FOR a century, the nation has expanded the right to vote.Many people lack state ID cards. The reasons vary, but they usually have to do with a lack of money (when you're struggling to stay afloat, purchasing an ID card isn't exactly a priority), mobility (some people don't have transportation, or for health reasons cannot stand in line), or some combination thereof. Enacting voter ID laws prevents these folks from voting. And Republicans know their demographics quite well. Poor folks (who are disproportionately minorities) and old folks vote Democratic, therefore voter ID laws prevent Democrats from voting. It's that simple.
This has been accomplished, in part, by inclusion -- the Amendment giving women the right to vote; the Voting Rights Act, guaranteeing blacks the right to vote; and the Amendment lowering voting age from 21 to 18.
It has also been accomplished by removing barriers -- such as the poll tax and unreasonable restrictions on the casting of absentee ballots -- and by the innovation of early voting in some states.
Still, actual participation has tended to lag that of most other developed, democratic nations. The American problem of elections, which legitimate democratic governance, has not been voter fraud, but, rather, lack of participation.
But the Republican Party has an existential problem: Its base of adherents is shrinking as a proportion of the growing voting-age population.
So, Republicans have concocted an ingenious solution: Promote the disenfranchisement of potential voters under the cover of protecting the democratic process.
That, in a nutshell, summarizes the cynicism behind the so-called “voter ID” laws and other restrictions that have sprung up in statehouses across the nation.
And the courts have been doing a good job of unraveling a lot of the damage the GOP is doing to our democratic (small "D") principles. But they keep trying. I'm sure most of the GOP would actually be happy to return to the 19th century when only property owners could vote.
So, it's refreshing to see an editorial board provide to its readership some analysis of this situation. Go read the whole thing.