The GOP is panicking.
The GOP’s war on voting is marching inexorably onward. The GOP knows that they are outnumbered by Democrats, and that the way they win is to depress voter turnout.
And if they can’t depress voter turnout (by astroturfing, calling President Obama a Republican1, and pushing the narrative that both parties are the same2 — a notion that is provably false), then they’re going to outright suppress it with stringent voter ID laws that amount to nothing more than a 21st century poll tax.
Restrictive voting laws in states across the country could affect up to five million voters from traditionally Democratic demographics in 2012, according to a new report by the Brennan Center. That’s a number larger than the margin of victory in two of the last three presidential elections.
The new restrictions, the study found, “fall most heavily on young, minority, and low-income voters, as well as on voters with disabilities. This wave of changes may sharply tilt the political terrain for the 2012 election.”
The following new development in Tennessee underscores Republican desperation as they continue to try to ensure that The Browns™, The Poors™, and The Whippersnappers™ are disenfranchised.
From Think Progress:
Like similar laws in other states, Tennessee’s version has come under scrutiny from voting rights advocates, civil rights groups like the NAACP and ACLU, and even Democratic senators, who oppose the laws because they will disenfranchise poor, elderly, and minority voters who are less likely to have photo IDs.
The state now has evidence that that will be the case. Dorothy Cooper, a 96-year-old Chattanooga resident who says she has voted in every election but one since she became eligible to vote, wanted to ensure she’d have the necessary ID to vote in next year’s elections, when Tennessee’s law goes into effect. But when she went to apply for the ID, she was denied, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports:
That morning, Cooper slipped a rent receipt, a copy of her lease, her voter registration card and her birth certificate into a Manila envelope. Typewritten on the birth certificate was her maiden name, Dorothy Alexander.
“But I didn’t have my marriage certificate,” Cooper said Tuesday afternoon, and that was the reason the clerk said she was denied a free voter ID at the Cherokee Boulevard Driver Service Center.
“I don’t know what difference it makes,” Cooper said.
Cooper doesn’t have a driver’s license — she never learned to drive — and has never needed identification to vote, and her lack of a valid marriage license is likely due to the fact that she’s outlived two husbands. Under the Tennessee law, Cooper will still be able to vote via absentee ballot, which does not require photo ID. But standing outside her normal voting precinct, Cooper told the Times Free Press she will miss going there to vote. “We always come here to vote,” Cooper said. “The people who run the polls know everybody here.”
Marriage certificate? Seriously? Why not just require blood and hair samples?
The fact that Republicans are trying so damn hard to disenfranchise specific groups of people should tell you something about how important voting is. Voting is a right, a privilege, and an obligation, and anyone who tries to convince you not to vote does not have your interests at heart. Set aside the matter of for whom you cast your vote — if you don’t vote, you don’t get a say.
[via Think Progress]