I recently visited Russia, where a mild-mannered historian from the city of Astrakhan, Oleg Shein, is on a hunger strike protesting a stolen mayoral election he believes he won. But as Russia starves for free and fair elections, Republicans across the United States are starving our democracy — and too few have noticed. And their furious assault on voting rights is no less destructive to democracy than the vote-rigging we deplore in Russia. Over the past year, Republican legislators in 34 states have proposed legislation that would drastically restrict voting for an estimated 5 million eligible voters. Seven states have passed laws requiring voters to show photo ID — which more than one in 10 Americans lacks — and dozens of others have eliminated early voting, disenfranchised ex-felons or limited the ability of civic organizations to register voters. The consequences are clear in Texas, for example, where you can now register to vote with a handgun license but not a college ID.
Unsurprisingly, the most affected demographics — blacks, Latinos, young people and the elderly — skew Democratic. NAACP President Ben Jealous has called such moves “the greatest coordinated legislative attack on voting rights since the dawn of Jim Crow,” and the Nation has teamed up with Colorlines.com to monitor and report on voter suppression among the most vulnerable groups.
Twelve years after Bush v. Gore, Florida is again leading the effort to subvert the democratic process. Last May, Florida’s Republican legislature — a wholly-owned subsidiary of the right-wing policy group the American Legislative Exchange Council — passed draconian voter restrictions that, among other things, cut in half the number of early voting days and eliminated early voting on the Sunday before Election Day.
Full Article: A vote for universal registration – The Washington Post.