“I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine. Let’s be fair and reasonable.” – Doug Priesse, Ohio Republican Election Official
In the recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll Mitt Romney is getting ZERO PERCENT of the African-American vote and 23 PERCENT of the Hispanic vote. Romney is also losing to the president on the issue of who voters think care more about average people, by 22 PERCENT. So, what is the Republican Party’s solution to this problem, easy, its limit the number of African-American, Hispanic, and working-class voters.
After election debacles in Florida (2000) and Ohio (2004) those states along with many other states enacting bi-partisan election reforms which made it easier for citizens to vote. The most popular change to election laws was early voting. Early voting allows for citizens to vote days and sometimes weeks before an election, during the day, after work, and on weekends. The end result of this law was more people partaking in the election process. In, 2008, African-American, young, Hispanic, and working-class voters utilized early voting to great effect; these voters also tend to vote overwhelmingly democratic. So, in 2010, when Republicans took over many state legislatures they enacted strict voting laws with the sole purpose to limit the number of African-American, Hispanic, young, and working-class voters.
Now, Republicans contend these election laws are needed because it cracks down on “voter fraud”, but multiple reports have found that in-person voter fraud is extremely rare and over the last ten years there have been roughly 250 cases of voter fraud reported, for the ENTIRE COUNTRY! The Brennan Center for Justice came up with this summary on their voter fraud report:
* Fraud by individual voters is both irrational and extremely rare.
* Many vivid anecdotes of purported voter fraud have been proven false or do not demonstrate fraud.
* Voter fraud is often conflated with other forms of election misconduct.
* Raising the unsubstantiated specter of mass voter fraud suits a particular policy agenda.
* Claims of voter fraud should be carefully tested before they become the basis for action.
The Pennsylvania Voter ID law, which is one of the strictest in the country, would require voters to present a state approved photo identification card. A Republican Leader in the Pennsylvania legislature even cited the law as the reason why Mitt Romney will win the state. Benjamin Jealous, President of the NAACP, recently wrote detailing the impact of this law on Pennsylvania voters:
“This month a Pennsylvania judge upheld a strict government voter photo ID requirement that could block nearly 800,000 voters (9 percent of the entire state voting population) from the ballot box on November 6th.
Nationally, strict photo ID laws will have the harshest impact on already marginalized populations. Studies have shown that 25 percent of African-Americans, 16 percent of Hispanics, and 18 percent of individuals over 65 do not even have the documents required to gain the proper photo identification mandated in new voter ID laws.
In Philadelphia alone, over 186,000 registered voters — or 18 percent of people registered in the city — do not have the necessary ID to exercise their right to vote. Coincidentally, Philadelphia’s minority population is the highest in Pennsylvania.”
In Ohio and Florida, Republicans enacted laws that would reduce the number of early voting days and completely eliminated early voting on the Sunday before the election. The Sunday before an election day is known as “Souls to the Polls” day in the African-American community, which is when many African-Americans vote and encourage their family and friends to vote. Nearly 100,000 African-Americans voters utilized early voting in Ohio, a majority of whom voted on the Sunday before the election. As a matter of fact, Ohio has eliminated early voting on weekends, completely. Ohio voters can only vote on weekdays from 8-7.
Florida cut their early voting days in half, from 16 to 8 and only allows for one weekend of early voting. Florida, which has five counties that fall under the 1965 Voting Rights Act had to get approval from the Federal Government to enact the law in those counties. The Federal Government blocked the law in those 5 Florida Counties because they found it would harm minorities the most.
So, instead of proposing policies that would appeal to African-American, Hispanic, young, and working-class voters the Republican Party has instead decided to enact laws that would block their vote.