Since Republicans gained control of so many state legislatures in 2010, they’ve been working to pass laws that make voting harder. We’ve been asking on the show whether they’ve made voting hard enough, in enough places, to change the landscape in 2012.
Now, from the Brennan Center for Justice, comes the beginning of an answer:
The states that have already cut back on voting rights will provide 171 electoral votes in 2012 – 63 percent of the 270 needed to win the presidency.
In those states, minority, student and poor voters are most likely to feel the pinch from the new rules. As many as one in four African-Americans don’t have the kind of photo ID needed to vote. In Maine, after finding almost no evidence of voter fraud, the Secretary of State sent college students a letter saying they might be in violation of the law. And in Wisconsin, you can get a free photo ID from the Department of Motor Vehicles – if you know to ask for it.
On the Brennan Center map above, states in red attempted to pass new restrictions on voting. The ones with other symbols succeeded. A quick key: “ID” means new requirements for showing photo ID at the polls. A star means proving citizenship. The hand and pen stand for restrictions on voter registration; the envelope for shortened windows on absentee and early voting; and the gavel for executive orders that make it harder to restore voting rights.