The Wall Street Journal ignored evidence that newly passed restrictions on voting rights could make it more difficult for millions of eligible voters to vote in 2012, while letting former Bush DOJ official Hans von Spakovsky claim there is “no evidence” those restrictions could suppress voting. The Brennan Center for Justice estimated that changes to voting laws could suppress up to five million votes during the 2012 elections.
Wall Street Journal Helps Hans Von Spakovsky Dismiss Concerns Of Voter Suppression
WSJ: Spakovsky “Said There's No Evidence” GOP Voting Laws Could Suppress Voters. The Wall Street Journal reported:
More than 30 states have changed voter laws since 2008, including seven that added requirements that voters show photo identification at their polling places. Republicans say limits on early voting are needed to cut the administrative costs of elections, and new I.D. requirements are necessary to defend polling places from fraud.
Democrats say both types of rules are aimed at suppressing their vote. The Obama campaign was adept in 2008 at bringing first-time voters to the polls during early voting periods, and groups it's now targeting--students, the elderly and the poor--are the most likely to not have a government-issued photo I.D.
Hans von Spakovsky, a former Federal Election Commission board member now with the right-leaning Heritage Foundation, said there's no evidence the new voter laws would suppress Democratic voters. [The Wall Street Journal, 11/2/11]
Brennan Center For Justice: Restrictive Voting Laws Could Make It “Significantly Harder” For Millions To Cast Votes
Brennan Center For Justice Estimates “More Than Five Million Voters Could Be Affected By The New Laws.” The Brennan Center for Justice issued a report estimating that newly enacted restrictions on voting “could make it significantly harder for more than 5 million eligible voters to cast ballots in 2012.” From the Brennan Center for Justice:
1. 3.2 million voters affected by new photo ID laws. New photo ID laws for voting will be in effect for the 2012 election in five states (Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin), which have a combined citizen voting age population of just under 29 million. 3.2 million (11 percent) of those potential voters do not have state-issued photo ID. Rhode Island voters are excluded from this count, because Rhode Island's new law's requirements are significantly less onerous than those in the other states.
2. 240,000 additional citizens and potential voters affected by new proof of citizenship laws. New proof of citizenship laws will be in effect in three states (Alabama, Kansas, Tennessee), two of which will also have new photo ID laws. Assuming conservatively that those without proof of citizenship overlap substantially with those without state-issued photo ID, we excluded those two states. The citizen voting age population in the remaining state (Alabama) is 3.43 million; 240,000 (7 percent) of those potential voters do not have documentary proof of citizenship.
3. 202,000 voters registered in 2008 through voter registration drives that have now been made extremely difficult or impossible under new laws. Two states (Florida and Texas) passed laws restricting voter registration drives, causing all or most of those drives to stop. In 2008, 2.13 million voters registered in Florida and, very conservatively, at least 8.24 percent or 176,000 of them did so through drives. At least 501,000 voters registered in Texas, and at least 5.13 percent or 26,000 of them did so via drives.
4. 60,000 voters registered in 2008 through Election Day voter registration where it has now been repealed. Maine abolished Election Day registration. In 2008, 60,000 Maine citizens registered and voted on Election Day.
5. One to two million voters who voted in 2008 on days eliminated under new laws rolling back early voting. The early voting period was cut by half or more in three states (Florida, Georgia and Ohio). In 2008, nearly 8 million Americans voted early in these states. An estimated 1 to 2 million voted on days eliminated by these new laws.
6. At least 100,000 disenfranchised citizens who might have regained voting rights by 2012. Two states (Florida and Iowa) made it substantially more difficult or impossible for people with past felony convictions to get their voting rights restored. Up to one million people in Florida could have benefited from the prior practice; based on the rates of restoration in Florida under the prior policy, 100,000 citizens likely would have gotten their rights restored by 2012. Other voting restrictions passed this year that are not included in this estimate. [Voting Law Changes In 2012, Brennan Center for Justice, October 2011; Brennan Center for Justice, 10/3/11]