3 Ways GOP Will Double-Down on Its War On Voters in 2013
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3. The Blame Game Continues
As Public Policy Polling found in early December, Republicans are “not handling the election results well,” with 49 percent believing that a defunct anti-poverty coalition, ACORN, was responsible for stealing the 2012 election for Obama. We could say that deeply mistaken conclusion comes from too many people watching Fox News, but it is probably more accurate to say that a good many Republicans don’t trust non-white voters. A recent commentary by boomer rocker Ted Nugent says that people on welfare should lose their voting rights, suggesting certain anti-democratic attitudes run deep.
In Florida, one of several presidential swing states where thousands of voters waited for hours to cast a ballot, the state’s extremely Republican secretary of state is leading what he says will be an inquiry into what caused the long lines. It’s doubtful that he will identify numerous changes proposed by the GOP and enacted into law in recent years, such as limiting the number of early voting sites. Florida’s Democrats have vowed to keep the issue alive and put the blame back on the GOP as they push for reforms.
And in Virginia, Mark Cole, the Republican chairman of the House Privileges and Elections Committee, has proposed a bill he says will combat possible voter fraud by limiting the forms of ID that voters can show at the polls to get a ballot. Under the Holder Justice Department and federal Voting Rights Act, the state agreed to add current utility bills, bank statements, government checks or pay stubs that show a person’s address to a package of 2012 voting law changes, the Roanoke Times pointed out in an editorial criticizing Cole’s pre-filed bill for the 2013 General Assembly.
Stepping back, the big picture as the dust settles on the 2012 election is that little seems to be changing. The GOP still doesn’t want every eligible voter to cast a ballot and is taking steps to create new barriers. Democrats are pushing back on new Republican proposals, but after being swept in the 2010 midterms, may not have the votes in state legislatures to stop them. Meanwhile, new and restrictive laws that were suspended during the 2012 cycle are returning to court—or being challenged anew at the U.S. Supreme Court.
Telling likely Democratic voters that the GOP doesn’t want you to vote may have been a good get-out-the-vote strategy in 2012. But it’s hardly a sign that civil rights are growing in America 50 years after the heyday of the voting rights movement.