As Republicans have pushed for voter ID in states across the country, they’ve been emboldened by polls showing such laws are popular with voters. But new research—conducted partly in Ohio, still the most pivotal presidential swing state—suggests that when it comes to making voting harder, the tide of public opinion may be turning. There isn’t enough data to draw firm conclusions. But a genuine shift would be a major boon to the movement to protect voting rights, and it would significantly complicate efforts to enact new restrictions. A Des Moines Register poll released Monday found that 71% of Iowa voters—including two out of three Republicans—think it’s more important that every eligible registered voter has the chance to vote than that no ineligible voter is allowed to cast a ballot. Just 25% said the reverse.
And focus groups involving swing voters in Columbus, Ohio found strong support for making voting easier: Twenty-two of 26 participants said people should be able to register and vote on the same day, and the same number expressed support for expanding early voting. Twenty said they’d back providing a mail-in ballot to every registered voter. Twenty also said that every American citizen should be automatically registered to vote on their 18th birthday. Meanwhile, not a single participant wanted to eliminate early voting.
“It’s sinful that even one person is the denied the right to vote,” one Columbus man said. “It’s much more appealing to ensure that everyone can vote than to focus on the very few instances of fraud.”
There was also evidence that support for voting rights could boost candidates for office. Eighteen of the 26 Ohioans in the focus group said they’d back a candidate who opposes voter ID, wants to expand early voting, and supports same-day registration. Just eight of the 26 said they’d back a candidate with the opposite stances on those issues.
Full Article: Are Americans souring on voting restrictions? | MSNBC.