It was bad enough when Republicans started disenfranchising voters in the name of preventing voter fraud. It doesn’t seem to matter that various studies have found that voter fraud is pretty much non-existant in this country (heck, it is hard enough to get people to cast one vote). But that didn’t stop vigilant conservatives from passing 22 new laws supposedly designed to prevent (the virtually nonexistent) voter fraud. In fact, you have to go back to the days immediately after the civil war — when the south was desperately trying to suppress the black vote with notorious Jim Crow laws and the north was almost equally trying to keep immigrants from voting — to find so many laws being passed to “prevent” voter fraud.
As a result, millions — as many as 10 percent of Americans — will suddenly find themselves unable to vote, coincidentally most of them people who tend to vote Democratic. If that number sounds high, consider that 11% of Americans do not have a government-issued ID card, and the numbers are considerably higher for young voters (18%) or blacks (25%).
But at least Republicans could claim that they were merely trying to reduce voter fraud. But as usual they are starting to overreach, putting the lie to their claims.
In Ohio, Republicans are trying to throw out ballots because of mistakes made by poll workers. In one example, poll workers sent voters to the wrong precinct table to vote. So those voter’s ballots did not count even though the voters had done everything right. Luckily, that case ended up in court and as a result of counting those ballots, the previously losing candidate instead won the election.
However, now the state is trying to reverse that decision and require ballots to be thrown out, even if the only mistake is one made by a poll worker. So how is this going to reduce voter fraud? It seems to me it will be an open invitation to dramatically increase fraud; not voter fraud, but fraud perpetrated by unscrupulously partisan poll workers.
If that weren’t bad enough, another provision would prevent poll workers from helping voters find the correct precinct if they mistakenly show up at the wrong polling location. Silly me, I thought the purpose of poll workers was to facilitate voting!
So their true colors are showing — Republicans aren’t actually interested in preventing voter fraud, they are only interested in preventing voting by people with whom they don’t agree.
UPDATE: The Empire Strikes Back.