North Carolina lawmakers aren’t the only ones pushing for voter ID laws and a shorter period for early voting. This year 19 other states have considered new voter ID legislation. Another 10 have debated whether to toughen current laws. Last week, S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley signed a law requiring S.C. voters to show a photo ID.
And at least two states have sought to shorten early voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Georgia just cut its time from 45 to 21 days. Florida could trim its by six days. The N.C. House last week narrowly passed a bill that would cut the 21/2-week early voting period by a week. Similar legislation is pending in the Senate.
“From coast to coast, the GOP is engaged in what appears to be a coordinated, expensive effort to block voters from the polls,” Democratic strategist Donna Brazile wrote last week in USA Today. “The motivation is political – a cynical effort to restrict voting by traditionally Democratic-leaning Americans.”
Republicans say photo IDs for voters would ensure the integrity of elections. In fact their bills are called, “Restore Confidence in Government.”
…Veteran GOP strategist Carter Wrenn said “there’s a lot of hyperbole on both sides.” Republicans, he said, still smart from 2008 when Democrats used early voting across the country to help elect President Barack Obama.
“I’m not sure those people voted because there was early voting, so much as they voted because Obama was running and they were mad at (President) Bush,” he said. “Their assumption that early voting changes who votes may turn out to be a miscalculation.”
With early voting and photo IDs, Wrenn said Republicans are doing what Democrats have done when they were in power: Try to help themselves.
“Nobody,” he said, “has ever figured out how to get the politics out of politics.”