In an effort to beat back what Democrats are calling a Republican assault on the voting rights of blacks, Hispanics and other minority groups ahead of the 2012 presidential election, the Democratic National Committee has launched a new initiative to educate voters on restrictive mostly Republican-sponsored voter ID laws.
The initiative includes the release of a report, “A Reversal in Progress: Restricting Voting Rights for Electoral Gain,” and the launch of a websitewww.protectingthevote.org. Both are intended to “expose efforts by the Republican party to limit the right to vote for political gain,” said Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz during a conference call this morning.
Schultz called the laws “a full-scale assault” on the voting rights of mostly minority voters in states where both groups strongly supported the president in 2008. And that the laws are “essentially designed to rig an election when Republicans can’t win these election on the merits.”
Republicans contend that the measures protect against voter fraud, a claim the Democrats say has yet to be proven in large measure. “I think that nothing could disenfranchise an eligible voter more than finding out that ineligible voters are voting,” Tre Hargett, the Republican secretary of state in Tennessee, told NPR this summer, after that state passed a new rule that requires voters to display photo ID and proof of citizenship when they register to vote. Hargett then cited a 2005 incident in a special election in Memphis, where a poll worker faked at least three votes.
The issue of voter suppression has been of particular interest for Democrats in states that will be key to President Obama’s reelection efforts, such as North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida andOhio, where more prohibitive voter identification laws have sparked controversy. Other states, including Tennessee, Rhode Island, Kansas and Wisconsin have passed voter identification measures this year. Mississippi last month approved a constitutional amendment to require voters to provide government-issued ID at the polls. Still others have struck down Election Day voter registration and limited early voting.
Full Article: Voter ID Laws ‘Assault’ On Minority Voters, Says DNC Chair.