“The War On Voting”

Posted by | September 3, 2011 09:59 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

Normally I don’t copy the title of the article I am citing but I really couldn’t improve on Ari Berman’s “War on Voting.”  The He describes the systematic attempts by Republicans across the country to make it harder for people to vote.

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.” But since the 2010 election, thanks to a conservative advocacy group founded by Weyrich, the GOP’s effort to disrupt voting rights has been more widespread and effective than ever. In a systematic campaign orchestrated by the American Legislative Exchange Council – and funded in part by David and Charles Koch, the billionaire brothers who bankrolled the Tea Party – 38 states introduced legislation this year designed to impede voters at every step of the electoral process.

All told, a dozen states have approved new obstacles to voting.

There is one reason to dampen votes, you don’t think you can win if everyone gets to vote (and the voter fraud claims are crap).  And there is considerable evidence that the Republicans do have something to fear.  They’ve lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections and the electorate is getting younger and has a greater proportion of minorities (before long, a majority).  In fact, one has to think that voter suppression is the only way Republicans can win a national election.  History does not look kindly on such efforts.  Just ask those who opposed women’s suffrage or imposed the poll tax.

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Copyright 2011 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.

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