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The power of voter suppression

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Who votes is just as significant and who doesn’t, which is why so many Republican-controlled states have focused on voter suppression laws like a laser.

The New York Times Editorial Board writes:

Republican lawmakers who work to impose higher bars to voting — either through proof-of-citizenship or voter ID laws — are well aware that many of those otherwise-eligible voters who struggle to come up with the required documents, which include a birth certificate, passport or driver’s license, are more likely to vote Democratic. Sometimes they even say it out loud, as Mike Turzai, the majority leader in the Pennsylvania statehouse, did in 2012 when he bragged that the state’s voter ID law was going to “allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”

Data mining election patterns shows how and when Americans vote. That data can then be used to create new laws that effectively stop people from voting if the data suggests they may vote for a particular party.

There is nothing fair or democratic about limiting access to voting booths. In some cases, the courts have ruled that it’s illegal. But it can still influence the outcome of elections, so for Republicans, voter suppression is a worthwhile endeavor.

Republicans needed a way to sell their voter suppression efforts to the public, so they created a “solution” for a problem that didn’t exist and filled the airwaves with fear of the non-existent problem. They called it widespread voter fraud, despite the fact that there was no data to back those claims up.

More than 3 years after Republican attacks on voting rights accelerated, there are still Americans who are unaware of the fact that claims of widespread in-person voter fraud are fictional.

Judge Richard A. Posner of the US Court of Appeals said he regretted upholding one such voter ID law in Indiana in 2008. As noted in his book, “Reflection on Judging,” Posner said his decision was wrong, and that he now realizes that voter ID laws are nothing more than a political vehicle to take away the right to vote from targeted groups of voters.

Author’s note: The opinions and commentary included in this report are based on the author’s original reporting and independent analysis of official documents and public information.

Follow me on Twitter @itobin53

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