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The 2016 GOP Record On Voting Rights


Almost fifty years after the Voting Rights Act was passed, the right to vote is still under attack. Today, Republican presidential hopefuls are attempting to hijack our democracy by restricting the voting rights of everyday Americans. In states across the country, Republicans are pushing for restrictive laws that disproportionately impact turnout among African Americans, Latinos, working Americans, seniors, and America’s youth.

Some of the top names in the Republican field, including Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and Chris Christie, support limiting early voting, while others like Scott Walker and Rick Perry have enacted strict voter ID laws that make it more difficult to vote.  If we do nothing to combat these discriminatory laws, the voices of hundreds of thousands of voters will be silenced at the polls in 2016.

The Contenders:

Jeb Bush


The Jeb Bush administration purged 12,000 eligible voters from the Florida voter rolls ahead of the 2000 presidential election. According to Rolling Stone, “Back in 2000, 12,000 eligible voters – a number twenty-two times larger than George W. Bush’s 537 vote triumph over Al Gore – were wrongly identified as convicted felons and purged from the voting rolls in Florida, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. African Americans, who favored Gore over Bush by 86 points, accounted for 11 percent of the state’s electorate but 41 percent of those purged.” [Rolling Stone, 5/30/12]

Jeb Bush attempted a similar voter purge ahead of the 2004 presidential election. “In May 2004, another presidential election year, Jeb Bush’s administration once again sought to purge its voter rolls of convicted felons. Owing to the previous controversy with DBT, the state Legislature decided that the Department of Elections should create its own list. Once again, the process was flawed. When the list became public in July 2004, a major error became readily apparent: Of the 48,000 people on the new purge list, 22,000 were African Americans but only 61 were Hispanic. African Americans vote heavily Democratic while Hispanics, at that time in Florida, largely voted Republican. This prompted speculation that Jeb Bush’s administration was at best incompetent and at worst, playing politics with its purge list. Facing widespread criticism, it agreed not to use the list.” [Mother Jones, 4/10/15]

Jeb Bush signed into law Florida legislation that restricted the hours and locations for early voting. “Bush and the GOP-led Legislature went the other way the next year, passing a law that capped the number of hours for early voting and confined it to election offices, city halls and libraries.” [Politifact, 11/8/12; House Bill 1567, 5/6/05]

Jeb Bush supported more stringent voter identification laws. In his book, Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution, Jeb Bush wrote, “Finally, states should be allowed to protect the integrity of the franchise with voter identification laws, which are supported by a large majority of Americans, including Hispanics. So long as states make it simple for citizens to obtain such forms of identification, they should have the latitude to require such identification for voting or to secure welfare benefits.” [Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution, pg. 38-39, 2013]

Chris Christie


Chris Christie vetoed legislation that would have expanded opportunities for early voting. “Gov. Chris Christie today vetoed a bill that would allow early voting at polling places, prompting Democrats to brand it a politically motivated effort to suppress the vote months after Hurricane Sandy exposed vulnerabilities in the state elections system. The Republican governor called a proposal to let voters cast ballots at designated polling places during a 15-day period before Election Day ‘hasty, counterproductive and less reliable’ than the current system.” [Star-Ledger, 5/9/13; S. 2364, 11/29/12]

Chris Christie opposed same-day voter registration. “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie slammed a voter registration method as a political ploy this week while speaking in Illinois. ‘Same-day registration, all of sudden, this year comes to Illinois. Shocking. It’s shocking. I’m sure it was all based on public policy, good public policy to get same-day registration here in Illinois just this year when the governor is in the toilet and needs as much help as he can get,’ Christie said Monday, according to The Chicago Tribune. He was campaigning for Republican Bruce Rauner, who is challenging Illinois’ Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn this November. Christie chairs the Republican Governors Association.” [MSNBC, 8/28/14]

Chris Christie suggested that the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s should have been decided by popular referendum. “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is under fire for suggesting white southerners should have been allowed to vote civil rights gains for blacks during the 1960s. His remark came as the State Senate Judiciary Committee was about to approve a bill this week that would move New Jersey a step closer to legalizing gay marriage. […] And then he said: ‘People would have been happy to have a referendum on civil rights rather than fighting and dying in the streets in the South.’” [NBC New York, 1/26/12]

