Victories Against GOP Voter Suppression Efforts
Republicans have been on an all-out crusade against voting ever since they took control of numerous state legislatures in 2011. Here’s a map of where voting rights have come under attack:
The good news is that there has also been a multi-pronged effort to push back against restrictive voting laws:
And, in even better news, the pushback is working. Progressives achieved a tremendous victory today in Pennsylvania. A judge blocked most of Pennsylvania’s onerous voter ID law — for now. While the law remains on the books and voters will still be asked to present IDs, if they don’t have an ID they will still be allowed to vote on the voting machines like any other voter. (They may otherwise have been forced to cast provisional ballots which may never have been counted.) If the judge had not extended the transition period for voting without an ID, hundreds of thousands of eligible Pennsylvania voters could have been disenfranchised on Election Day.
The Nation’s Ari Berman provides a round-up of our other victories in the GOP War on Voting:
Voter ID Laws: Courts have nullified voter ID laws in Wisconsin and Texas (and, for now, in Pennsylvania), and a voter ID ballot initiative in Missouri. South Carolina’s law is blocked pending federal approval under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
Voter Registration: A federal court overturned Florida’s restrictions on voter registration drives for violating the First Amendment. Voters in Maine also repealed a ban on Election Day voter registration.
Early Voting: After public outcry, the Ohio legislature repealed its own legislation cutting back on early voting days, but kept a ban on three days of early voting before the election, which a state court subsequently overturned (Ohio is appealing). A federal court blocked early voting limits in Florida in five counties covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act for discriminating against African-American voters.
Voter Purges: A district court in Iowa blocked an attempt by Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz to purge so-called “non-citizen” voters from the rolls.
Student Voting: A New Hampshire court ruled that students do not have to register their car in the state in order to cast a ballot.
Provisional Ballots: An Ohio judge ruled that provisional ballots mistakenly cast in the wrong precinct must be counted.
Finally, in other voting news, the Republican National Committee and several state Republican parties in swing states are in hot water after their voter registration consultant — a GOP operative with a known history of questionable practices — was found to have turned in fraudulent voter registration forms in at least 10 Florida counties and perhaps elsewhere. The GOP has cut ties with the firm, leaving the GOP with no mass voter registration campaign in battleground during the key final weeks to register voters before pre-election deadlines.
BOTTOM LINE: Despite their best efforts to restrict voting, it looks like voters will be spared the worst of new GOP voter suppression laws — this November anyway.
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