In an interview with a conservative radio host, Nevada Assembly Minority Leader Pat Hickey (R) predicted big GOP wins next year because people of color and younger voters will not turn out. According to Hickey, “we have some real opportunities in 2014”:
This is a great year in an off presidential election. No, seemingly no Democrat on the top of the ticket against Sandoval. No Harry Reid. Probably where we had a million voters turn out in 2012 we’ll have like 700,000. A lot of minorities, a lot of younger people will not turn out in an non-presidential year. It’s a great year for Republicans.
Though the GOP’s ability to suppress the minority vote is limited in Nevada, where Democrats control both houses of the state legislature, their behavior in other states raises concerns that they are trying to engineer the kind of low turnout that Hickey touts. Voter ID laws, which Republican lawmakers frequently tout as the solution to the virtually non-existent problem of in-person voter fraud, disproportionately affect student and minority voters — both of which are groups that are likely to vote for Democrats. Similarly, in the lead up to the 2012 elections, Republicans pushed reduced early voting, restrictions on voter registration and voter purges, all of which would have also had a disproportionate impact on people of color or low-income voters that tend to oppose Republican candidates. Indeed, one Florida Republican admitted that his party targeted early voting on the Sunday before Election Day “only because that’s a big day when the black churches organize themselves.”
Meanwhile, the five Republicans on the Supreme Court gave an assist to many of these voter suppression efforts when they struck down a key prong of the Voting Rights Act last summer. Although that decision will not impact Nevada, which was not covered by the Voting Rights Act’s “preclearance” requirement, Republicans in other states announced plans to move forward with voter suppression laws within hours of the Supreme Court’s decision.