New voter bills cause Republicans to look desperate and suspicious

Rana Harvey

With Election Day around the corner, Republicans and Democrats alike are doing everything in their power to sway the public in their favor.

Republicans, however, are taking a more conventional approach by directly targeting voters. These extreme measures make them less focused on doing what’s best for Americans and more focused on doing what’s best for their party – accomplishing their party’s goal of making President Obama a one-term president.

So it comes as no surprise to me that what started as an act to ensure voter identification quickly spiraled into an act of voter suppression.

Last Monday, Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling helped secure approval for a bill that would require Virginians to show an ID to cast a ballot on Election Day. Those who failed to provide proper identification would be able to cast a provisional vote, but would have to return later with proof of identity. Those who failed to return, however, would simply have their vote thrown out.

Although Republicans claim that voter fraud is indeed an issue and should be treated as such, no one has provided any hard evidence of that reality. In fact, their proposed bills make their motives seem suspicious.

According to “Take Action Minnesota,” a campaign aimed at educating Minnesotans about voter suppression, “Introducing a constitutional amendment is a way to circumvent the usual legislative process and the Governor’s veto power.”

So what must be the real issue if the concern isn’t voter fraud?

Because Virginia is certain to play a leading role in President Obama’s re-election, Republican efforts to suppress voters’ rights here in our backyards will severely affect students, minorities, the elderly and disabled. According to a study by the RFP, over 600,000 Virginia voters could wind up with their votes being trashed.

Though Republican supporters of the legislation highlight platitudes such as “importance of ensuing voter integrity” and “making sure that the person voting is, in fact, the person voting,” it is clear that this is just an attempt to appease detractors. Republicans are denying all discriminatory motives and standing behind their bills.

Furthermore, the legislation would suffice if instances of voter fraud and concern over voters’ identification were serious issues in the electoral process. According to the Richmond Free Press, Civil Liberties Union of Virginia studies show that voter fraud is virtually non-existent.

What is most important – and a real, serious concern – is that the maximum amount of Americans have access to their right to vote. It’s evident that Republicans are making concentrated efforts to silence voters just to uphold their own selfish motives.

What they should be creating are solutions to today’s pressing problems, not solutions for problems that don’t even exist.

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