New Voting Rules Could Hurt 5 Million Voters

The number of voters who could be affected is larger than the margin of victory in two of the last three presidential elections.

Posted:
 
vote
Changes in voting laws will have a major impact. (Thinkstock)

Jorge Rivas of ColorLines is reporting that a new study from the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU puts forth an ominous prediction: Five million voters could be affected by the deluge of restrictive voting laws that have swept the country in recent years. The report finds that the voters are from traditionally Democratic demographics and could be kept away from the polling booths in 2012. Most important, the sheer number of voters who could be affected is larger than the margin of victory in two of the last three presidential elections.

State governments across the country have enacted an array of new laws that make it harder for likely voters to register. The new rules include often costly voter ID laws; proof of citizenship requirements; and the elimination of early, absentee and Election Day registration programs. For many states, the new rules are costly for both residents and state governments.

"Already 19 new laws and two new executive actions are in place and at least 42 bills are still pending," according to the report "Voting Law Changes in 2012."

These new restrictions fall most heavily on the young, low-income citizens and voters of color, as well as on voters with disabilities.

This story is going from bad to worse. We've reported on the GOP assault on voting rights and how they are working to change voting laws ahead of the 2012 election. Why aren't people vigorously addressing or protesting these changes? Will it be business as usual? Will people notice what's going on only after the 2012 election? If so, it will be much too late.

Read more at ColorLines.

Like The Root on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.