3 Ways the GOP Has Already Disenfranchised Thousands of Swing-State Voters
Some of the GOP's tactics can be reversed. But not all of them.
September 10, 2012
The Republican Party’s war on Democratic voting blocks is like a game of three-dimensional chess in which their strategies are intended to remain dormant until Election Day, and in the following days when votes are officially counted.
But their game plan is simple. They want to discourage voters by complicating every step for new and existing voters from specific blue cohorts, such as students, poor people and minorities. They’ve adopted new laws or rules that target pathways surrounding polling place voting, while keeping voting by mail—a longtime GOP strategy—free from similar rules. And they are spreading fears that there will be vastly more policing of the process to scare away voters, when in reality that’s not likely to be the case.
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1. Criminalize Voter Registration Drives
This strategy can best be seen in—surprise—Florida. According to a new report by Project Vote, at least 23 states have new rules for groups that conduct voter registration drives. The strictest of these require volunteers to undergo state trainings, set tight timetables for turning in registration applications and ban paying field workers based on the number of registrations filed. These kinds of new rules target groups like Project Vote , which once assisted low-income advocates such as ACORN in its drives.
Florida’s voter registration restrictions, which went into effect July 2011 and stayed in effect until this June (when they were thrown out by a federal court) also had big fines for any mistakes made with registration forms. A recent New York Times report noted that groups that previously registered voters in Florida, such as the League of Women Voters, Rock the Vote and Florida Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), stopped while the law was in effect. Compared to this period a year before the 2008 election, Florida has 250,000 fewer new Democratic registrants, the Times said.