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Rig the Vote

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This supposedly is to prevent in-person voter fraud although the GOP has failed utterly to provide examples of in-person voter fraud. That’s because most states already have a fail-safe. They require election officials to verify a potential voter’s identity by matching his or her registration signature with a signature on Election Day.

The Brennan Center for Justice has noted that studies show 11 percent of eligible voters may not have the specific government-issued photo ID required, and that the percentage is higher among seniors and students and among people of color, with disabilities and with low incomes. These are people who tend to vote Democrat. Disqualify them, and Republican votes count more.

Similarly, Republicans have gone the extra mile to make it more difficult to vote, stopping same-day registration and curtailing early voting days. Republican lawmakers in Montana voted Feb. 1 to end same-day registration. In Maine, Republicans tried for three decades to end same-day registration, and as soon as they took control of the legislature and governor’s office in 2011, they did. The majority of Maine residents showed how they felt about that by immediately restoring same-day registration in a referendum vote.

Cutting back early voting days, as Florida did, lengthened waiting times, and studies showed that those most affected by long lines tended to be Democrats. Among them was Desiline Victor, a 102-year-old North Miami woman, who waited in line for more than three hours to cast her ballot for President Obama.

She succeeded, but the lines defeated others. It’s estimated that 200,000 potential voters in Florida, which had the longest lines, gave up. A New York Times/CBS News poll found 18 percent of Democrats waited at least a half-hour compared with 11 percent of independents and 9 percent of Republicans.

President Obama says that’s unconscionable. He invited Desiline Victor to his State of the Union address to make the point that voting is a fundamental right in a democracy and must be protected. He said forcing citizens to wait in line for hours “betrays our ideals” and announced formation of a nonpartisan commission to fix the problems.

Its first order of business: Persuade the GOP that vote rigging is unconstitutional and un-American. To be a beacon of democracy for the world, America must Rock the Vote.