Republicans have closed access to the ballot for millions of Americans all in the name combating voter fraud, largely a fairy-tale threat drummed up by Fox News in the wake of ACORN.
With model legislation provided by the America Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the new wave of Republican state legislatures elected in the 2010 midterms proposed a series of similar bills across the country. Some states, like North Carolina, still had Democratic governors to veto the legislation, and in others such as Maine, the voters turned against the new bills.
But for the most part, the bills were passed with little notice until quite recently. Democratic politicians have finally woken up to Republicans' rank electioneering, though, and are beginning to fight back. There have been a series of hearings on the Hill, and the DCCC has announced a voter-protection initiative to fight back against voter-ID laws next fall.
Yesterday, the DNC launched a flashy website alongside an extensive report. There isn't much new information in the report, but it distills the extensive threat from the new laws and fact-checks Republican claims of voter fraud. For example, RNC Chair Reince Priebus alleged that 5,000 noncitizens voted in Colorado's closely contested senate race last fall, but the DNC's report looks at the basis for that claim and notes that the original speculation Priebus referenced had no investigation backing it up. So if there isn't a widespread threat of voter fraud, just why are Republicans pursuing this regulation? This handy chart tells the full story:
For the record, studies have shown that these are the groups who will be shut out from the electoral process thanks to these restrictive laws: 18 percent of younger citizens, 19 percent of Hispanics, and 25 percent of African Americans lack the government photo-ID required by the new laws.