Nearly half the states in the country passed laws restricting the right to vote in the five years leading up to the last presidential election, with most of them in the South, according to a study recently released by two professors from the University of Massachusetts Boston. Keith Bentele and Erin O’Brien, professors of sociology and political science, respectively, found that race, class, and political partisanship influenced the push for a raft of restrictive laws from 2006 to 2011. The study, published last month, found that during the five years preceding the 2012 election, nearly every state proposed a voting law that would have, in some way, restricted access to casting ballots or registering to vote. Almost half of states passed such a law, the study said. From 2006 to 2011, according to the study, restrictive voter access policies were more likely to be proposed in states with larger African-American and immigrant populations, and where voter turnout among minority and low-income voters had increased during presidential elections.
A similar picture emerged for the passage of these proposals, with states where minority turnout had increased since the previous presidential election being more likely to implement restrictive legislation. On top of that, the study found that states where Republicans control the Legislature and the governor’s office were more likely to pass such laws.
Efforts to restrict voting surfaced throughout the country, but, according to the study, such proposals appeared to be much more likely to pass in the South and in battleground states such as Ohio and Florida. In Massachusetts, for example, more than 30 such laws were proposed during the five-year period scrutinized but none passed, according to the study.
“In states where Republicans have full control over state government, that’s where these things are more likely to pass,” Bentele said.
Full Article: Half of states OK’d restrictive voting laws