Why Do Republicans Want to Keep People from Voting?

Republicans across the country are working very hard to pass laws to create obstacles to voting for otherwise-eligible voters:

But since the 2010 election, thanks to a conservative advocacy group founded by Weyrich, the GOP’s effort to disrupt voting rights has been more widespread and effective than ever. In a systematic campaign orchestrated by the American Legislative Exchange Council – and funded in part by David and Charles Koch, the billionaire brothers who bankrolled the Tea Party – 38 states introduced legislation this year designed to impede voters at every step of the electoral process.

All told, a dozen states have approved new obstacles to voting. Kansas and Alabama now require would-be voters to provide proof of citizenship before registering. Florida and Texas made it harder for groups like the League of Women Voters to register new voters. Maine repealed Election Day voter registration, which had been on the books since 1973. Five states – Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia – cut short their early voting periods. Florida and Iowa barred all ex-felons from the polls, disenfranchising thousands of previously eligible voters. And six states controlled by Republican governors and legislatures – Alabama, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin – will require voters to produce a government-issued ID before casting ballots. More than 10 percent of U.S. citizens lack such identification, and the numbers are even higher among constituencies that traditionally lean Democratic – including 18 percent of young voters and 25 percent of African-Americans.

I personally think that assaults on democracy are anti-American.  People exercising their right to vote is a good thing, and people creating obstacles to voting legally is a bad thing.  Maybe you feel otherwise – if so, please share why in the comments.

So why are Republicans working so hard to block people from voting?  The popular answer is to prevent voter fraud.  There is one problem with that, though.  It’s 100% myth:

A major probe by the Justice Department between 2002 and 2007 failed to prosecute a single person for going to the polls and impersonating an eligible voter, which the anti-fraud laws are supposedly designed to stop. Out of the 300 million votes cast in that period, federal prosecutors convicted only 86 people for voter fraud – and many of the cases involved immigrants and former felons who were simply unaware of their ineligibility. A much-hyped investigation in Wisconsin, meanwhile, led to the prosecution of only .0007 percent of the local electorate for alleged voter fraud. “Our democracy is under siege from an enemy so small it could be hiding anywhere,” joked Stephen Colbert. A 2007 report by the Brennan Center for Justice, a leading advocate for voting rights at the New York University School of Law, quantified the problem in stark terms. “It is more likely that an individual will be struck by lightning,” the report calculated, “than that he will impersonate another voter at the polls.”

To repeat: between 2002 and 2007, out of 300 million votes cast, 86 votes were statutorily fraudulent, largely due to simple questions over eligibility, and nothing to do with impersonating voters.  86 “fraudulent” votes out of 300,000,000 votes cast.  That’s the much hyped voter fraud.  That is .00002866%.  86 out of 300,000,000.

So, if it’s not voter fraud, why are Republicans and conservatives working so hard toward that one single goal of making it more difficult for eligible American voters to cast a vote in an election?

Any ideas, RMGers?  I’m sure those here who fight for individual liberty, smaller government, less government regulation, and less government intrusion in our lives will have some ideas why these Republicans want more government intrusion with the singular goal of suppressing voters from casting a vote.  Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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