Ted Cruz


Ted Cruz called for the repeal of a provision of the Voting Rights Act that protected minority voters from discrimination. “It’s time to do away with the nearly 50-year-old federal rule that let U.S. officials block a new state law requiring Texans to show photo ID to vote. That’s what Republicans candidates running to replace Kay Bailey Hutchison in the U.S. Senate said during a forum Thursday night. They called for repeal of the Voting Rights Act provision that requires Texas and other Southern states with histories of discrimination to receive pre-clearance when changing election laws. ‘Right now, Texas is subjected to different standards than much of the country,’ former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz said during the forum, hosted by the Dallas Bar Association. ‘I think we need to be fighting to ensure the law is colorblind and fair to everyone.’” [Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 3/16/12]

Ted Cruz’s Iowa campaign chair crusaded “to restrict voting under the guise of combating voter fraud.” “[Ted Cruz’s] best play so far has been snagging former Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz to be his state chairman there, considering that three years ago Schultz was a prominent supporter of Santorum, who is about to announce his 2016 presidential bid. By tapping Schultz, Cruz also tied himself to Schultz’s leading cause: trying to restrict voting under the guise of combating voter fraud. During his four years as secretary of state, Schultz spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to unearth evidence of fraud but ended up finding little and being cited for the mismanagement of public funds.” [Mother Jones, 5/26/15]

Ted Cruz introduced federal legislation requiring voters to present “proof of citizenship” before casting ballots. “Ted Cruz didn’t wait long to mount a legislative response to the Supreme Court’s ruling against Arizona’s voter registration rule. An amendment submitted by the Texas senator on Monday afternoon to the Senate’s immigration bill would ‘permit states to require proof of citizenship for registration to vote in elections for federal office.’ Cruz’s measure would amend the National Voter Registration Act.” [Politico, 6/17/13; S. Amdt. 1295, 6/17/13]

Lindsey Graham

Lindsey Graham praised the Supreme Court’s move to strike down a portion of the Voting Rights Act. “Voting is a fundamental right guaranteed to all United States citizens. I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure elections are free and fair for every South Carolinian. Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act was a necessary tool to preserve voting rights, but due to the reform and advances in South Carolina election law, it is no longer necessary. The Supreme Court noted this tremendous progress in South Carolina’s electoral system and it was the underpinning of their decision. I concur with the Court that our state has made tremendous progress.” [Senator Lindsey Graham press release, 6/25/13]

Lindsey Graham supported stricter federal voter identification laws. “Congress should follow in the footsteps of state legislatures and pass a federal voter ID law that requires voters to present photo identification at the polls, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said Thursday. Graham defended South Carolina’s recently passed voter ID law, which is under review by the Justice Department. ‘I think what South Carolina did makes eminent sense to me,’ Graham said at a hearing on state voting laws chaired by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL). Durbin called the incidence of voter fraud in America minimal and said reported fraud ‘is often anecdotal, unsubstantiated and contrived.’ Graham disagreed.” [Talking Points Memo, 9/8/11]

Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee suggested supporters of an anti-union law deflate the tires of voters on the other side of the issue on Election Day. “Former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has some advice for people who support the anti-union law passed in Ohio that faces a statewide repeal vote on November 8: Find out who’s voting to repeal the bill and block them from ballot box. The onetime Arkansas governor suggested deflating tires and giving these voters the wrong election date. ‘That’s up to you, how you creatively get the job done,’ Huckabee quipped.” [Mother Jones, 10/17/11]

Mike Huckabee supported voter ID laws that would make voting more difficult. “The former Arkansas governor told the crowd at an Americans for Prosperity conference last month that sometimes he thinks the United States has less freedom than North Korea. ‘When I go to the airport, I have to get in the surrender position. People put hands all over me. And I have to provide photo ID in a couple of different forms and prove that I really am not going to terrorize the airplane. But if I want to go vote, I don’t need a thing.’” [Washington Post, 5/12/14]

Bobby Jindal


Bobby Jindal was sued by the NAACP for blocking efforts to reform alleged discriminatory voting systems in a Louisiana parish. “LDF and cooperating Louisiana attorney, Ronald L. Wilson, filed a challenge under the Voting Rights Act and the U. S. Constitution to Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana’s 32nd Judicial District Court. A Black candidate has never been elected with opposition as a judge on this parish court. A sitting judge on the court has been suspended for wearing blackface, an orange prison jumpsuit, handcuffs, and an afro wig to a Halloween party as part of his offensive parody of a Black prison inmate. Under the discriminatory at-large electoral method, that judge subsequently was re-elected.” [NAACP, Terrebonne Parish Branch NAACP, et al. v. Jindal, et al., filed 2/3/14]

