The battle lines are already being drawn for the general election in November, and Democrats are eager to line up African-Americans, Latinos, women, senior citizens and young voters, all of whom the party believes could form a formidable team to thwart a potential Donald Trump presidency and wrest the Senate majority from the GOP. That is only, however, if all those people will be able to vote. And given the sweeping new regulations and restrictions a number of states have placed on voting, that’s not a given. In this year alone, ten states are implementing laws that usher in new restrictions or hurdles, ranging from cutting early voting to imposing cumbersome voter identification rules, according to tracking by the ACLU, which is battling many of the laws in the courts. Those ten states are home to over 80 million people and account for 129 of the 270 electoral votes necessary to win the presidency, the civil liberties group reports.
That’s on top of 11 other states that have put new voting restrictions in place since 2010, according to the New York City-based Brennan Center for Justice, a non-profit at New York University School of Law. Of the 21 total states, 16 have restrictions in place for the first time for this year’s presidential election. Many, but not all, of the new rules were enabled by a 2013 Supreme Court decision, Shelby County v Holder, which threw out a critical part of the Voting Rights Act. That section, which required certain states to get “pre-clearance” from a federal court of the Department of Justice before changing voter registration or voter laws, would at least have delayed, and possibly blocked, some of the new laws, says Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voter Rights Project.
Theoretically, all voters in those states are subject to the new rules, which are meant to prevent voter fraud. But the details of the laws – and the demographics of the states that have implemented them – end up having a disproportionately negative impact on the populations that have a harder time acquiring the paperwork necessary to register or to vote, experts and nonpartisan studies say. Women, too, can face rejection when registering to vote because their IDs may feature different name variations due to marriage or divorce.
Damage is done if any eligible voter, regardless of ethnicity, race or gender, is prevented from voting because of onerous restrictions, says Wendy Weiser, director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center. But “as a general rule, the new voting restrictions hit certain demographic groups harder than other groups. Low income voters, people of color and very old people” are particularly susceptible to being wrongly barred from participating in the process, she says.
Full Article: Voting Restrictions Are Impacting Elections – US News.