Civil rights leaders across the country have called this effort what it truly is, a thinly veiled attempt at disenfranchising low income and minority groups; in other words, people far more likely to vote for President Obama’s reelection. While Republican governors can try to defend these efforts as a protection from fraud, this argument falls apart upon the results of every single study ever done to investigate fraud. These countless exhaustive searches have found such a statistically insignificant percentage of people voting illegally that it cannot reasonably be considered a problem in need of legislative action. Proponents for these laws like to play into a fear element with their attempts to sell this idea to the public, saying that there could be much more fraud than we’ve found but we just have no idea of detecting how much. This claim is foolish and misleading. The punishment for voting is high while the payoff for getting away with it is extremely low.
In 2008, President Obama benefited largely from minority groups. This wasn’t a surprise as a Democratic candidate, but as the first African American national candidate for President, the majorities he held over these groups were much greater than any other year. This time around, as many of the swing states he carried the first time around are tied up, Republicans are doing everything they can to discourage low income and minority groups from even registering to vote. While the recent voter purge in Florida, one of the most prized swing states, has rendered its Republican governor Rick Scott abysmal poll numbers, it has also succeeded in confusing the electorate about whether or not they are eligible to vote.
This country was built on the democratic values of free and fair elections, and by scaring the voting population on their voting rights and forcing them to obtain documents outside the scope of reason or fiscal ability for some, this ideal has been lost. Attorney General Eric Holder was right on the money when he likened this push to the Jim Crow era poll taxes during his speech at the NAACP Convention. It’s time we all call out these Republican governors for what they are really doing: preventing anyone they presume to not vote Republican from exercising their most inherent civic duty of voting.