The NAACP “took Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration to court over a statewide practice that prevented many low-income, minority Louisianans from registering to vote.” “Recently, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and other national voting rights groups took Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration to court over a statewide practice that prevented many low-income, minority Louisianans from registering to vote. Just last month, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled partially in their favor, finding that Louisiana violated the National Voter Registration Act by failing to provide voter registration services at the state’s public service agencies — such as the departments where residents can sign up for Medicaid and food stamps.” [Think Progress, 12/6/14]

John Kasich

John Kasich signed into law legislation “that cut early voting and eliminated same-day registration in his state.” “Kasich, the governor of Ohio – for years the most important presidential swing state – signed legislation this year that cut early voting and eliminated same-day registration in his state—making it harder for minorities to get to the polls. That law, too, drew charges that it violated the VRA, and a trial is likely later this year.” [MSNBC, 1/19/15; SB 205, 10/10/13; SB 238, 11/13/13]

Cleveland Plain-Dealer Editorial Board: John Kasich’s voting legislation was “a breathtaking bid to suppress voting despite constitutional guarantees of voting rights.” “Ohio’s Republican-run General Assembly has now passed three bills aimed at holding down voting by black or low-income Ohioans, a breathtaking bid to suppress voting despite constitutional guarantees of voting rights. Unwisely, Republican Gov. John Kasich has signed all of them into law. Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, Kasich’s likely Democratic opponent for governor in the fall, has already announced he intends — if he can get County Council’s support — to test one of the new laws, Substitute Senate Bill 205. It forbids anyone but the secretary of state’s office from sending out unsolicited absentee ballot applications.” [Cleveland Plain-Dealer, 3/1/14; SB 205, 10/10/13; SB 216, 10/29/13; SB 238, 11/13/13]

Rand Paul


Rand Paul failed to sign on to legislation that would restore key voter protection provisions of the Voting Rights Act despite claiming to support these protections. “Why doesn’t the Republican Party become the party that champions voting rights? It’s a good question. But the good follow-up question is, why doesn’t Rand Paul do actual work on the problem? In July, for example, the Kentucky senator boasted, ‘I’m a Republican who wants to restore a federal role for the government in the Voting Rights Act.’ Terrific. But there’s a bipartisan legislative proposal to repair the Voting Rights Act following last year’s Supreme Court ruling, and as of this morning, Paul has neither signed on as a co-sponsor nor introduced an alternative.” [MSNBC, 9/22/14; S. 1945, 1/16/14]

Rand Paul walked back “comments in which the senator appeared to urge Republicans to back off ‘crazy’ voting laws that minorities found offensive.” “Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) office is walking back recent comments in which the senator appeared to urge Republicans to back off ‘crazy’ voting laws that minorities found offensive. ‘At no point did Senator Paul come out against voter ID laws,’ Paul’s former chief of staff and current PAC director told Slate. ‘In terms of the specifics of voter ID laws, Senator Paul believes it’s up to each state to decide that type of issue.’ Such laws are popular with Republicans, who claim they are needed to address the issue of voter fraud, but critics say stringent measures like the one recently signed into law in North Carolina suppress the votes of minorities, seniors and young adults. Paul has been mindful of the issue as he reaches out to black voters on college campuses ahead of a possible presidential run in 2016.” [Huffington Post, 5/13/14]

Rand Paul supported making voter ID laws stricter. “Paul thinks the GOP needs to reach out to minorities if it is to win back the White House. He urges combining voter ID with moves to expand voting rights, such as legislation to restore voting rights to felons. ‘So I’m not really opposed to [voter ID]. I am opposed to it as a campaign theme,’ said Kentucky’s junior senator. In other words, he supports voter ID, but doesn’t want to talk about it. That’s the way Democrats saw it anyway, and many of them claimed Paul’s response showed he is willing to remake himself to appeal to core Republican voters in advance of the 2016 presidential race.” [Christian Science Monitor, 11/3/14]

