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Over the years it has been interesting to watch the Republican Party's consistent efforts to keep Americans from being able to vote. In a democracy of and by the people, you'd think that all elected officials would be in favor of as many Americans voting in elections as possible. But that is not true of Republican elected officials. Every time Republicans occupy political seats of power, they seek to pass laws and rules restricting voting.
To illustrate the egregiousness of the GOP's actions to prevent voters from voting, consider this: You take your car in for a routine maintenance check. The car has been running fine, no noticeable problems. The mechanic explains to you that although you haven't been experiencing any problems, the car's motor needs to be replaced just in case the motor experiences a problem in the future. You can imagine what your response would be.
That is the same approach Republican leaders take towards voting rights. In America there has never been a convincing case made....anywhere.....proving that voter fraud is a threat to our electoral system. American voters do not try to vote more than once, or impersonate someone else when voting. Despite what Foxians and Republicans blabber on about....to date, there is no evidence of any organized effort to "skew federal elections"....NY Times, 2007...
Five years after the Bush administration began a crackdown on voter fraud, the Justice Department has turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections, according to court records and interviews.
Remember here, the findings were from a Republican administration's Justice Department.....even a GOP Justice Department couldn't find any evidence of "massive" voter fraud, as the screechers on Fox put it. Of the few cases where voter fraud has been alleged.....most were because of "mistakenly filled out registration forms or misunderstood eligibility rules."
Why then....knowing that cases of voter fraud are virtually non-existent....are so many GOP-led state governments rushing to pass new stringent "voter ID" laws?
According to state Democrats, an estimated 890,000 Ohioans do not have a government-issued photo ID. A disproportionate number of these people are African-Americans, Latinos, seniors, and students -- groups that tend to vote Democratic. In fact, nationwide about 25 percent of African Americans do not have a photo ID and nor do a fifth of voters between 18 and 22.
So what does Ohio's GOP-controlled state legislature come up with?
...a bill that would require voters to show one of five forms of ID to vote in person: an Ohio driver’s license, state ID, military ID, U.S. passport, or “a new, free photo ID that State Bureau of Motor Vehicles would dispense to indigent citizens who qualify.” Currently, voters must show a photo ID or present a utility bill, bank statement, paycheck or government document with a current name and address. Unlike other states’ photo ID laws, HB 159 would not even allow students to use IDs issued by state colleges.
Why is HB 159 necessary?
The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Bob Mecklenborg, said HB 159 is necessary in order to prevent voter fraud.
“It is important that as lawmakers, we work to maintain integrity at the polls and address the issue of voter fraud, which has become a significant problem in Ohio,” he said in a press release that addressed the bill’s passage.
If voter fraud is a "significant problem" in Ohio, how many cases are we talking about?
Voter identification analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice..... found “four instances of ineligible persons voting or attempting to vote in 2002 and  out of 9,078,728 votes cast — a rate of 0.00004%.”
How do Republicans respond when they find out that voter fraud in Ohio doesn't, you know, really exist?
Despite the lack of evidence, (GOP Rep.) Mecklenborg said that voter impersonation is a serious problem.
“I believe it happens, but it’s proving a negative,” he told reporters shortly after HB 159 passed the House. “It’s impossible to prove a negative. How do you prove that fraud doesn’t exist there?”
Get it? Although your car has been running just fine, the mechanic would be trying to prove a negative to demonstrate that your engine needs replaced anyway, and it's impossible to prove a negative....so just to be safe....you need to replace your car's motor.
This attempt by Republicans to disenfranchise primarily Democratic voters is going on in 22 states right now. There is no evidence that voter impersonation, multiple voting or "massive", "significant" voter fraud exists in any of those 22 states. But just like the crooked mechanic, Republicans insist a fix is needed for something which is not broken.
More evidence that today's Republican Party doesn't really support government of, for and by the people.
To it's credit, the Akron Beacon Journal has a good editorial in today's paper on this topic.