This year, Republican legislatures and governors have have advanced legislation in at least 35 states that could make it harder for millions of people—particularly the young, the poor, the elderly, and minorities—to cast a ballot in the 2012 election. It’s been, in short, what the New York Times calls “a record year for new legislation designed to make it harder for Democrats to vote.”
Publicly, Republicans will tell you that these measures will prevent voter fraud and save money. But the problem, the New York Times notes in an editorial today, is that voter fraud in this country is almost nonexistent. That’s the real fraud:
“None of these explanations are true. There is almost no voting fraud in America. And none of the lawmakers who claim there is have ever been able to document any but the most isolated cases. The only reason Republicans are passing these laws is to give themselves a political edge by suppressing Democratic votes. …
“Other states are beginning to require documentary proof of citizenship to vote, or are finding other ways to make it harder to register. Some are cutting back on programs allowing early voting, or imposing new restrictions on absentee ballots, alarmed that early voting was popular among black voters supporting Barack Obama in 2008. In all cases, they are abusing the trust placed in them by twisting democracy’s machinery to partisan ends.”
Read more of the editorial at the New York Times.