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11 States Trying Really Hard to Keep Poor, Black, and Student Voters From Voting

The 2012 election is closer than you think--and just in time, states are passing a host of new bills aimed at making it harder to vote.

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And his birth certificate obsession extends to the president—or at least, to  making birther jokes on the campaign trail.

Maddow pointed out that many people register to vote when they run across a voter registration drive out in public, or in other grassroots registration drives, which will become nearly impossible. State Rep. Ann Mah told Maddow that the law will be challenged and that it has “holes in it big enough to drive a truck through.”


2. Wisconsin

Scott Walker's credited with kicking off the backlash to the 2010 crop of Republican governors. Six of his Republican state senators are facing recall votes, and it's practically certain that he'll face recall himself. So naturally, targeting voters is his next move.

Meredith Clark called Walker's voter suppression bill his “evil genius masterpiece,” and it's easy to see why.  The bill changes the residency requirement from 10 days to 28 days before the election (effective immediately), shortens early voting (also effective immediately), enacts a strict photo ID requirement as of 2012 that will require state overhaul of student ID as well as requiring extra proof of residency from students, and just to make things more confusing, requires poll workers to start asking for ID right away, even though it's not required until 2012.

Clark noted:

According to a University of Milwaukee  study, non-white Wisconsin voters are far less likely to have a valid driver’s license than white voters, and nearly a quarter of voters older than 65 lack one. This means thousands of elderly and men and women of color will be required to pay for new identification cards before they will be allowed to exercise their right to vote. There are four times as many people of color living in poverty as there are white people. Democratic State Senator Lena Taylor called it a poll tax, and she’s right.

Along with the six Republicans who ran as Democrats in the recall elections last week (all defeated), Walker's attacks on voting rights will ensure that the upcoming election seasons in Wisconsin will be full of dirty tricks.

3. Florida

Oh, Florida. The ground zero of voter suppression—and if Governor Rick Scott and the state's Republicans have their way, it'll stay that way.

Former President Bill Clinton turned his wrath Rick Scott's way over one provision, that imposes a five-year waiting period for ex-prisoners to get their voting rights back. "Why should we disenfranchise people forever once they've paid their price? Because most of them in Florida were African Americans and Hispanics who would tend to vote for Democrats, that's why,"  he said.

Scott's bill requires outside groups who register voters to register their volunteers with the state and face fines if they don't turn in ballots within 48 hours—the League of Women Voters says it'll  shut down voter registration activity.

It cuts down early voting from 15 days to eight—this after the 2008 election saw  more than half of all votes in Florida cast early or by absentee ballot.

Cristina Francisco-McGuire of the  Progressive States Network noted of 2008:

Then-Governor Crist actually extended the early voting hours after  millions of people lined up to vote early, some waiting  hours to cast their ballots. Though many wanted to avoid the long lines and other debacles that notoriously characterized the 2004 elections, Obama's ground operation in the state  encouraged early voting by bringing movie stars like Matt Damon into Tampa for early-voter rallies and holding drum-line marches in Miami's predominantly black communities.  Overall, 1.1 million African American voters cast ballots in the state, and 96% of those votes went to Obama. Obama won the state by a margin of less than 240,000 votes, thanks in part to the  54% of African American voters who cast a ballot at early voting sites.