Stoking yet another false right-wing meme which proclaims that voter fraud is rampant in this country, Republican majorities in 22 statehouses across the country, have moved to enact laws which dramatically restrict the voting rights of college students, rural voters, senior citizens, the disabled and the homeless…in other words, of the young and the poor, both constituencies which tend to vote Democratic. Think Progress, emphasis mine:
As part of their larger effort to silence Main Street, conservatives are pushing through new photo identification laws that would exclude millions from voting, depress Hispanic voter turnout by as much as 10 percent, and cost taxpayers millions of dollars. In the next few months, a new set of election laws could make going to the polls and registering to vote significantly more difficult — in some cases even barring groups of citizens from voting in the communities where they live.
Conservative legislators across the country have said these laws are necessary to combat alleged mass voter fraud. But these fears are completely overblown and states already have tough voting laws on the books: fraudulent voters face felony charges, hefty fines, and even lengthy prison time.
Think Progress goes on to report on 8 of the states attempting to enact these restrictive voter id laws, so be sure to read the full article.
Meanwhile, on March 24th, the state of Ohio passed the most restrictive voter id legislation in the nation, disenfranchising as many as 900, 000 Ohioans
In just eight days, House Republicans hustled through HB 159, a bill that would require voters to show one of five forms of ID to vote in person: an Ohio driver’s license, state ID, military ID, U.S. passport, or “a new, free photo ID that State Bureau of Motor Vehicles would dispense to indigent citizens who qualify.” Currently, voters must show a photo ID or present a utility bill, bank statement, paycheck or government document with a current name and address. Unlike other states’ photo ID laws, HB 159 would not even allow students to use IDs issued by state colleges.
The bill sponsor, state Rep. Bob Mecklenborg (R) “said the bill is necessary to combat voter fraud and the perception of fraud.” But after failing to produce any actual evidence of such voter fraud, Meklenborg defended his theory with the inexorable proof that “I believe it happens” and “it’s impossible to prove a negative”:
While Republicans produced no evidence of voter fraud from impersonation, Mecklenborg and other GOP leaders say they believe it is going on unreported. “I believe it happens, but it’s proving a negative,” Mecklenborg told reporters after the vote. “It’s impossible to prove a negative. How do you prove that fraud doesn’t exist there?”
However, Cuyahoga County Board of Elections head Jane Platten, a Democrat, said she has never seen a case of voter impersonation in the seven years she has been with the local elections board.
I am beginning to wonder if the U.S. will survive the right-wing as a democracy with out a full blown civil war. Hyperbole? Maybe. But I don’t think so.