Licensed to Ill

When the modern-day Republican Party is not denying the science of global warming, restricting women’s access to healthcare or searching the halls of government for Muslims, they are investigating the ongoing threat of voter fraud.

The GOP has been working overtime introducing legislation for new voter ID rules at the polls, as well as warning nominees of voter fraud. RNC Chairman and potential Star Wars cantina alien Reince Priebus stalwartly did this last year in Wisconsin, claiming the state “was absolutely riddled” with it.

After looking into Wisconsin’s 2004 election, the non-partisan Brennan Center for Justice only found 7 cases of voter fraud out of 3 million votes. The rate of fraud breaks down to 0.0002%. The only conclusion I can reach is that Priebus has about as firm a grip on the meaning of “riddled” as Michele Bachmann does on reality.

The Center explains in their study that the 7 cases mentioned above would not have been prevented by a voter ID law, nor would the 250 fraud claims the center has analyzed submitted by those supporting the respondents in the Supreme Court’s photo ID case.

Yet, the lack of evidence supporting the claims of a voter fraud epidemic have not stopped the GOP from pursuing legislation of voter suppression… I mean to prevent voter fraud.

Since 2011, 24 voting restrictions have passed in 17 states while 74 additional bills are still pending in 24 states.

12 states introduced laws requiring a birth certificate or other proof of citizenship. Interesting fact, only 48% of women have a birth certificate with their current legal name on it.

In March, the Justice Department rejected a Texas voter ID law that would have prohibited more than 38% of the state’s Latino population from voting. The Texas ID law excluded the use of state-issued student photo IDs and state employee IDs, but a concealed handgun license was an acceptable form of identification.

According to the Brennan Center, voter ID laws would prohibit 21 million people from voting, which translates to 11% of Americans. Considering the last 3 presidential elections in select key battleground states were decided by less than 1% margins, to quote Vice President Biden, “This is a big fucking deal.”

The same study also concludes that 25% of African Americans would be affected by the new restrictions.

There must be a legitimate reason for this sudden surge in voter fraud legislation by the GOP.

The above clip is of Pennsylvania Republican House Leader Mike Turzai letting the cat out of the bag. This explains the targeting of lower income, young and minority voters, all groups that tend to vote democratically. It is also important to note the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department is currently investigating the state’s new voter ID law, so don’t get too excited there, Turzai.

Republican Georgia Representative Sue Burmeister shed even more light on the subject when discussing the issue with the Justice Department (this will be a trend) regarding her state’s own voter ID legislation, explaining “if there are fewer black votes because of this bill, it will only be because there is less opportunity for fraud.”

I imagine there is not a lot of diversity in Ms. Burmeister’s campaign headquarters.

The subject of race also came up in Florida’s former Republican Party chairman Jim Greer’s deposition, which was released last week. Greer, who is currently facing corruption charges, spoke of a meeting with party officials and told lawyers, “I was upset because the political consultants and staff were talking about voter suppression and keeping blacks from voting.”

Voter ID laws are not the only method used as a hurdle against the Obama re-election campaign. Early voting has found its way into the GOP’s crosshairs:

  • Georgia reduced early voting from 45 to 21 days
  • Ohio reduced early voting by 3 days
  • Florida reduced from 2 weeks to 8 days
  • Florida and Ohio banned voting on the Sunday before the election

The last point mentioned above is particularly noteworthy. In a May piece for Rolling Stone, writer Ari Berman noted members of black churches typically vote on the Sunday before the election, also known as “souls to the polls.”

Currently in Florida, Republican Governor Rick Scott has been purging voter rolls in the state. This may sound familiar because it was a move Florida made in the 2000 election, which resulted in 12,000 individuals being wrongly turned away from the polls on Election Day. To put it a bit more in perspective, Bush won Florida by 537 votes.

The Justice Department is currently suing the state of Florida over their latest purging.

The opening of this piece would be considered a joke if it were not reality. For a political party that places the blame of the poor economy and lack of jobs on the current President, it is incredible to me since they do anything and everything but create a serviceable Jobs Bill.

It makes sense though. The modern-day Republican Party does not want to make voting easy (or in cases accessible) for many voters; why would they want to assist them in the job market?

Voter fraud is nearly a non-existent issue, and the few miniscule issues that do arise would not be solved by the solutions presented by the GOP.

This is simply yet another outrageous crusade of right wing politics on taxpayer time and money.

I consistently witness supporters of the modern-day Republican Party argue against the Democrats for investing in clean technology, healthcare and American industries, while they accept the GOP using their money as subsidies for big oil, re-affirming our national motto, creating legislation against women’s healthcare, and now, limiting citizens’ voting rights.

General Motors is now the number one seller of automobiles in the world and children can still get coverage with pre-existing conditions.

Remind me, what has BP done for you lately?

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