No less, of course, than the multi-state movement from Republicans to pass laws requiring that voters show a valid photo ID in order to vote -- in order to vote in person, that is. Anyone can vote by absentee ballot without such ID. All honest, thinking people recognize this for what it is: requiring a government issued photo ID, such as driver's license, passport, or special ID that requires too much effort for some people to get, is a hardship for poor people and the elderly. And we know how those groups tends to vote.
Now comes some info to back up these claims from a New York Times op-ed by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), "A Poll Tax by Another Name:"
". . . Despite decades of progress, this year’s Republican-backed wave of voting restrictions has demonstrated that the fundamental right to vote is still subject to partisan manipulation. The most common new requirement, that citizens obtain and display unexpired government-issued photo identification before entering the voting booth, was advanced in 35 states and passed by Republican legislatures in Alabama, Minnesota, Missouri and nine other states — despite the fact that as many as 25 percent of African-Americans lack acceptable identification.
"Having fought for voting rights as a student, I am especially troubled that these laws disproportionately affect young voters. Students at state universities in Wisconsin cannot vote using their current IDs (because the new law requires the cards to have signatures, which those do not). South Carolina prohibits the use of student IDs altogether. Texas also rejects student IDs, but allows voting by those who have a license to carry a concealed handgun. These schemes are clearly crafted to affect not just how we vote, but who votes.
"Conservative proponents have argued for photo ID mandates by claiming that widespread voter impersonation exists in America, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. While defending its photo ID law before the Supreme Court, Indiana was unable to cite a single instance of actual voter impersonation at any point in its history. Likewise, in Kansas, there were far more reports of U.F.O. sightings than allegations of voter fraud in the past decade. . . .
"In Georgia, Florida, Ohio and other states, legislatures have significantly reduced opportunities to cast ballots before Election Day — an option that was disproportionately used by African-American voters in 2008. [because it gives more options for those who have trouble getting time off from work to vote. Other states have put restrictions on voter registration drives that tend to attract those who vote Democratic.] . . .
"These restrictions purportedly apply to all citizens equally. In reality, we know that they will disproportionately burden African Americans and other racial minorities, yet again. They are poll taxes by another name."
Here's what I know is also disproportional: the use of such schemes for manipulating the vote by Republicans. Democrats are not without some guilt of their own, but nothing like the wide-spread, coordinated policy that then tries to explain the need for it in pious terms that we know are false.
The tactical differences are telling: Democrats support efforts to register more voters and concentrate on get-out-the-vote drives that tend to yield Democratic voters. That's perfectly legal and admirable: just getting more voters to the polls. On the other hand, Republicans pass laws that tend to selectively limit who votes (organized efforts to purge voting lists, restrictive voter ID laws, limits on early voting, and other selectively intimidating tactics).
As I wrote last week: this is downright un-American, trying to selectively suppress the vote. And these people are the first to wrap themselves in the flag and proclaim their patriotism.