Republicans across the country have relentlessly pressed for voter ID laws that threaten to disenfranchise millions of voters-- most of them low-income citizens and people of color. Proponents of the discriminatory ID laws claim they're needed to end voter fraud and preserve the integrity of voting-- a phantom threat that has proved more myth than anything. So yesterday, when Iowans participated in the Republican caucus, we were left scratching our heads when they were allowed to vote without an ID and even granted same-day registration.
So, why the double standard? Why hasn't today brought widespread accusations that fraudulent voters raced to the polls last night in Iowa?
It's especially perplexing considering that the vote was so close. Mitt Romney only won by eight votes, the kind of narrow margin that usually triggers a chorus of voices concerned that some fraud or other form of vote tampering was afoot. It seems as long as the vote is taking place in a state like Iowa, which is 91% white, there's no need to fear.
If you're up on our recent campaign against corporate-backed voter suppression, you know that Republican claims of rampant voter fraud are actually part of a long-standing agenda to suppress the Black vote as well as access to the polls for other groups that traditionally vote Democrat: people of color, elderly and disabled folks and youth.
When the Department of Justice blocked the South Carolina voter ID law late last month, they specifically referenced the disproportionate effect the laws would have on minority voters (see the bottom of page three). This was an important step, but there is still much to be done to ensure Black folks won't be kept from the polls this election season.
If you missed our related campaign to end corporate-backed voter suppression, please join us here.