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Posted by on May 30, 2011 in Politics | 19 comments

Linking Money to Votes…

To be more precise: linking right wing moneybags with efforts to suppress the vote.

For example, this reminder from Smirking Chimp:

“The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative organization linked to corporate and right-wing donors, including the billionaire Koch Brothers, [see “Smart ALEC: Dragging the Secretive Conservative Organization Out of the Shadows”] has drafted and distributed model legislation, obtained by Campus Progress, that appears to be the inspiration for bills proposed by state legislators this year and promoted by Tea Party activists, bills that would limit access of young people to vote,” Tobin Van Ostern reported in Campus Progress in early March (“Conservative Corporate Advocacy Group ALEC Behind Voter Disenfranchisement Efforts”).

Van Ostern wrote: “According to research by the Fair Elections Legal Network (FELN) and Campus Progress, in the past six years, seven states have enacted laws that disenfranchise students or make it more difficult for them to vote. This year, 18 additional states are considering similar laws, while other states are proposing voter ID laws that would depress turnout among other groups of voters — particularly those who traditionally lean left.

“These requirements run the gamut from requiring in-state driver’s licenses, to banning school IDs, to prohibiting first-time voters – essentially every college-aged voter – from voting by absentee ballot. All together, these barriers create new logistical and financial barriers for many people attempting to vote.”

Put that together with this recent report from the New York Times:

Less than 18 months before the next presidential election, Republican-controlled statehouses around the country are rewriting voting laws to require photo identification at the polls, reduce the number of days of early voting or tighten registration rules.

Republican legislators say the new rules, which have advanced in 13 states in the past two months, offer a practical way to weed out fraudulent votes and preserve the integrity of the ballot box. Democrats say the changes have little to do with fraud prevention and more to do with placing obstacles in the way of possible Democratic voters, including young people and minorities….

… Democrats say thousands of people in each state do not have these. The extra step, they add, will discourage some voters who will have to pay to retrieve documents, like birth certificates, for proof to obtain a free card. If voters do not have the proper identification on Election Day, they can cast provisional ballots in most states but must return several days later to a local board of elections office with an ID.

A few state bills and laws also shave the number of early voting days, a move that Democrats say would impact Democratic voters once again. In the 2008 presidential election, a majority of those who cast early votes did so for President Obama. In Florida, the number of days is reduced but the number of hours remains the same.

Democrats point to state figures showing that there are few proven cases of voter impersonation and question why budget-conscious Republicans would want to spend taxpayer dollars on a problem that is isolated.

“There is not one documented case that has been presented to us, and we had numerous hearings,” said State Senator Brad Hutto of South Carolina, a Democrat. “Republicans have to have some reason to do this because it doesn’t sound good to say, ‘We don’t want Latinos or African-Americans voting.’ ”

The Times needs to form a new habit: look behind the gradual erosion of civil rights and find who’s paying the bills. So far, the Times telling only one side of that story and often missing the point. Links, guys. Links!

Cross posted from the blog Prairie Weather.