It’s no coincidence that conservative state legislatures launched an unprecedented wave of measures to make it harder to vote in the wake of the GOP’s sweeping state-level victories in 2010. With the dexterous hand of the American Legislative Exchange Council providing coordination, and the will to suppress the vote that’s animated the right for decades, the assault on ballot access isn’t really surprising either. But it is based on a deeply flawed premise: Claims of voter fraud are chronically exaggerated, and when organizations actually follow up on initial reports they almost always prove inaccurate or inflated. (President Bush’s DOJ, for all its zeal, turned up fewer than 100 convictions out of 300,000,000 votes cast.) However, for a movement that’s openly declared its hostility toward efforts to increase voter turnout in American elections, it doesn’t matter that there’s no fire behind all that smoke.
With Help From ALEC, GOP’s 2010 Wave Produced Voting Laws That Could Disenfranchise 5 Million Mostly Poor, Young, And Minority Voters
State-Level GOP Gains In 2010 Elections Led To Vast, Unprecedented Push To Restrict Voting Access. From the Brennan Center for Justice’s report on “Voting Law Changes In 2012”: “This year, at least thirty-four states introduced a record number of bills to require photo ID to vote. As Jenny Bowser, senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures, observed, ‘It’s remarkable … I very rarely see one single issue come up in so many state legislatures in a single session.’ […] There are at least two major reasons for this change. The first is the stark shift in the partisan makeup of state legislatures after 2010. As noted, there is typically a sharp partisan divide over the issue of strict voter ID requirements, with Republicans generally pushing more restrictive measures and Democrats generally opposing them. This year, in every case but one, strict voter ID bills were introduced by Republican legislators. Newly elected legislators introduced about a quarter of these bills. As a result of Republican electoral success in state houses across the country in 2010, proponents of strict voter ID bills were able to garner much greater legislative support than in the past. In the 2010 elections, Republicans picked up at least 675 state legislative seats across the country. Republicans therefore controlled both legislative chambers in twenty-six states, up from fourteen earlier in 2010.” [Brennan Center for Justice, “Voting Law Changes In 2012,” 2011, internal citations removed, emphasis added]Read more after the jump.