As I wrote yesterday, 2010 has been a rough year for voting-rights advocates. Under the guise of fighting voter fraud, Republicans have exploited their new legislative majorities in the states to pass a slew of bills that will restrict access to the ballot.
When Charles Webster was a member of the Maine House during the 1980s and 1990s, he and his Republican colleagues routinely proposed bills that would create restrictive voting laws -- or, as Webster sees it, legislation to tamp down on the rampant threat of voter fraud. "Every year we tried to solve this problem," he says, "and it was always a partisan vote," with Democrats supporting laws intended to increase turnout. As a result, Webster says, "We have one of the most loosey-goosey, lax election laws in the country."
With the far right wing no longer satisfied by the spotlessness of Rick Perry's conservative record, Herman Cain has begun to rise as an alternative for movement conservatives. He won a decisive first place at the Florida GOP's straw poll two weeks ago, which was followed by a bump in his polls. One survey of national Republicans conducted last week put Cain in third, while, as Jamelle noted earlier, a new poll from this morning has Cain tied with Perry for second.