Those Republican legislators flipped a switch with the African American vote, Hardy said, rekindling whatever enthusiasm had waned after 2008’s historic Obama win.
“We’d been struggling for many years in our communities with how we make the argument that our parents and grandparents had handed down to us: ‘you must vote, because people fought and died for you to have the right to vote.’ It starts to become a little less motivating the further away you get away from those really visceral memories of what it took to get to the polls,” Hardy said. “But then you bring back a 35 state assault on our ability to vote and it starts getting really reminiscent. All of the things our parents were telling us and our grandparents were telling us become visceral to a new generation.”
Concerns about voter suppression certainly wasn’t the only thing driving African American turnout in 2012, Hardy said, but it helped pull out some voters who were maybe not feeling as fired up as they were four years ago.
As he noted, the voting restrictions boomeranged on Republicans in another way beyond motivating minority voters to the polls. The laws kept failing in the courts, meaning that although Bird says OFA was prepared to deal with them in places like Florida, they didn’t have to for the most part.
Democrats may not have the same luck in 2014, Bird warned.
“Some of these voting laws that didn’t bark weren’t in effect because we had pushed them off in the courts,” he said. “But they will be in effect for the next election. And we have to overcome those.”
Those laws are going to kick in and there is time to get ready for them. Great for standing in there this time but get ready for next time. There is no reason to be caught off guard and there is no reason to be disenfranchised. "Luck" has nothing to do with it.