Since 2010 Voter ID laws have been passed in 17 states. 16 of those states are Republican controlled. The argument of Republicans who have wanted these laws is that the “integrity of the ballot” must be protected. They claim that there is massive in-person voter fraud at the polls.
In the last few weeks, six of these Voter ID laws have fallen. The three most being talked about are the ones in Texas, Wisconsin, and North Carolina. They are the ones being most talked about because they are the ones where the Judges have said openly, that the only purpose was to suppress minority voting.
The court in the North Carolina case actually said that the new “provisions target African-Americans with almost surgical precision”. They went even further by saying “We cannot ignore the record evidence that, because of race, the legislature enacted one of the largest restrictions of the franchise in modern North Carolina history.”
Those are very strong words. One piece of the “record evidence” is the fact that the judges demanded to see the evidence of in-person voter fraud. The state could not provide one case of in-person voter fraud. You read that correctly. Not one case of in-person voter fraud has occurred in North Carolina and therefore the “problem” that this law was supposed to fix doesn’t even exist.
In North Carolina, before the Voting Rights bill was gutted by the Supreme Court, the Voter ID law had a lot of “acceptable” IDs that could be used. In the meantime, the record shows that Republicans asked what types of ID most minorities use and what types white people use. Once the voting Rights bill was gutted, all of the IDs used mostly by minorities were stripped from the ID law.
The judges in Wisconsin were just as adamant about the laws there as well. They called the provisions a “wretched failure”. He went on to say “A preoccupation with mostly phantom election fraud leads to real incidents of disenfranchisement.”
In Wisconsin, the record proof of in-person voter fraud showed one case. That case was a man who voted 14 times for Scott Walker. That tells me that the only possible in-person voter fraud is only happening on the conservative side and not minorities.
Additionally, Wisconsin tried to show that it was being fair. They examined “absentee ballots” and discovered that white people disproportionately used absentee ballots. As a result of minorities not using these ballots, no changes were made to absentee ballots. Proving “targeted” suppression.
Gerrymandering is another problem in our politics. In several states, once Republicans gained control of the legislature, like Wisconsin and Ohio they immediately gerrymandered the districts to ensure they maintain control of the legislatures. In North Carolina, two different primaries had to be held. One for President, and one for everything else.
This wasn’t a logistic problem that caused the two primaries. It was that the court struck down their version of gerrymandering. Several districts had to be redrawn because they created “safe havens” for Republicans while ignoring population numbers.
Because of the gerrymandering of states districts, there are now several states that have minority control. Meaning Republicans control the legislatures. However, in these same states, the overall votes by the electorate was heavily against Republicans. In these states, Democrats received more overall votes than Republicans. So a minority party is in power because of unfair districting to ensure their stranglehold on power.
I also find it “coincidental” which Republicans call “conspiracy theories” when they connect to Democrats, that as these Voter ID laws began to fall, Donald Trump began saying “I am afraid the election is being rigged”. Is this a coincidence or is it the first shots to warn that Republicans will challenge the results of the election should they lose?
In every single instance of these Voter ID laws the courts basically said the same thing. These laws were designed to restrict minorities participating in the election process. They target these groups because they are less likely to vote for conservatives.
All of these cases also proved that the phantom “in-person voter fraud” does not exist. The sides in favor of these laws could not show any “in-person voter fraud” in their states. In other words, they lied! What a surprise.
The good news is that about 26 states now have laws pending that would actually expand the franchise. There are even laws that make it possible to be automatically registered when you reach age 18. Something Republicans have been fighting tooth-and-nail.
There is a very simple fact of the election process in our country. When turnout at the polls is high, Democrats usually win. When turnout at the polls is low, Republicans usually win. That is one reason Republicans do better in “mid-term” elections then Democrats. This has been true for a very long time. It is not something that just popped up recently.
These laws were intended to do nothing but ensure low voter turnout at the polls. Something that helps Republicans. These laws were intended to artificially ensure turnout was low all of the time and to keep minorities from changing the outcome in favor of Democrats.
Before you start yelling about the “liberal” courts striking down these laws, you would be wrong. The case in Texas was heard by the most conservative appellate court in the country. Many of the judges who struck these laws were appointed by George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. That simply means that even conservative judges saw through the smoke screen about these laws.
Yesterday, we saw a mini-revolt against Chairman Brownback in Kansas. His state legislature was fractured when many of his supporters were defeated in the primaries. Kansans told him that his “Republican Utopia” was a failure and they wanted changes. Hopefully, these laws that have been stricken down will help other states do the same.
What a year!