Rick Perry


Rick Perry signed legislation to make Texas voter ID laws stricter. “Gov. Rick Perry (R) signed Texas’ voter ID law in May 2011. The state already required an ID to vote; the new law requires a photo ID. Those who don’t have a valid photo ID can apply for a new ‘election identification certificate.’ As a state with a history of voter discrimination, Texas must get preclearance from the Department of Justice for changes in election law. The DOJ blocked Texas’ law under Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, declaring that it would disproportionately affect Hispanic voters.” [Washington Post, 7/9/12; SB 14, 1/12/11]

Rick Perry’s voter ID law disenfranchised approximately 600,000 registered Texas voters. “Around 600,000 registered Texas voters don’t have one of the limited forms of ID that the law allows, according to evidence presented in the legal challenge to the law, which was brought by civil rights groups and the Justice Department. The state did almost nothing to challenge that assessment. That means there’s no doubt whatsoever that the law disenfranchised legitimate voters.” [MSNBC, 11/11/14; SB 14, 1/12/11]

Rick Perry re-implemented a voter ID law that had previously been struck down under the Voting Rights Act hours after the Supreme Court gutted a provision that protected minority voters. “Republican-headed states have been in such a frenzy in the past few years to enact and enforce voter ID laws that things got pretty crazy at the Supreme Court on the eve of last November’s elections. Emergency requests for stays seemed to be arriving daily. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg stayed up all night to write a strong dissenting opinion when the court permitted the Texas voter ID law to remain in effect. (The Texas law had been blocked by the Voting Rights Act, and Gov. Rick Perry had put it back into operation within hours of the Shelby County decision.)” [New York Times, 3/19/15; SB 14, 1/12/11]

Marco Rubio


As a member of the Florida House of Representatives, Marco Rubio voted in favor of a bill that restricted the hours and locations for early voting. “Bush and the GOP-led Legislature went the other way the next year, passing a law that capped the number of hours for early voting and confined it to election offices, city halls and libraries.” [Politifact, 11/8/12; House Bill 1567, 5/6/05; Vote #572, 5/6/05]

Marco Rubio supported enacting identification laws that would make voting more difficult. “During a campaign stop last month with Romney in Pennsylvania, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a Cuban-American Republican, blew off what he sees as overhyped concerns about showing photo IDs. People have to show IDs for everything from boarding a flight to renting sports equipment, Rubio reasoned, so why not voting. ‘What’s the big deal? What is the big deal?’ Rubio asked.” [CNN, 5/29/12]

Rick Santorum


Rick Santorum on early voting: “I hate it.” “Speaking to Sean Hannity on his radio show on Wednesday, former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum claimed that letting citizens cast ballots in person before Election Day opens the door to corruption: Hannity: I don’t like this early voting -Santorum: I hate it. Hannity: It’s been going on forever -Santorum: I hate it. Hannity: And it opens up the door to corruption. Santorum: It does. And look, the race changed from a month ago. When Ohio was early voting, it was before the first debate and the people who went out and voted, really in my opinion, really didn’t know Governor Romney and what kind of candidate he really is and the real distinction between Romney and Obama.” [Huffington Post, 10/26/12]

Rick Santorum suggested that “maybe it wasn’t” bad that the Founding Fathers had restricted the right to vote in U.S. elections to white, property-owning men. “Rick Santorum was on C-SPAN today, and during a discussion about U.S. foreign policy and bringing democracy to other nations, Santorum suggested that ‘maybe it wasn’t’ bad that the Founding Fathers placed certain limits on who could vote in U.S. elections at the start. Santorum said nations like Egypt are ready for democratic elections, despite how noble U.S. goals might be. He brought up America’s founding to make a point about allowing everyone to vote in the infancy of a nation’s history. Santorum did not say in any way that the U.S. ought to have any limits on who can vote nowadays, but he did suggest that the Founders might have done the right thing in limiting who could vote back when America got started.” [Mediaite, 6/29/14]

Rick Santorum expressed support for voter ID laws, calling them “crucial electoral reforms.” In a statement, Rick Santorum said, “I commend Governor Perry, Texas, and the many states like Texas that are fighting to ensure voter fraud does not impede the electoral process. As President I will stand with them and support their efforts for crucial electoral reforms.” [Statement on the Obama Administration Blocking Texas Voter ID Law, 3/12/12]

