Republicans have had chance after to chance to prove that voter impersonation is a problem worthy of burdensome new government regulations. And they’ve failed again and again.
There’s a simple explanation for this: Voter impersonation isn’t a problem worthy of burdensome new government regulations.
There have been one billion votes cast since 2000, The Nation‘s Ari Berman pointed out in this weekend’s excellent episode of Moyers & Company, and only 31 cases of voter impersonation. Berman was the first to reveal the GOP’s War on Voting and has documented how the right has been aiming to gut the Voting Rights Act for decades.
A federal judge called Texas’ Voter ID law “a poll tax” and because of the various steps a citizen must take to get the proper ID, it’s a poll tax that was far more expensive than the ones ruled illegal in the 1960s, Jill Lawrence pointed out.
The only proof Republicans have that voter ID laws are needed is that Republicans lose elections.
It’s no coincidence that the voter ID laws began to become an obsession for the GOP right after Republicans lost control of the control of Congress and a contentious immigration reform debate began. The election of Barack Obama with the overwhelming support of the “Coalition of the Ascendant” — young people, LGBT* and minorities — led the GOP screaming that ACORN had stolen the election by helping poor people vote. After the GOP landslide of 2010, 22 Republican-led states have put new voting restrictions in place.
What was it about a Republican landslide that made the right believe rampant voting fraud had taken place?
Nothing, of course. They were just preparing for a presidential year election when millions more of “those people” show up to vote.
Republicans argue that these laws do not depress the vote. If that’s true, what fraud were they stopping? The point, they argue, is to have a “more informed” electorate who has time to drive 150 miles to a DMV on a workday. Ultimately, The Atlantic‘s Peter Beinhart points out, it’s an argument against poor people voting.
That’s a generous assessment of the GOP’s agenda. Voter suppression is inexorable in the United States from our history of white supremacism.
Texas voter ID law was blocked in 2012 under the now-gutted pre-clearance section of the Voting Rights Act because it disproportionately punished minority voters — for no good reason. The notion that non-white votes are illegitimate is as old as black men being able to vote, as Slate‘s Jamelle Bouie has pointed out. And Texas’ history of stopping African-Americans from voting began as soon as the Civil War ended.
You don’t need a degree in Ethnic Studies to figure out what is being implied here:
Speaker @ Waukesha GOP rally: “We’ve gotta get past the margin of fraud. They’re dragging people to the polls offering them BBQ and smokes.”
— daveweigel (@daveweigel) October 25, 2014
Republicans expect to win the Senate this year because they probably should win the Senate this year.
Every single advantage that could exist favors the GOP this year. They only need to win seats in states Mitt Romney won as he was getting clobbered.
Democrats’ only hopes are three: 1) The GOP is still incredibly unpopular; 2) there’s a general anti-incumbent sentiment that could disrupt any hopes of a GOP wave and 3) Democrats have spent tens of millions of dollars trying to get the “Coalition of the Ascendant” out to vote in an election they would normally sit out.
And Democrats have a real-yet-not-so-promising chance of pulling it out:
No one expected that Republicans might lose seats in Kansas, Georgia AND Kentucky — but they easily could.
Democrats trail in Iowa and Colorado and have a slight edge in North Carolina. Early voting in Iowa and North Carolina suggests that voters who stayed home in 2010 are being activated.
Colorado is a true wild card. Mark Udall is one of the true good guys in the Senate who has been a fierce defender of civil liberties and women’s rights. He has been hurt by the president’s delay in announcing new deportation delays and is running against a far right Republican who knows how to play moderate on TV. Still Udall trails by 1-3 percent, which is smaller than the 5 percent poll deficit Democrat Michael Bennett had when he won in 2010.
This year, for the first time ever, Colorado has mail-in voting — meaning the electorate could be as large it has been in presidential years when the state has continually gone blue.
The right is making a preemptive strike against the legitimacy of Colorado’s election with James O’Keefe proving he’s very capable of committing voting fraud and internment-camp defender Michelle Malkin lying about how easy it is to cheat.
But there may be some real fraud going on this year — by Republicans in Georgia.
Left-leaning groups have completed a massive voter registration drive in the state and have serious fears the Republican Secretary of State has failed to process up to 50,000 of the registrations. Because the real problem is we’ll have too many of “those people” voting.
Republicans should prevail on November 4. If they don’t, you shouldn’t expect them to accept defeat graciously. Instead it will only justify their war to restore the barriers to voting that characterized the worst of America’s history.
Image by SnowFire.
Watch Moyers & Company on “The Fight — and the Right — to Vote”: