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Republican Controlled States Making It Harder For Democrats To Vote

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Republicans are continuing a pattern of making it harder for Democrat-leaning groups to vote.

NYT (“New G.O.P. Bid to Limit Voting in Swing States“):

Pivotal swing states under Republican control are embracing significant new electoral restrictions on registering and voting that go beyond the voter identification requirements that have caused fierce partisan brawls.

The bills, laws and administrative rules — some of them tried before — shake up fundamental components of state election systems, including the days and times polls are open and the locations where people vote.

Republicans in Ohio and Wisconsin this winter pushed through measures limiting the time polls are open, in particular cutting into weekend voting favored by low-income voters and blacks, who sometimes caravan from churches to polls on the Sunday before election.

Democrats in North Carolina are scrambling to fight back against the nation’s most restrictive voting laws, passed by Republicans there last year. The measures, taken together, sharply reduce the number of early voting days and establish rules that make it more difficult for people to register to vote, cast provisional ballots or, in a few cases, vote absentee.

In all, nine states have passed measures making it harder to vote since the beginning of 2013. Most have to do with voter ID laws. Other states are considering mandating proof of citizenship, like a birth certificate or a passport, after a federal court judge recently upheld such laws passed in Arizona and Kansas. Because many poor people do not have either and because documents can take time and money to obtain, Democrats say the ruling makes it far more difficult for people to register.

Voting experts say the impact of the measures on voter turnout remains unclear. Many of the measures have yet to take effect, and a few will not start until 2016. But at a time when Democrats are on the defensive over the Affordable Care Act and are being significantly outspent by conservative donors like the Koch brothers, the changes pose another potential hurdle for Democratic candidates this year.

Republicans defend the measures, saying Democrats are overstating their impact for partisan reasons. The new rules, Republicans say, help prevent fraud, save money and bring greater uniformity to a patchwork election system.

“We think they’re stoking these things for political gain,” said Alex M. Triantafilou, the chairman of the Hamilton County Republican Party in Ohio. “We think there’s an effort here to rally the Democratic base in a year that they otherwise wouldn’t be rallying.”

Democrats and other critics of the laws say that in the face of shifting demographics, Republicans are trying to alter the rules and shape the electorate in their favor. Those most affected by the restrictions are minorities and the urban poor, who tend to vote Democratic.

Let’s stipulate that there can be multiple, overlapping motivations for rules changes. For example, while the evidence for the sort of voter fraud that could be stopped by showing ID cards and birth certificates is virtually non-existent, these restrictions are actually quite popular with the electorate. And there are both philosophical and fiscal reasons to support having a single Election Day or at least a compressed election period rather than a long polling period.

Indeed, there’s a gut-level appeal to the “uniformity” and “fairness” arguments behind some of the recent measures:

Last year, the Supreme Court struck down a central provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The decision allowed a number of mostly Southern states to alter their election laws without the prior approval once required from the Justice Department. A few weeks later, free of the mandate and emboldened by a Republican supermajority, North Carolina passed the country’s most sweeping restrictions on voting.

The law did away with same-day voter registration and a popular program to preregister high school students to vote. It cut early voting to 10 days from 17, mandated a strict photo identification requirement that excluded student and state worker IDs and ended straight-ticket party voting, all of them measures that are expected to hurt Democrats, election law analysts said. The Supreme Court decision also cleared the way for Texas to institute its strict photo identification requirements.

In February, the Ohio legislature moved to reduce early voting by one week, do away with registering and voting on the same day prior to Election Day, and place new restrictions on absentee ballot application mailings. And a little over a week ago, the Wisconsin Legislature sent a bill to Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, to shorten early voting, including cutting it altogether on weekend days.

In so doing, Republicans in these states shifted their strategy away from concerns over fraud, which have proved largely unfounded, to a new rationale that suggests fairness: uniformity.

Republican lawmakers and election officials argue that to avoid voter confusion and litigation urban and rural counties should follow the same rules.

In Ohio, the hodgepodge of rules raised concerns in both parties. Some urban counties had large enough budgets to send out absentee ballot applications and some smaller rural ones did not, election board directors said. Early voting hours also varied.

“Every voter should have an equal opportunity to vote under the same set of rules,” said Ohio’s secretary of state, Jon A. Husted, a Republican.

In addition, Gov. John R. Kasich, a Republican, signed a measure that cut “Golden Week,” during which voters could register and vote on the same day, over concerns about potential fraud. He also signed a measure that shifts the responsibility of automatically mailing absentee ballot applications to the secretary of state, instead of counties. The law leaves it up to the Legislature to finance the process, which until now was paid for by counties.

There’s an emotionally satisfying argument to be made for all of these measures. But, of course, there are pretty strong counterarguments to the notion that sparsely populated rural areas and densely packed urban areas should operate under identical rules. How to balance the perfectly reasonable goals of the appearance of equality with the practicalities of giving people a reasonable opportunity to vote is a legitimate debate.

That said, the pattern of states and localities where Republicans control the rule making enacting election rules that just so happen to disadvantage the demographic groups most inclined to vote for Democrats is too consistent and widespread to ignore. That the Republican party is increasingly reliant on older white voters makes these moves seem to be a rather transparent means of eking out a few more wins while they still can.

Are states controlled by Democrats altering the rules in ways that benefit their party, too? You bet.

As the battle over voting laws escalates, Democrats are intensifying their own efforts to make voting more accessible. Richard L. Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California, Irvine, said Democrats had their own partisan agendas for doing so since an expanded electorate would benefit mostly Democrats.

“It’s not just out of the goodness of their own hearts they are doing this,” he said.

In the last year Democrats have made a concerted effort to make it easier for people to sign up to vote, including online, and to cast their votes. This push has been most effective in Democratic-controlled states like California, Colorado and Maryland. But even other states, like Arizona and Kansas, have instituted online registration.

But, rather obviously, there’s a difference here: one side is working to make it harder for their opponents to vote while the other is working to make it easier for their supporters to vote. Those aren’t equivalent.

It’s possible, I suppose, to take expanding the voting pool too far. Efforts to make it easier for non-citizens to vote, for example, would be suspect. Removing restrictions on prisoner, or even convicted felon, voting would reasonably be controversial. But simply expanding polling hours or simplifying the registration process with the goal of making it easier for those paid by the hour to cast their ballot are rather hard to paint as sinister. Making it more difficult, especially when do so redounds almost exclusively to the benefit of your political party, not so much.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Dave Schuler says:

    You know, all of the problems that Republicans seem to be worried about plus a lot more could be solved with a national ID.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  2. Mu says:

    They know the demographic wave is going to wipe the table clean of the GoP in the next 10 years or so. They’re just trying to tease one more election cycle out of it.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 6

  3. Just Me says:

    I am in favor of a single day to vote but think it should be Saturday and not Tuesday.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  4. Stan says:

    It’s time for a poll tax. Or maybe constitutional questions about the fourth amendment. It’s deja vu all over again, and this time there’s no Earl Warren on the supreme court.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8

  5. Davebo says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    That would be an excellent solution if all of the problems Republicans are concerned about actually existed.

    Do we really want to create a National ID for the sole purpose of easing the minds of delusional people?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 34 Thumb down 3

  6. Tillman says:

    @Just Me: If you’re going to make it a Tuesday (out of tradition perhaps), make it a national holiday.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

  7. PJ says:

    Republicans are continuing a pattern of making it harder for Democrat-leaning groups to vote.

    The GOP Minority Outreach Program continues!

    The more votes of Democratic and Democratic leaning minorities that get suppressed, the higher the share of Republican voters among minorities! Ergo success!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 5

  8. Tillman says:

    The new rules, Republicans say, help prevent fraud, save money and bring greater uniformity to a patchwork election system.

    Prevent fraud: there is next to none, certainly not enough to sway electoral outcomes in anything but the smallest parishes.
    Save money: Granted, but there are others ways to save money in the election system that wouldn’t effectively disenfranchise voters. Unfortunately, they involve national ID cards, something Republicans would probably object to on states’ rights grounds.
    Electoral uniformity: The “patchwork” system they complain about is a further outgrowth of some of the Founders’ ideas about factional government. With so many conflicting rules in one region versus another, it makes tyranny much harder to put in place while also eliminating the possibility of fraud being too widespread. Further, the effective solutions that save money and address their concerns are ones they would find abhorrent (again, national ID cards).

    It’s possible, I suppose, to take expanding the voting pool too far.

    Oh certainly. I balk at the idea of online registration in any form. Then again, I was a beneficiary of the NC program (recently removed for no damn reason) that registered students to vote in high school, which encouraged civic participation and worked beautifully. It was done in a civics class you took your senior year, right around when people started talking about the real world or college.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

  9. superdestroyer says:

    @Just Me:

    But then the real question is how will the U.S. function as a one party state and how will politics work when the general election is no longer relevant. Also, while the Democrats are making it easier to vote in the general election, they are generally making it harder to vote in the Democratic primaries. The most current example if that the real eleciton for mayor in the District of Columiba will be the April 1st Democratic primary. Since most of the white 20 somethings who live in the District of Columbia are registered indepdents, they will have zero say in who will be mayor.

    Of course, it one party states like Maryland, Califronia, or Illinois, it does not really matter who votes and who does not vote.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 23

  10. rudderpedals says:

    Fix lots of these anti-voting tactics with rolls of stamps and absentee ballots. Bonus: Absentee ballots are more difficult to fake than the numbers coming out of the voting machines.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  11. superdestroyer says:

    @Davebo:

    I doubt if identity theft is a non-existent problem. Many of the poor do not have proof of identities nore do they manage their identities because they are avoiding interacting with the criminal justice system, other governmental agencies, or debt collectors. In the future, people need to take more responsibility for managing their identity yet the Democrats do not want them to do it.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 26

  12. Tillman says:

    @superdestroyer:

    But then the real question is how will the U.S. function as a one party state and how will politics work when the general election is no longer relevant.

    No, it’s not. No one is asking that question.

    @superdestroyer: Identity theft is for stealing your credit card numbers, not your vote. If thieves have your money they could care less about your civic responsibilities. They’re certainly not out for your civic duty to serve on a jury.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 1

  13. PJ says:

    @Tillman:

    If you’re going to make it a Tuesday (out of tradition perhaps), make it a national holiday.

    And then Republican states would move as many of their elections as possible to off years…

    But yeah, move MLK Day to the Tuesday after the first Monday in November and make it the first national holiday.

    The problem with that is, among other things, the 10th Amendment…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  14. jukeboxgrad says:

    Republicans are continuing a pattern of making it harder for Democrat-leaning groups to vote.

    The GOP hates democracy. They like it better when fewer people vote:

    Many of our Christians have what I call the “goo goo” syndrome. Good Government. They want everybody to vote. I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people. They never have been from the beginning of our country, and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.

    Paul Weyrich, major conservative thinker, co-founder of the Heritage Foundation. Link, link.

    My apologies to those who have seen this before.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 4

  15. Davebo says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Got it. Poor people are thieves with lousy credit ratings yet amazingly they don’t pay enough attention to protecting their identity.

    It’s truly a dizzying planet you live on SuperDestroyer.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  16. superdestroyer says:

    @Tillman:

    However, as the demographics of the U.S. change and the number of automatic Democratic Party voters goes well above 50% of the registered voters, then the U.S. will be a one party state. Then there will be no point in worrying about long voting periods and voter registration because the general election will be moot.

    How does voting differ between the party primaries and the general election. If the Democratic Party is the actually election and the general election is moot, then how the primary works is the most important.

    In the long run, there is no way the Republicans can stay relevant no matter how much the try to mess with voting rules. All the restrictions seem to do is encourage more blacks to vote. If voting restrictions are meant to help Republicans, it has been a massive failure.

    AS the article indicates, the Democrats will eventually become dominant in Ohio, Wisconsin, and North Carolina. However, there is nothing the Republicans can do to be competitive in California, Maryland, or Illinois. Is would seem that thining about the one party state at the national level would be more important that worrying about poll hours in Ohio. But as usually, the small issues seem to draw more attention because they are easy to grasp and easier to gain social status with.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 8

  17. superdestroyer says:

    @Davebo:

    At least I assume that the poor, black, and Hispanics are actually capable of managing their identities if they wanted to do it instead of being like Democrats who operate from the POV that blacks and Hispanics are incapable of completing government paperwork or getting a copy of their birth certificate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 13

  18. Tillman says:

    @superdestroyer:

    However, as the demographics of the U.S. change and the number of automatic Democratic Party voters goes well above 50% of the registered voters, then the U.S. will be a one party state.

    In logic, the atoms of a statement, propositions or what-have-you depending on how strong the logical system is, can in most systems be expressed as having a value of true or a value of false.

    You break this sentence down into your basic polyadic predicate logic and you come up with so many falses it’s a waste of time to go further into your argument since it all hinges on this one premise.

    In short: nope, no one is asking those questions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  19. For example, while the evidence for the sort of voter fraud that could be stopped by showing ID cards and birth certificates is virtually non-existent, these restrictions are actually quite popular with the electorate

    Even if you accept the argument for proving identity with an ID at the polling station, the state has already checked your citizenship when it processed your registration. If you weren’t a citizen, you wouldn’t be on the roll of registered voters to begin with, so bringing a birth certificate along to verify you’re a citizen again is an entirely symbolic hassle. It’s proof this whole exercise is really about demonstrating how much the GOP hates minorities rather than any real concern about fraud.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1

  20. @Just Me:

    I am in favor of a single day to vote but think it should be Saturday and not Tuesday.

    And what about all the people who work in retail and thus never have off on Saturdays?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  21. superdestroyer says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    It would also be unfair or practicing Jews and others who have religous services on Saturday. What percentage of adults leave their home on a Tuesday versus a Saturday?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  22. becca says:

    It’s the GOP’s willingness to taunt minorities and women that absolutely makes my skin crawl.
    Venality aside, these are the tactics of cowards and bullies.

    Puny GOP

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  23. Ron Beasley says:

    Here in Oregon we have been exclusively vote by mail since 2000 – no polling places. You receive your ballot in the mail about 3 weeks before election day and you can mail it in or drop it off at one of the numerous drop boxes. It saves money and Oregon has one of the highest voter participation rates in the country. If you move and don’t re-register your ballot will not be delivered. Voter rolls are purged when the death certificate is issued. I don’t recall any cases of voter fraud since 2000.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  24. LC says:

    @superdestroyer:

    The most current example if that the real eleciton for mayor in the District of Columiba will be the April 1st Democratic primary. Since most of the white 20 somethings who live in the District of Columbia are registered indepdents, they will have zero say in who will be mayor.

    a) do you have some poll or info that shows “most of the white 20 somethings who live in the District of Columbia are registered independents”?

    b) there is already a strong independent general election candidate lined up, former Councilman David Catania (who used to be a Republican, FYI) who is a decent enough bet to win if Mayor Gray survives the primary.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. LC says:

    Also, James’s apologism for this stuff is almost as off-putting as these auto-play ads.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  26. superdestroyer says:

    @LC:

    from http://bigstory.ap.org/article/small-slice-voters-could-decide-dc-mayoral-race

    City Democratic Party leaders oppose a change. Nonpartisan elections or runoffs could water down the power wielded in local elections by longtime registered Democrats, many of whom are African-American. The city’s black population is now 50 percent, down from 66 percent in 1990

    .

    Also, anyone who believes that a white male who is a former Republicans can win the Mayor’s race in the District of Columiba is an idiot. See http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/looselips/2013/06/20/david-and-goliath-david-catania-could-be-d-c-s-next-mayor-if-absolutely-everything-goes-his-way
    where the pull quote is

    That’s Catania’s best case, though, and it still looks grim.

    It is amazing that all of the cool hipsters have removed themselves from voting in meaningful elections by registering as indepdents. Of course, it is much more meaningful to progressives to focus on totally irrelevant voter registration laws that have done nothing but increase black turnout in red states.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  27. superdestroyer says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    But when was the last time the Oregon has a meaningful close elections. Once again, it is easy to have voting rules that help the establishment in a one party state. It also probably benefits incumbents because a challengers have to have the election won three weeks before election day.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6

  28. de stijl says:

    James Joyner:

    Let’s stipulate that there can be multiple, overlapping motivations for rules changes.

    Those motivations would be to prevent black people from voting which overlaps with preventing brown people from voting which overlaps with preventing young women from voting who are not covered by the previous two provisions.

    Seriously, you cannot sugarcoat this.

    Disenfranchisement is an ugly, grotesque thing. Un-American to the core. We have a 21st Century American political party whose electoral strategy is based on voter suppression. Racially based voter suppression.

    It’s shameful.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 2

  29. Ron Beasley says:

    @superdestroyer: Oregon has 5 congressional districts one of which is reliably red, two of which are reliably blue and 2 of which are swing districts. Our last Republican senator lost 6 years ago not because the Democrat beat him but because an extreme right winger sucked off 7% of his votes. The Republican Party has had a tough time winning state wide elections the last decade or so because the party was hijacked by Bible thumping extremists.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  30. de stijl says:

    If you are a moderate Republican who accepts this voter suppression without freaking the eff out and screaming bloody effing murder at your state and national leaders, you are part of the problem.

    This is shockingly, revoltingly bad behavior by your party. Take some goddamned responsibility for Christ’s sake.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 1

  31. Neil Hudelson says:

    @LC:

    ….did you not read anything James wrote?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  32. Grumpy Realist says:

    @Tillman: A PAID mandatory holiday. Either that, or make sure you have the polls open on weekends. At least two differing weekends. And pass some legislation making certain no one will get fired for taking time out to vote. If the local polling stations have 7-hour lines, then companies have to support that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  33. James Joyner says:

    @LC: @de stijl: I’m neither dismissing nor sugarcoating this. Both the headline and bottom line of the post—and several other posts over the last three or four years on the same topic—are clear that this is a bad thing motivated by bad faith.

    But that doesn’t totally remove nuance from the equation. Some of these proposals have legitimate motivations beyond the impact on turnout. There is in fact actual, if ill-informed, fear of voter fraud. There is, in fact, reason to oppose having open-ended elections. There is, in fact, reason to oppose having different rules within the same state for voting. It’s just that, given that the cumulative effect of these things “just happens” to redound to the electoral benefit of Republicans by effectively making it harder for poor citizens to vote makes it high suspect.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 5

  34. Neil Hudelson says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Have you ever consider that maybe instead of blaming “teh browns” Republicans like you could just champion policies that are logical and popular?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  35. @Ron Beasley: We vote by mail in WA as well. No lines, no fraud, and no zealots in the state house unable to win on poor policy choices gaming the vote instead.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  36. walt moffett says:

    @rudderpedals:

    Always amusing to me, is the effort to get those too frail and addled to grocery shop to mark their absentee ballots in some counties here in the South.

    To me the most troublesome thing is the lack of trust the governing have for the governed. Voter registration involves signing or some places taking an oath that you are who say are, not a felon, etc. In effect these measures (voter ID, etc) say your word is worthless.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  37. Gerald Meazell says:

    Fun fact: In New York, there is no such thing as early voting. You go on election day or you don’t get to vote. Democrats own that state lock, stock, and barrel. Why haven’t they instituted early voting since it favors Democrats so much? Perhaps early voting, like so many things Democrats say, is not really important to them except as a bludgeon with which to bash Republicans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

  38. Gerald Meazell says:

    @Davebo: Yep, we’re delusional when it comes to voter fraud, except when we’re not.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 9

  39. beth says:

    @Grumpy Realist: That still would leave out a lot of workers. Just look at all the stores that opened on Thanksgiving. Do you think some minimum wage retail clerk is going to risk losing his job arguing with his boss about why he can’t work the Election Day Sale?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  40. bill says:

    gee, i thought “sparsely populated rural” areas were all white rednecks who vote republican?!
    i guess they’ll need to drag out all the “poor black women” who live in shacks in the woods….but will need an id to get obamacare?!
    it never surprises me how democrats think they’re saving all these “minorities” rights- like they’re too dumb to vote and such.
    i think voter id laws are hillary’s main campaign schtick….that’s all she has?

    @Gerald Meazell: good point, you would think that if people really wanted to vote then they would find a way!? liberal thinking is that they need to round up voters and bring them to the polls- otherwise they just wouldn’t exercise their right…. reminds of growing up in ny state- the unions would open up their halls and get the free beer flowing before they filled the buses and got to the polls….and “encouraged” all to vote for their approved candidates.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 19

  41. Rafer Janders says:

    @Just Me:

    I am in favor of a single day to vote but think it should be Saturday and not Tuesday.

    Can’t, Jewish Sabbath. It would have to be over the whole weekend, or preferably a three-day weekend.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  42. unclesmrgol says:

    Hmm. Don’t all these so called restrictions make it harder for Republicans to vote too?

    “There is more to the right to vote than the right to mark a piece of paper and drop it in a box or the right to pull a lever in a voting booth. It also includes the right to have the vote counted at full value without dilution or discount.” — William O Douglas, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the United States of America.

    And in these difficult economic times, doesn’t it make sense to minimize government in every way we can? Doesn’t weekend voting result in overtime for government employees and decreased activity by poll watchers who are our citizen bulwark against cheating and fraud at the polls?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 17

  43. Dave Schuler says:

    @Davebo:

    I’m a little puzzled by that comment. Is the operative word “all”? Does that make a difference?

    The courts have found that both voter suppression and vote fraud are taking place. I don’t see how a reasonable person could deny either at this point. The only real question is to what extent are each taking place?

    As I see it a national biometric ID would go a long way to solving both problems. Perhaps my experience living in Europe many years ago has desensitized me to something my fellow Americans consider an intolerable imposition. I just didn’t find showing my passport that painful.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  44. al-Ameda says:

    But, rather obviously, there’s a difference here: one side is working to make it harder for their opponents to vote while the other is working to make it easier for their supporters to vote. Those aren’t equivalent.

    Yes, we can safely say that when it comes to vote suppression, both sides do not do it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  45. superdestroyer says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    The logical and popular positions for a demographic group where more than 70% of children are born to unwed mothers is high taxes on the rich, greater transfer payments, race-based educational and employment opportunities, and a nanny state and backstops the impacts of bad personal decisions. There is no way that any form of conservative party can appeal to that demographic group.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 12

  46. gVOR08 says:

    But, rather obviously, there’s a difference here: one side is working to make it harder for their opponents to vote while the other is working to make it easier for their supporters to vote. Those aren’t equivalent.

    That’s the beauty of being liberal. You can do well by doing good. Conservatives seem to need to do evil to do well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  47. gVOR08 says:

    I recently bought a house in FL. That means I could, if I wished, engage in the form of vote fraud that does seem to be somewhat common – double voting at two residences. The Rs don’t seem interested in stopping this. I’ll leave why as an exercise for the reader.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  48. M. Bouffant says:

    @superdestroyer: Not to mention one-party states like those of the old Confederacy. That mote in your eye a little too big to notice?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  49. superdestroyer says:

    @M. Bouffant:

    The difference is that the Democrats know that if they get the demographics changed in places like Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas, that they will soon regain power. However, there is nothing a conservative party can do to regain relevance in California, New York, or Illinois.

    That is why the voting regulations are so inconsequential. Eventuall the Democrats will regain control of most of the Old South. However, the U.S. becoming a one party state is massively important for the future. I guess that is why virtually everyone in politics concentrates on the small stuff.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  50. Dave Schuler says:

    @superdestroyer:

    However, there is nothing a conservative party can do to regain relevance in California, New York, or Illinois.

    At the national level, perhaps. I can’t speak for California or New York but Illinois has a pretty fair chance of electing a Republican governor in November and there are more contested elections for the state legislature than in quite a while. While I sincerely doubt that Republicans have any chance of taking over either the State house or senate, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they picked up seats in both houses. Relevant or not?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  51. bandit says:

    Republican Controlled States Making It Harder For Democrats To Commit Fraud

    FTFY

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 31

  52. M. Bouffant says:

    @Gerald Meazell: Well, a whole five extra votes!! That would’ve shifted Ohio’s balance to Romney, huh?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  53. bandit says:

    @gVOR08: Unmitigated bullshit from the partry of corruption – no doubt Leland Yee was all about doing good

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 25

  54. M. Bouffant says:

    @superdestroyer: I other words, conservatism is not the solution to all the problems you mentioned.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  55. bandit says:

    @becca: You’re a racist idiot – do you think it’s jjust minorities that commit fraud?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 23

  56. Rafer Janders says:

    @superdestroyer:

    However, there is nothing a conservative party can do to regain relevance in California, New York, or Illinois.

    They could advocate policies that will be popular with the majority of voters. Old-fashioned, yes, but that’s really the traditional way to get power in a democracy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  57. M. Bouffant says:

    @superdestroyer: That’s quite a feat of, what, social engineering, to “get the demographics changed.”

    Yet really, that’s what the Republicans are trying to do w/ their voter suppression campaigns.

    And can we stop all this blather & admit, GAME OVER HERE? Surely no one’s forgotten the Penn. state official who, aloud & in public,

    mentioned the law among a laundry list of accomplishments made by the GOP-run legislature. “Pro-Second Amendment? The Castle Doctrine, it’s done. First pro-life legislation – abortion facility regulations – in 22 years, done. Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.”

    Today’s Republican party: Murder should be easier, women are exclusively for breeding & voting should be a pain.

    I can not imagine why they’d have to suppress the vote

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  58. M. Bouffant says:

    And finally: I guess I’m spoiled in California, but I get the impression that similar laws are not found on the books in some other states:

    ELECTIONS CODE
    SECTION 14000-14003

    14000. (a) If a voter does not have sufficient time outside of
    working hours to vote at a statewide election, the voter may, without
    loss of pay, take off enough working time that, when added to the
    voting time available outside of working hours, will enable the voter
    to vote.
    (b) No more than two hours of the time taken off for voting shall
    be without loss of pay. The time off for voting shall be only at the
    beginning or end of the regular working shift, whichever allows the
    most free time for voting and the least time off from the regular
    working shift, unless otherwise mutually agreed.
    (c) If the employee on the third working day prior to the day of
    election, knows or has reason to believe that time off will be
    necessary to be able to vote on election day, the employee shall give
    the employer at least two working days’ notice that time off for
    voting is desired, in accordance with this section.

    14001. Not less than 10 days before every statewide election, every
    employer shall keep posted conspicuously at the place of work, if
    practicable, or elsewhere where it can be seen as employees come or
    go to their place of work, a notice setting forth the provisions of
    Section 14000.

    14002. Sections 14000 and 14001 shall apply to all public agencies
    and the employees thereof, as well as to employers and employees in
    private industry.

    14003. Except in time of war or public danger, no voter is obliged
    to perform militia duty on any election day.

    If your state doesn’t have such a law, your state is anti-(small “d”) democratic; shame on you & that state!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  59. Kari Q says:

    I do wish you would all stop engaging Mr. One-Party-State when he begins his riff. My scrolling finger is tired of the work involved in skipping the discussions. Aren’t you bored with it yourselves?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  60. Davebo says:

    @Gerald Meazell:

    No, you and Pat Dollard are pretty much delusional all the time. But you can’t live forever right? :0)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  61. unclesmrgol says:

    @Dave Schuler: how is a carefully vetted state id any different?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  62. superdestroyer says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    There are no conservative positions that are going to get a majority of the voters in those states. The voters in those states support policies that are are many not be beneficial for all voters and may not help the long term livability in those states but they will benefit the core groups of the Democratic Party. Then the question becomes why would the U.S. need to liberal parties where the political fights are over entitlements who gets them, and who pays for them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  63. superdestroyer says:

    @Kari Q:

    If people are going to discuss the political trends of the U.S., then the discussion should mention that every demographic trend favors the Democratic Party. No matter what the Repubican do to discourage automatic Democratic Party voters from voting, there is nothing will cause a conservative party to continue to exist in the U.S. So, then the question should be what happesn with the core blocks inside the Democratic Party get unrestrained political control and what happens when all of the former Republicans start voting in the Democratic Party.

    As mentioned above, a one party state such as the District of Columbia leads to a poltical system where the Democratic Party is the real election. How does Ohio, North Carolina, etc, vote in the Democratic Primary. Is there early voting, same day registration, and all of the other programs to make voting easy in the Democratic Primary. Are the states open primary or close primary states.

    Since the Democratic Party primary will be the real election in the future, efforts should be made to make it easier for everyone to vote in it unlike the close primary of the District of Columbia.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  64. Dave Schuler says:

    @unclesmrgol:

    It wouldn’t handle interstate vote fraud which I suspect is the most common and it wouldn’t do much for vote suppression.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  65. becca says:

    @bandit: thank yew for illustrating my point.

    Puny bandit

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  66. LC says:

    @James Joyner:

    There is, in fact, reason to oppose having open-ended elections. There is, in fact, reason to oppose having different rules within the same state for voting.

    Like what?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  67. LC says:

    @superdestroyer:
    I read that AP link, and no where in it does it say that white 20 somethings comprise the independent voting registration #s you’re claiming. You’re just making things up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  68. An Interested Party says:

    If Republicans and conservatives are so tired of being called racists perhaps they might try to stop advocating policies that disproportionally hurt minorities…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  69. wr says:

    @unclesmrgol: “And in these difficult economic times, doesn’t it make sense to minimize government in every way we can?”

    No.

    But thanks for asking.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  70. wr says:

    @superdestroyer: ” However, there is nothing a conservative party can do to regain relevance in California, New York, or Illinois.”

    Interesting article in the NY Times today. It seems that farmers in California’s central valley — which is about a Republican as any area on the West Coast gets — can no longer get the laborers they need because Republicans refuse to pass any kind of immigration reform. So they’re actually talking about abandoning the Rs for the first time in generations in hopes of being able to get their crops in.

    You don’t think there’s anything a conservative party can do to regain relevance in California? Sure there is — they can come up with policies that actually help their constituents instead of catering to insane a$$holes in the deep south who are so terrified of the new century they demand we return to the pre-Civil Wars days.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  71. wr says:

    @Dave Schuler: “Illinois has a pretty fair chance of electing a Republican governor in November ”

    As long as he can convince people he wasn’t telling the truth when he said he wanted to slash the minimum wage and lying when he recanted.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  72. superdestroyer says:

    @LC:

    What part of the Democratic Primary being the re-election in the District of Columbia, that the District of Columbia has a closed primary system, and and that blacks are overwhelmingly registered as Democrats did you not understand.

    What do you think the demographics are of the whites who actually live in the District of Columcia? Who do you think are the 17% of the voter who are registered independent?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  73. superdestroyer says:

    @wr:

    Adding millions of poor third world immigrants does not help the more conservative party. It would be cheaper to pay the farmers to not produce rather than to fund all of the social services that are needed by migrant laborers and their children.

    As I have written before, if the argument is over entitlements, who gets them, and who pays for them, one party is more than enough. All the idiot farmers want is a special entitlement for themselves while sticking someone else with the bill.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  74. Ron says:

    For those who prattle on about demographic trends favoring the Democratic Party, I suspect that reality is going to give you a big beatdown. (The same applies to those who think that the GOP is not going to suffer the same fate.) Demographics are not the issue here; the problem is the incompatible priorities between factions of the two parties.

    The Democrats are going to have to deal with the schism between the urban elites who want to stop all activity which might have a negative effect on the environment and the blue-collar (and mostly unionized) workers whose livelihood depends upon resource extraction and industrial production which usually has a negative impact on the environment. We’ve already seen this with the debate over the Keystone XL pipeline, in which labor and environmental groups lined up on opposite sides of the issue. The realignment in West Virginia is also instructive. You might want to look at the congressional delegations in 2010 and 2015 (assuming Shelley Moore Capito gets elected, which seems likely at this point).

    For the Republicans, there is going to have to be a reckoning as well; not between the “tea party” faction and the “establishment”, but between social conservatives and those who do not share their religion-based social positions. We have already seen some of the more astute social conservatives address this, with people like Jim DeMint asserting that fiscal conservatism and social conservatism are inseparable, implying that anyone who is not a social conservative is a big-government RINO in bed with the Democrats.

    I suspect that by 2025 or so, there will be big splits in both major parties, and we’ll end up with four parties replacing them. If the environmental left does not engulf the green party (unlikely), they will have views strongly similar to them. The “Labor Dems” are going to be on their own, though; it will depend on how many of the other interest groups in the current Democratic Party throw in with them. If feminists, ethnic minorities, and the LGBT left side with the working class, they will prevail. If they side with the environmentalists, the blue collar voting bloc will become largely irrelevant.
    On the GOP side, the social conservatives will end up with something akin to the Constitution Party, while the Fiscal-only conservatives will end up with something similar to the Libertarian Party. They are fundamentally irreconcilable because of their strong split on social issues. Whichever one succeeds in wooing the undecideds within the party will prevail, and the other will become marginalized.

    I suspect that none of the current “minor parties” will benefit much from the split, because all three of them (Greens, Constitution, Libertarian) are filled with flaky ideologues who will not compromise their ideals for something as plebeian as actual governance and compromise. For them, ideology is more important than incremental progress towards their ultimate goal, and the current Democrats and Republicans who have not joined their parties have refrained from doing so because they either don’t share such ideological extremism, they understand that incremental change is the path that is most likely to succeed, or because they are low-information voters who only vote a certain way because that is the way their parents or their peers vote. Unfortunately, the last group is probably the largest, but little can be done about that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  75. Kari Q says:

    @Ron:

    I agree with some of what you say, but there is no chance that the parties will split into four. We’ve had two major parties virtually since the United States was founded. The occasional creation of a new major party always coincides with the death of one of the old ones. More common, the parties reorganize and realign themselves as the issues of the day change. I am certain that the Republicans will reform themselves and the Democrats will do likewise, although the pressures are not as great among Democrats since there is no comparable drive to do ideological purges. I feel quite comfortable in asserting that whatever happens to the two major parties, there will continue to be two of them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  76. superdestroyer says:

    @Ron:

    Any party that cannot field candidates in all fifty states will not be considered a real political party. The three minor parties would describe will not be viable in many states and thus, will never exist.

    The biggest move in politics in the future is when the establishment Republicans decide to give up having their own party and just move over to the existing Democratic Party. The Israel first types will just push for goodies for Israel and the main street Republicans will fight for special subsidies and tax breaks. The only real question is how big will the budget grow and how big will the federal government be. Every other fight is irrelevant in the long term.

    What is amazing is that in a few years everyone will forget all the talk of voting restrictions as soon as the Democrats become the one, dominant party and all the hangwringing about the voters right act will end when the Democrats regain control of the Old South. The real restriction on voting will be the slow elimination of initiative and referendum to keep outsiders from going around the clouts and fixers who will run politics in the future.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  77. dennis says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Oh, FFS, sd. How do you expect anyone to take your arguments seriously if you can’t even muster the brain power to spell correctly while making them? You make an incoherent statement even moreso by requiring the reader to stop to interpret or insert the correct words and grammar. J.H.C.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  78. KM says:

    However, there is nothing a conservative party can do to regain relevance in California, New York, or Illinois.