Scott Walker


Scott Walker supported ending same-day voter registration in Wisconsin. “Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker is suggesting that he may move to eliminate same-day voter registration in Wisconsin, a high-turnout state that has allowed citizens to register to vote on Election Day since 1976. […] ‘States across the country that have same-day registration have real problems because the vast majority of their states have poll workers who are wonderful volunteers, who work 13-hour days and who in most cases are retirees,’ he said during a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Foundation in California Friday. ‘It’s difficult for them to handle the volume of people who come at the last minute. It’d be much better if registration was done in advance of Election Day. It’d be easier for our clerks to handle that. All that needs to be done.’” [CBS News, 11/20/12]

Scott Walker signed into law a slew of regulations that made voting in Wisconsin more difficult. “In addition to the voter ID law, the GOP-led legislature has passed, and Walker has signed, measures that: •Reduced the early voting period from 30 to 12 days. •Further cut early voting opportunities by eliminating on weekends and in the evening. •Eliminated straight-ticket voting for all but overseas and military voters, adding to wait times at the polls. •Required proof of residence when registering to vote, except for overseas or military voters. •Barred the state from certifying statewide voter registrars, meaning anyone who registers voters can only do so in a particular county where they’re certified. •Made it harder for college students to use their IDs as proof of residence when registering to vote. •Increased residency requirements from 10 to 28 days, except for presidential elections. •Required that those who move within the state in the four weeks prior to an election vote in their old location not their new one. •Eliminated the faxing or emailing of absentee ballots, except to overseas or military voters. •Barred municipal clerks from returning absentee ballots to voters so they can fix mistakes. •Required that an area for poll monitors be set up between three and eight feet from the table where voters sign in.” [MSNBC, 6/1/15]

Scott Walker approved legislation that limited opportunities for early and weekend voting. “Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill Thursday limiting early voting hours and ending weekend voting, though with a few changes from what the Legislature approved. The law limits in-person absentee voting to between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. in the two weeks before an election. […] For Madison, the new law will reduce in-person absentee voting from 127 hours before statewide elections to 110, with the loss of weekend hours more likely to affect low-income voters who work two shifts during the week or lack transportation or child care to vote during the week, according to City Clerk Maribeth Witzel-Behl.” [State Journal, 3/28/14; Senate Bill 324, 10/2/13]

Scott Walker signed a law that required voters to provide a photo ID at polls. According to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “After an eight-year quest by GOP officials, Gov. Scott Walker will sign a bill Wednesday requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls. But the measure costing more than $7 million in new spending and lost revenue could still face a legal challenge as opponents mulled over the possibility of suing to block it from taking effect.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 5/25/11; Assembly Bill 7, 1/27/11]

Scott Walker’s voter suppression legislation would keep roughly 300,000 Wisconsin residents off the voter rolls. “Roughly 300,000 Wisconsin residents, most of whom are African-American and Latinos, would not be able to vote under a state law requiring a photo ID at the polls. Numerous experts testifying to this fact prompted Judge Lynn Adelman, of the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Wisconsin, to rule Tuesday that Wisconsin’s Voter ID law violated the 14th amendment of the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act, which bars states from imposing rules that abridge a citizen’s right to vote based on race or color.” [Capital Times, 5/1/14; Assembly Bill 7, 1/27/11]

Scott Walker’s voter identification law disproportionately impacted minority voters. “Studies the GAO analyzed found a significant number of voters across racial and age groups — between 5 and 20 percent — do not have identifications required to get a ballot, and minorities are disproportionately likely to lack those documents. […] In Wisconsin, another study found 94 percent of eligible white voters had an identification, versus 85 percent of registered African Americans.” [Washington Post, 10/9/14; Assembly Bill 7, 1/27/11]

Scott Walker fundraised off of the voter suppression legislation he signed into law. “The Democratic National Committee harshly condemned 2016 presidential hopeful Gov. Scott Walker for fundraising off a controversial voter ID law he enacted in Wisconsin. ‘It’s unbelievable that Gov. Walker would seek to capitalize financially off of the potential disenfranchisement of Wisconsin voters,’ Michael Tyler, DNC’s director of African American media, said in a statement provided first to TPM. ‘While we’ve come to expect cynical tactics restricting voting access from Republican leaders across the country, it’s truly incredible that some are now using them as fundraising opportunities.’” [Talking Points Memo, 3/25/15]



