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The Student News Site of Buena Vista University

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The Student News Site of Buena Vista University

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April 10, 2024
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Many voting laws about vote suppression, not fraud

Shawn Rodine | Contributing Writer

Because it is September, we are now reaching the final two months of election season here in the United States. As usual, politicians are using misleading political ads, making promises they will never keep, and telling flat out lies in order to sway voters. However, several Republican-controlled governments in many states have reverted to an old, disingenuous tactic that is reminiscent of the days of Jim Crow – voter suppression.

The Grand Old Party (GOP), or the Republicans, has brought back widespread voter suppression. This has been attempted through a series of methods which include: voter ID requirements, shortened poll hours, discriminatory redistricting, and voter poll purges. All of this has been done under the guise of “voter fraud prevention.” Well, no one likes voter fraud, but this ignores the fact that voter fraud is, in reality, very rare. This actually has very little to do with voter fraud but rather seeks to keep mostly minorities and the poor, both of whom tend to vote strongly Democrat, from voting.

Fortunately, some efforts thus far have been fruitless. In Texas, a three judge federal court voted unanimously that Texas’s new redistricting and voter ID laws would discriminate against minorities. In Ohio (a Presidential election swing state), Republican lawmakers attempted to limit early voting hours. However, a federal judge overturned the law, saying that the state failed to “articulate a precise compelling interest” for the limited early voting hours. Minorities and Democrats are said to be the main beneficiaries of early voting.

Various attempts have also been made in other states such as Wisconsin, South Carolina, and Florida, where a voter poll purge said to be targeting minorities yielded few results.

Perhaps the most striking and overt case still hanging in the balance is that of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania, another key swing state in the Presidential election, passed a law requiring all those who vote to have “acceptable photo ID” with an expiration date such as a driver’s license or a state-issued photo ID card. Sounds easy, right? Well, for many people, it’s not a problem. For others, it’s a whole different ballgame. Some people cannot or do not have drivers’ licenses. Others, such as the elderly, may not drive or have original copies of birth certificates, which would be required to get a photo ID card and eventually vote. A possible 758,000 voters in Pennsylvania are estimated to lack the required ID and could be disenfranchised by the new law. Considering that President Obama won Pennsylvania by 600,000 votes in 2008, the implications for the law are quite large. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard arguments about the law this past week where the state’s chief deputy attorney general essentially conceded that the state could not comply with its own law because of federal law. The Supreme Court is predicted to decide on the law before the end of this month.

Again, this is not about voter fraud. Pennsylvania House Republican leader Mike Turzai made that very clear when he announced at the Republican State Committee meeting that the purpose of the voter ID law was so that Mitt Romney would win Pennsylvania. He was met by raucous applause. Former Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer admitted GOP leaders had previously met to discuss how to keep blacks from voting among other issues. A recent study found that voter ID laws could prevent 700,000 young minorities from voting this election. It seems that Republican politicians have not only decided to use political ads and half-truths to win votes this year but have opted for something much more direct. They want to take the elections out of the voters’ hands.

Graphic by Keyla Sosa

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