative activist Paul Weyrich told a gathering of evangelical leaders in 1980. "As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down."
Just this week the Department of Justice announced it had more questions into a South Carolina Voter ID Law that changed after legislation passed this spring. Under South Carolina's Voting Rights Act they are "required to have changes to the state's voting laws precleared by federal authors or by a federal court to insure they're not discriminatory." The DOJ is looking over the state's voter ID law and asking for more information on how it will be implemented to ensure that no discrimination does occur.
At the same time, Arizona filed a lawsuit against the federal government saying that the National Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional because it also requires that all changes to the state's voting laws must also be cleared through the feds. Arizona AG Tom Horne has satiated:
"The portions of the Voting Rights Act requiring preclearance of all voting changes are either archaic, not based in fact, or subject to completely subjective enforcement based on the whim of federal authorities. Arizona has been subjected to enforcement actions for problems that were either corrected nearly 40 years ago and have not been repeated, or penalized for alleged violations that have no basis in the Constitution. That needs to stop."
According to the Rolling Stone piece a dozen states now have new obstacles to voting that they didn't have in 2008; all in efforts to crack down on an imagined fear of "voter fraud" which is so infrequent it's absurd.
"A major probe by the Justice Department between 2002 and 2007 failed to prosecute a single person for going to the polls and impersonating an eligible voter, which the anti-fraud laws are supposedly designed to stop. Out of the 300 million votes cast in that period, federal prosecutors convicted only 86 people for voter fraud – and many of the cases involved immigrants and former felons who were simply unaware of their ineligibility."
The piece goes on to detail the fraud that is Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach who has manufactured a fear of voter fraud based on fake information and outright lies. When laws are aimed to prevent people from voting, Republicans are right; it dampens Democrats from voting and the GOP wins. Since the GOP can't win on issues, on clean campaigns, or with good candidates they simply must reduce the number of people who are able to vote. When issues like this get taken up by the right-wing the result is a country that is a little less democratic and an electorate that is a little more cynical. How can we possibly work as a world leader to "spread democracy" while we're squashing it at home?
When asked for comment a representative from the Justice Department said “The department is monitoring, as we routinely do, this type of legislative activity in the states.”