GOP Efforts by State

North Carolina

Editorial: North Carolina’s 2013 voting law “is a truly abominable piece of anti-democratic legislation” designed to make it harder for people who don’t typically support Republicans to be able to vote. “What makes this law unique is how much further it goes. It includes no fewer than 12 extra provisions that prohibit such things as counties extending polling hours by one hour in the event of unusual circumstances (such as, say, long lines); provisional voting should someone, say, mistakenly go to the wrong precinct; and pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds, who could previously register to vote before they turned 18. The bill is a truly abominable piece of anti-democratic legislation, the only likely effect of which will be to make it increasingly difficult — maybe even impossible — for some people who don’t typically support Republicans to be able to vote. Sadly, none of that seemed to bother Gov. Pat McCrory (R), who signed it into law regardless.” [Washington Post Editorial, 8/15/13]

North Carolina law eliminated same-day registration. “Voters in North Carolina will not have access to same-day registration or out-of-precinct voting in this midterm election, after the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday blocked an appellant court order to stay parts of a sweeping voting law that voting-rights advocates say could leave many voters disenfranchised come November. ‘We are disappointed with the Supreme Court’s ruling today,’ the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, said in a statement. ‘Tens of thousands of North Carolina voters, especially African-American voters, have relied on same-day registration, as well as the counting of ballots that were cast out of precinct, for years.’” [Time, 10/8/14]

North Carolina law reduced early voting by a week. “The bill also reduces early voting by a week, eliminates same-day registration, ends pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds and a student civics program, kills an annual state-sponsored voter registration drive and lessens the amount of public reporting required for so-called dark money groups, also known as 501(c)(4)s.” [Huffington Post, 8/12/13]

North Carolina law required voters to show an acceptable photo ID at the polls. “The governor, eschewing a more traditional signing ceremony, announced by way of a YouTube video that he had signed House Bill 589. The bill will require voters to show photo identification — a driver’s license, passport, veteran’s ID, tribal card — beginning in the 2016 elections. Student IDs are not an acceptable form of identification.” [Huffington Post, 8/12/13]



Florida’s 2011 law that reduced the number of early voting days may have prevented more than 200,000 citizens from voting in 2012. “The long Election Day lines around Florida may have turned away more than 200,000 frustrated would-be voters who gave up and went home before they cast ballots — or else saw the lines and elected not to join them… Elections supervisors have blamed the long lines and delays on the cutback of early-voting days from 14 to eight that was ordered by the 2011 Legislature, a record-long ballot that included 11 lengthy constitutional amendments and a 71 percent turnout for a hotly contested presidential election. Indeed, Gov. Rick Scott said last week he’d back legislation restoring the early-voting days and restricting ballot length.” [Orlando Sentinel, 1/29/13]

Former GOP officials admitted restrictive voting law in Florida was designed “to inhibit Democratic voters.” “A new Florida law that contributed to long voter lines and caused some to abandon voting altogether was intentionally designed by Florida GOP staff and consultants to inhibit Democratic voters, former GOP officials and current GOP consultants have told The Palm Beach Post. Republican leaders said in proposing the law that it was meant to save money and fight voter fraud. But a former GOP chairman and former Gov. Charlie Crist, both of whom have been ousted from the party, now say that fraud concerns were advanced only as subterfuge for the law’s main purpose: GOP victory. Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer says he attended various meetings, beginning in 2009, at which party staffers and consultants pushed for reductions in early voting days and hours.” [Palm Beach Post, 11/25/12]


Texas’ voter ID requirement has been called “a Jim Crow law for the 21st century.” “Minorities are simply less likely to have the government-approved form of ID if only because of the cost involved in obtaining a copy of one’s birth certificate and the failure of state government to adequately publicize more affordable alternatives. Thus, the voter ID requirement is simply a kind of poll tax, a Jim Crow law for the 21st century. What’s the worst thing that might have happened had the court barred the law from applying to this year’s election? Poll workers would have to be told to follow past practices. That’s not much of a burden compared to potentially shutting out 600,000 registered voters, a disproportionate percentage of them African-Americans and Latinos, in a state that has recently evolved from majority white to a ‘minority-majority’ population.” [Baltimore Sun editorial, 10/20/14]

