24 voting restrictions have passed in 17 states since 2011. This fall, new laws could affect more than 5 million voters in states representing 179 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.
In the past two years, 5 battleground states (Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) have tightened their voting laws.
As of April, 74 restrictive voting laws were on the table in 24 states.
CARD-CARRYING AMERICANS ONLY
Since 2011, 34 states have introduced laws requiring voters to show photo ID, and 9 states have passed photo ID laws, affecting 3.8 million voters.
2.2 million registered voters did not vote in 2008 because they didn’t have proper ID.
*Does not include laws awaiting DOJ clearance, blocked by courts, or not in effect until after 2012. Source: National Conference of State Legislatures
Last year, 12 states introduced laws requiring birth certificates or other proof of citizenship to vote; 3 passed.
Only 48 percent of women have a birth certificate with their current legal name on it.
Texas’ new ID law permits voters to use concealed-handgun licenses as proof of identity, but not state university IDs.
DISCOURAGING NEW VOTERS
80 percent of the 75 million eligible voters who did not take part in the 2008 election were not registered to vote.
Florida state Sen. Mike Bennett, a supporter of the tougher voter registration law, said, “I don’t have a problem making it harder. I want people in Florida to want to vote as bad as that person in Africa who walks 200 miles across the desert. This should not be easy.”
LOCKING OUT EX-CONS
4 million Americans who have completed prison sentences are ineligible to vote. 38 percent of disenfranchised voters are African American.
13 percent of African-American men cannot vote due to criminal records, a rate 7 times the national average.
The United States and Belgium are the only democracies that disenfranchise citizens for lengthy or indefinite periods after completing prison sentences.
To regain their voting rights, released felons in Iowa must provide the address of the judge who convicted them and a credit report showing they have paid off their court costs. “They make the process just about impossible,” said a 40-year-old ex-con who’d stolen a soda machine as a teen.
IN SEARCH OF STOLEN VOTES
While defending its precedent-setting photo ID law before the Supreme Court, Indiana was unable to cite a single instance of voter impersonation in its entire history.
A 2005 report by the American Center for Voting Rights claimed there were more than 100 cases of voter fraud involving 300,000 votes in 2004. A review of the charges turned up only 185 votes that were even potentially fraudulent.
In support of a voter ID law, Kansas Secretary of State (and the legal brains behind a slew of anti-immigration laws) Kris Kobach cited 221 incidents of voter fraud in the state between 1997 and 2010. Yet those cases produced just 7 convictions — none related to impersonating other voters.
Last December, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus declared that Wisconsin is “absolutely riddled with voter fraud.” In fact, the state’s voter fraud rate in 2004 was 0.0002 percent — just 7 votes.
In 2008, John McCain said fraudulent registrations collected by ACORN were “one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.” The Congressional Research Service found no proof that anyone improperly registered by ACORN tried to vote.
- Voting while ineligible: 18
- Voting multiple times: 5
- Registration fraud: 3
Special hat tip to craigconnects.org