Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Republicans don't want Georgians to vote.

Recently, Georgia voted to eliminate 12 of the 17 forms of identification a voter may present a the polls to prove their identity; House Bill 244 and Senate Bill 84 won 98 and 31 votes, respectively.

Republicans claim that they want to reduce voter fraud, but when prompted, they could provide no evidence of the fraud they claim exists, let alone prove that this effort would eliminate it. According to Senate Democratic Whip David Adelman*:

The author of the bill claims the purpose of the legislation was to cut down on voter fraud in Georgia. But, when questioned on the Senate floor, he could point to not a single case of voter fraud. In the end, this bill seems designed to make it harder to vote. And, it would seem to work a particular hardship on minorities, the elderly, recent immigrants and students. It escapes me why Georgia would need to be more restrictive than suggested by the R Congress and George W. Bush.
The bill seems sure to pass. But, it may run into problems when it comes to getting approval under the Voting Rights Act by the Department of Justice and the federal courts. There is simply no good rationale for eliminating some of the types of identification allowed by federal law such as a student ID, a social security card or a birth certificate. The bill is moving on strictly partisan support (Rs are for it and Ds are against it.) I voted against this bill and will work to stop it from becoming law.
This bill demonstrates just how out of touch some of the proposals brought forward this Session are with ordinary people who may not have a valid passport or even a valid drivers license. You won't find many of those people voting in the more wealthy precincts in our state. Maybe that is why they are being discouraged from voting.

The Republicans did the math. They decided that if they eliminated these forms of identification, the Democrats would lose more voters than the Republicans. I wouldn't be surprised if they chose to eliminate those forms of identification that they believe Democratic voters are more likely to carry, to maximize the effect. They know that this will disenfranchise voters, even their own; they don't care, because they know that it will harm the opposition more than it will harm their supporters.

It's difficult to find a more damning indictment of the Republican Party than that: they would abrogate the right of their own supporters to vote for the sake of political advantage over the opposition.

What next, Republicans? What further harm will you do to democracy?

* I altered the paragraphing.