Monday, September 5, 2011

The GOP Assault On Voting

I firmly believe that the Republican war on voting is the biggest political story of 2011.  Nothing else comes close to the far-reaching and profound effects of the GOP efforts to reshape the electorate to suit their needs.  TPM's Ryan Reilly has an excellent piece recapping the Republican assault on voting rights in 2011 at the state and federal level.

It all started in January, as many new Republican state legislators who had been swept into statehouses across the country in the 2010 elections started pushing like-minded legislation soon after they took office.

"These bills started popping up everywhere and what started as a trickle almost seemed like a flood," Carolyn Fiddler of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee told TPM.

Altogether this year, 20 states which did not have voter ID laws and 14 states that already had non-photo ID laws have considered legislation requiring citizens have a photo ID to vote, according to the latest figures from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Of those 34 states which considered voter ID legislation, six of them enacted laws: Alabama, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

It's impressive on some level.  In just eight months, Republicans in 34 states pushed efforts to restrict voting.  That's what these efforts are, the quest to make voting more difficult.  Considering everything past Americans did to secure the right to vote for future generations, the notion that we have to restrict voting to "protect" it should be laughed out of the room.  It's completely obvious what the Republicans are truly up to on this issue.

Conservative columnist Matthew Vadum is just going to come right out and say it: registering the poor to vote is un-American and "like handing out burglary tools to criminals."

"It is profoundly antisocial and un-American to empower the nonproductive segments of the population to destroy the country -- which is precisely why Barack Obama zealously supports registering welfare recipients to vote," Vadum, the author of a book published by World Net Daily that attacks the now-defunct community organizing group ACORN, writes in a column for the American Thinker.

"Encouraging those who burden society to participate in elections isn't about helping the poor," Vadum writes. "It's about helping the poor to help themselves to others' money. It's about raw so-called social justice. It's about moving America ever farther away from the small-government ideals of the Founding Fathers."

It really is that simple.  Conservatives believe that voting, and participation in government itself, should be restricted to the elite, the wealthy, and the powerful.  It's no longer John Birch fringe to believe that the underclass, those who don't belong in the lofty presence of the job creators, have no place in politics.  Conservatives are increasingly blaming them for all of society's ills, and are just wondering how hard they have to push in order for the dwindling middle-class to declare war on the poor, and leave the lords at the top to reap the spoils.

In short, Conservatives don't think everyone in America should have the right to vote, period.  They discovered their mistake in 2006 and 2008, and it was allowing the unwashed masses the right to vote.  And should they get back into 2012, they will eliminate that right.

Keep that in mind this Labor Day, and into November 2012.

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