GOP’s Voter Suppression Efforts Backfire
It was pretty obvious from the beginning that Republicans knew the demographics of the country were not in their favor going into the 2012 presidential campaign. Their voter suppression efforts, especially in swing states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida but also in traditionally blue states like Minnesota, were thinly veiled attempts at ensuring the only people who could possibly make it to the polls were reliable Republicans. And no one knew this better than those who were supposed to be affected by the suppression. Rather than discourage these voters from even showing up at the polls, a major goal of these efforts, these targeted groups were motivated to let their voice be heard more than ever. Many Obama supporters were nervous that minority populations wouldn’t turn out in numbers like they did in 2008, but these voter suppression efforts guaranteed just the opposite.
The voter suppression measures, like extending early voting for GOP districts while limiting it for Democratic districts, lit a fire underneath the possible disenfranchised. Our Electoral team at the Campaign for Community Change and partners registered 78,082 new voters this cycle, shattering goals as well as pundits’ expectations of a less enthusiastic Democratic base.
In one of the strongest symbols of solidarity against these efforts, Florida residents waited in line to vote even after networks were calling the election for President Obama. They recognized everyone should have a voice in the decisions that affect our lives and be fully engaged in our democracy. Hopefully Republican lawmakers learned their lesson and will think twice before attempting to silence Americans not likely to vote for them, because all it ended up doing is waking a sleeping giant.