A federal court in Texas ruled that the state’s voter ID law was “unconstitutional for targeting minorities” and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg called it an “unconstitutional poll tax.” “The law has been the subject of an extensive legal battle, with a federal court finding it unconstitutional earlier this month. But the Supreme Court then rejected an emergency request to put the law on hold for the upcoming election. Ginsburg authored a blistering dissent to that decision, calling the law an ‘unconstitutional poll tax.’ The ruling marked the first time in 32 years that the Supreme Court allowed a law restricting voting rights to be implemented after a federal court ruled it unconstitutional for targeting minorities, according to SCOTUSblog.” [Huffington Post, 10/30/14]


In Ohio, the GOP legislature passed three voter suppression bills “aimed at holding down voting by black or low-income Ohioans.” “Ohio’s Republican-run General Assembly has now passed three bills aimed at holding down voting by black or low-income Ohioans, a breathtaking bid to suppress voting despite constitutional guarantees of voting rights. Unwisely, Republican Gov. John Kasich has signed all of them into law.” [Cleveland Plain Dealer editorial, 3/1/14]

Ohio’s 2013 law that cut back on early voting and same day registration is “wrong-headed.” “One bill would abolish so-called ‘Golden Week’ voting. No matter how constructively meant — and this editorial board has acknowledged that Golden Week voting can cause headaches for election boards — that’s wrong-headed. The aim of election law should be to maximize voter participation, not limit it. The bill would limit it. ‘Golden Week’ is the period when newly registered voters can, in some circumstances, cast absentee ballots immediately after they register. First, Amended Senate Bill 238 would reduce the number of absentee-voting days by six — from the current 35 days before an election down to 29 days before an election. (Absentee ballots for men and women in the armed forces and for overseas voters would continue to be available 45 days before an election.)” [Cleveland Plain Dealer Editorial,11/30/13]

Editorial: “Republicans would have had no reason to pass these nakedly partisan measures if they were confident of their future and sure of their ideas.” “Voters are supposed to pick governments; governments aren’t supposed to pick voters. Ohio Republicans would have had no reason to pass these nakedly partisan measures if they were confident of their future and sure of their ideas. Obviously, they aren’t.” [Cleveland Plain Dealer editorial, 3/1/14]


Gov. Scott Walker signed a law in 2011 requiring voters to show state-issued IDs before casting a vote. “The measure, which Democrats characterize as a voter suppression effort but Republicans defend as a protection against fraud at the polls, will take partial effect just as nine state senators — including six of Governor Scott Walker’s Republican allies — face recall challenges in mid-July. Walker called the law a ‘common sense reform’ that would ‘go a long way to protecting the integrity of elections in Wisconsin.’ The law will requires poll workers to immediately begin asking voters to show state-issued IDs before they vote.” [Huffington Post, 5/25/11]

Federal judge: Wisconsin’s law “will deter or prevent a substantial number of the 300,000-plus voters who lack an ID from voting.” “As judges across the country have increasingly come to understand, there is essentially zero in-person fraud, which is the only kind that voter ID laws would stop. ‘Virtually no voter impersonation occurs in Wisconsin,’ Judge Adelman found in April. On the other hand, tracking down the underlying documents to get an approved form of ID can be a forbidding process, particularly for those otherwise-eligible voters without a birth certificate, or without easy access to transportation. As Judge Adelman found, Wisconsin’s law ‘will deter or prevent a substantial number of the 300,000-plus voters who lack an ID from voting.’ In short, voter ID laws don’t stop fraud. They stop otherwise-eligible voters from coming to the polls.” [NY Times Editorial, 9/15/14]

Laws like Wisconsin’s ID law were “passed exclusively in states with Republican governors and Republican-dominated legislatures.” “Wisconsin’s ID law, like others, had nothing to do with actual voter fraud, since in-person fraud – the sort of voting shenanigans that voter ID laws are able to thwart – just isn’t a problem. A Brennan Center for Justice analysis found that such voter fraud happens at a rate of 0.0004 percent – less than the chance a person will be struck and killed by lightning. Voter ID laws were passed exclusively in states with Republican governors and Republican-dominated legislatures, using fraud as a smokescreen for a more sinister intent: Voter ID laws disproportionately prevent poor minority voters from casting ballots, since they’re the group most likely to not have a driver’s license or other government-issued ID.” [Star-Ledger Editorial, 5/1/14]