Voting Rights Barriers Pay Off for Republicans

Voting Rights Barriers Pay Off for Republicans May 10, 2012

After the Republican takeover of so many state legislatures and governors’ mansions in 2010, they immediately launched a campaign to make it far more difficult to vote. Using the fake ACORN “scandals” as an excuse, many states have made it far more difficult to register and to vote. Mission accomplished.

The number of black and Hispanic registered voters has fallen sharply since 2008, posing a serious challenge to the Obama campaign in an election that could turn on the participation of minority voters.

In the 2008 election, robust turnout among black and Latino voters is credited with putting Obama over the top in key swing states, including Virginia and New Mexico.

Voter rolls typically shrink in non-presidential election years and registrations among whites fell at roughly the same rate, but this is the first time in nearly four decades that the number of registered Hispanics has dropped significantly.

That figure fell 5 percent across the country, to about 11 million, according to the Census Bureau. But in some politically important swing states, the decline among Hispanics, who are considered critical in the 2012 presidential contest, is much higher: just over 28 percent in New Mexico, for example, and about 10 percent in Florida.

For blacks, whose registration numbers are down 7 percent nationwide, and Hispanics, the large decrease is attributed to the ailing economy, which forced many Americans to move in search of work or because of other financial upheaval.

This is exactly why they’ve passed those laws. In Florida, they’ve made it so difficult to run a voter registration drive that even the venerable League of Women Voters were forced to suspend their voter registration programs there. And it worked. As I’ve written many times, the Republicans have a major demographic problem right now; their solution to that problem, in the short run, is to prevent as many young and minority voters from getting to the polls as possible.

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