    Hate to break it to you but New York has some pretty deep red spots. WNY, sections around the Albany corridor, anywhere that voted for Paladino…. there’s been grumblings in places for generations that New York isn’t NYC and that they don’t always represent the state. If NYC and Long Island split off, New York would be purple, if not outright red – definitely in play to the right candidate. I’m sure California and Illinois are the same.

    Perhaps in order to be relevant again, Rs should be supporting these micro-secession movements? When in doubt, add a new star to the flag. If you can’t win there, divide and conquer!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  79. wr says:

    @superdestroyer: “As I have written before, ”

    About sixty gazillion times. And after all that effort, you’ve convinced… no one here.

    Isn’t there some more useful way to use your time?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  80. wr says:

    @KM: Hell, New York already has a Republican governor!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  81. Tillman says:

    @Kari Q: I feel some sort of Manichean drive to answer his stuff with “No” in many varied forms to keep myself from getting bored. I can’t explain it.

    This drive is of such strength that I fear your fingers (and mine) will rot off before it is sated.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  82. Ken says:

    Nah, we just want to make it harder for dead people to vote.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  83. superdestroyer says:

    For all the concern about people getting to vote in elections and supprion of voters, the results for the Mayor of the District of Columbia are in where the result was:

    Turnout was low — only about 25 percent of registered Democrats — and Bowser won the nomination with only about 40,000 votes in a city with about 370,000 registered voters. Councilmember Tommy Wells placed third.

    http://www.wtop.com/109/3594779/Bowser-I-accept-your-nomination

    Why is odd is all of the progressives do not even bother to reconcile their concern with voting rights with the U.S. becoming a one party state where the Democratic Party Primary is the real election and the turn out is very low and controlled by fixers and clouts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  84. Barry says:

    James Joyner: “Let’s stipulate that there can be multiple, overlapping motivations for rules changes. For example, while the evidence for the sort of voter fraud that could be stopped by showing ID cards and birth certificates is virtually non-existent, these restrictions are actually quite popular with the electorate. And there are both philosophical and fiscal reasons to support having a single Election Day or at least a compressed election period rather than a long polling period.”

    Not, let’s not stipulate that. Last I heard, the whole d*mn national cabal of Republicans had come up with 50 cases of fraud across a decade of elections across 300 million people.

    There is only one reason that the Republicans are doing that, and that’s to keep people from voting against them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  85. Barry says:

    @James Joyner: ” I’m neither dismissing nor sugarcoating this. Both the headline and bottom line of the post—and several other posts over the last three or four years on the same topic—are clear that this is a bad thing motivated by bad faith.

    But that doesn’t totally remove nuance from the equation. Some of these proposals have legitimate motivations beyond the impact on turnout. There is in fact actual, if ill-informed, fear of voter fraud. There is, in fact, reason to oppose having open-ended elections. There is, in fact, reason to oppose having different rules within the same state for voting. It’s just that, given that the cumulative effect of these things “just happens” to redound to the electoral benefit of Republicans by effectively making it harder for poor citizens to vote makes it high suspect.”

    I would mock you for having a Ph.D. and not being able to write consecutive, non-contradictory sentences, but in that you’re the equal of Harvard’s Drew Faust.

    Sheesh, James, have you no shame, at least?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  86. John425 says:

    The North Carolina State Board of Elections has found thousands of instances of voter fraud in the state, thanks to a 28-state crosscheck of voter rolls. Initial findings suggest widespread election fraud.

    ** 765 voters with an exact match of first and last name, DOB and last four digits of SSN were registered in N.C. and another state and voted in N.C. and the other state in the 2012 general election.
    ** 35,750 voters with the same first and last name and DOB were registered in N.C. and another state and voted in both states in the 2012 general election.
    ** 155,692 voters with the same first and last name, DOB and last four digits of SSN were registered in N.C. and another state – and the latest date of registration or voter activity did not take place within N.C.

    The second point is key, as double voting is election fraud under state and federal statutes. Punishment for double voting in federal elections can include jail time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  87. matt bernius says:

    @John425:

    The North Carolina State Board of Elections has found thousands of instances of voter fraud in the state, thanks to a 28-state crosscheck of voter rolls. Initial findings suggest widespread election fraud.

    Since things are SO better with links, here’s some backup (and clarification) of John’s claim:
    http://abclocal.go.com/wtvd/story?section=news/politics&id=9489311

    BTW, the pull quote is below (and it contradicts for the moment John’s conclusion)

    The state Board of Elections revealed Wednesday that more than 35,000 people may have double voted by casting ballots in North Carolina and another state during the 2012 election.

    The Board of Elections was careful to say they don’t have proof of fraud, but they have good reason to look closer.

    Note “may” and “The Board of Elections was careful to say they don’t have proof of fraud”

    … it could turn out that this is all voter fraud. But let’s wait until the completed report before jumping to conclusions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  88. matt bernius says:

    BTW, extra points to any backer of state based voter restrictions who can demonstrate how they would prevent interstate voter fraud.

    The fact is a national ID system is the best bet for stopping interstate issues,

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0