Nevada's legislature goes Republican for the first time since the Great Depression and GOP lawmakers immediately prepare their priorities: making sure black, Latino, and poor voters are disenfranchised through "voter ID" laws in 2016.
Yet another Republican-controlled state is looking to impose a voter ID law just in time for the 2016 elections.
GOP state lawmakers in Nevada are readying ID bills for early next year, Secretary of State-Elect Barbara Cegavske told msnbc in an interview. Cegavske said she knew of two separate bills that might end up being merged together.
“They’re writing them now,” said Cegavske, a Republican and a supporter of voter ID. “It just depends on how soon they get them in.”
Last week, Republicans took full control of state government for the first time since 1929, meaning a voter ID bill would likely have a strong chance of passing. Governor Brian Sandoval has said in the past he supports voter ID.
The GOP takeover also has raised fears of a broader rightward shift for the state, on everything from immigration to Stand Your Ground laws.
Although Nevada’s session doesn’t begin until February, Cegavske said the bills could appear on a “placeholder” list of upcoming measures as early as next month, indicating their high priority for Republican lawmakers.
Republicans: the party that can't win without keeping those people from voting.
Over the last decade, Nevada has shifted from red to purple, driven by a massive influx of Hispanic voters, especially in the fast-growing Las Vegas region. President Obama won the state in 2008 and 2012, after it went twice for President George W. Bush.
You think that's maybe the problem?
Cegavske said she’d only support a bill if it didn’t restrict access to the polls—“we want to make sure nobody’s disenfranchised”—but added that she was confident Nevada could get IDs to those who need them.
“We do have a fund in our DMV that provides for the homeless, which is I think very helpful,” she said. “And there are organizations that help seniors out. So I don’t think we’d be a state that would struggle.”
Guess who gets to define "who needs" state IDs provided to them?
Cegavske also mentioned a 2008 controversy in which the now-defunct community group ACORN turned in fraudulent voter registration forms—something that didn’t lead to any documented fraudulent votes being cast, and wouldn’t have been stopped by voter ID.
“I think it’s a way to ensure the integrity of elections,” she said. “Just to make sure that everything is good.”
“To be honest, every time I’ve gone, I’ve shown my identification,” she said. “I think it’s a privilege and an honor to be able to vote in our country, and I don’t think showing your identification is an issue. I mean, I personally just don’t have a problem with that.”
And she echoed a common argument made by ID supporters: “You have to have identification for any of the social agencies that you get either food stamps or everything from,” Cegavske said. “You have to have identification for everything—driving, you name it.”
Except food stamps and driving are not constitutionally protected rights, nor are they the basis of modern democracy.
Once again, if red states would provide ID for all citizens so that all eligible citizens would then be able to vote, we wouldn't have a problem. That's not what's happened in any GOP state with these new "voter ID" laws, and that's not what's going to happen in Nevada. What will happen is that Nevada will make it nearly impossible to get identification, and thousands, if not tens of thousands, will lose their ability to vote. The vast majority of those who will lose that right will be Democrats.
And that has always been the plan.