It’s no surprise that when the two biggest political fractions in the country, the Republicans and Democrats, head to war that the will of the regular people suffer. In what has been an almost comical, if it weren’t so depressing, exchange of political machinations and legislative brawls, a widespread effort to restrict votes in swing states has been implemented.
Last year, several important swing states, those states that can go either way during the election, have experienced an almost unheard of and possibly unconstitutional legislative battle. Why? Who benefits?
GOP restricts voting laws
If you belong to a certain race or economic class in these swing states the odds are good that you are getting oppressed in a very vague and inoffensive way. With new voting laws in effect that seem to specifically target certain socio-economic groups, many Democratic leaders feel that their base is being attacked.
One of the more fervently fought legislative amendments is how a voter identifies his or herself on the day of the election. On a typical, pre-2014, election day voters would be able to arrive to their booth of choice with their license and voting card, and that would be the end of the story.
Now there have been strict laws that will require an even more extensive identity verification process on the front end. Potential voters will need to have their birth certificate or passport on hand to be able to enter the booths. This new change seems to specifically target the class of folks who don’t have those kind of documents on hand.
Many poor citizens don’t have passports or easy access to these documents. In order to procure these documents there is a huge investment of time. This wait ensures that many people will not get a chance to vote.
Among other procedural changes, Southern swing states include the shortened early voting length, the lack of pre-registration for high school students, and the exclusion of a student’s and worker’s IDs as a proof of identity. In Wisconsin, the GOP is attempting to limit voting to weekdays, shorten early voting, and further restrict absentee ballot applications. The Democrats, needless to say, have been livid with these changes.
When will these new changes go into effect?
While there is a dearth of changes currently being unrolled in these key swing states, many of them will not go into effect until 2016 at the earliest. Because of the nature of these laws, and the way they will be challenged, some of them can be expected to be ardently fought in court, if not repealed entirely.
Why is there such a push for change?
The GOP is likely seeing a weak opponent in the present day Democratic party. The Affordable Care Act has not been the slam dunk success that the Democrats were hoping for and, as a result, their base seems to be on the slide.
If the GOP can reduce an already reduced base, through legal and ‘ethical’ measures, there is the possibility that these swing states will move in favor of whatever Republican candidate it is that takes the podium at the next big election.
With so many different bills being passed around, it can be hard to keep up with what exactly is happening in these important states. For those readers that live in a contested state, it wouldn’t be harmful to keep an eye on all of the changes and to be ready, and careful, during the next election process. An American’s vote is his/her fundamental right, and not the one to be squashed.