Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holder Goes After Voter Suppression

This is a good thing.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Tuesday entered the turbulent political waters of voting rights, signaling that the Justice Department would be aggressive in reviewing new voting laws that civil rights advocates say will dampen minority participation in next year’s elections.

Declaring in a speech that protecting ballot access for all eligible voters “must be viewed not only as a legal issue but as a moral imperative,” Mr. Holder urged Americans to “call on our political parties to resist the temptation to suppress certain votes in the hope of attaining electoral success and, instead, achieve success by appealing to more voters.”


This year, more than a dozen states enacted new voting restrictions. For example, eight — Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin — imposed new laws requiring voters to present state-issued photo identification cards. Previously voters were able to use other forms of identification, like bank statements, utility bills and Social Security cards.

Proponents of such restrictions — mostly Republicans — say they are necessary to prevent voter fraud that could cancel out the choices of legitimate participants. Opponents — mostly Democrats — say there is no evidence of meaningful levels of fraud and contend that the measures are a veiled effort to suppress participation by hundreds of thousands of eligible voters who lack a driver’s license.

The hue and cry about “voter fraud” has been largely shown to be non-existent. It’s clearly an attempt by the Republicans to rig the system to make it harder for the less advantaged, including the poor, the disabled, and the elderly, to vote. They assume that those people are more likely to vote for Democrats. Well, when your platform is basically written for the rich healthy straight white people, that’s what happens.

What I’ve never understood is why the GOP doesn’t just come out and say that they don’t want everyone to vote. It’d be a refreshingly honest admission, and they wouldn’t have to keep coming up with bullshit arguments like “voter fraud” to justify it.


Rachel Maddow has more on voter suppression in Wisconsin.

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