Virginia’s Voter ID law is being challenged in court and with the loss of a conservative majority on the Supreme Court, this might just be the first domino to fall, signaling the end of wide-spread voter suppression by Republicans:
(Reuters) – A Virginia law requiring voters to show photo identification goes on trial in federal court on Monday, with Democratic officials claiming it is discriminatory and aimed at keeping party voters from casting ballots.
Defenders of the 2013 Virginia law say that it is aimed at preventing voter fraud. The trial, in U.S. district court in Richmond, Virginia, is one of several voting rights legal battles in process as Democrats and Republicans square off ahead of November’s presidential election.
The Democratic Party of Virginia and two party activists are suing the Virginia State Board of Elections and want Judge Henry Hudson to strike down the law.
The problem for the right is that the premise behind these laws has always been a lie. Republicans only became “concerned” with “voter fraud” when it became clear that their white hegemony was in immediate danger. Adding to this problem was the over-the-top way Republicans attacked people’s ability to vote. If Voter ID had been a stand alone law, then Republicans MIGHT have been able to maintain the fiction that it was just about voter fraud. However, they also cut voting hours, the number of polling places (but only in Democratic-leaning areas), made the IDs difficult to get and, of course, kept bragging about how it would hurt the Democrats.
And just to be absolutely clear that Voter ID laws are bullshit, here’s my favorite quote from the New York Times (4/12/2007):
Five years after the Bush administration began a crackdown on voter fraud, the Justice Department has turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections, according to court records and interviews.
Although Republican activists have repeatedly said fraud is so widespread that it has corrupted the political process and, possibly, cost the party election victories, about 120 people have been charged and 86 convicted as of last year.
Widespread voter fraud does not exist.
The only way for a court to uphold Voter ID is to willfully turn a blind eye to the glaring pattern of voter suppression Republicans have openly laid out. If you’re wondering why they were so brazen, it’s because they were quite confidant that the Supreme Court would back their partisan attack on democracy. After all, they gutted the Voting Rights Act by claiming, in all seriousness, that racism in America was over and keeping (mostly southern) states from blocking minorities from voting wasn’t necessary. Southern states immediately responded by passing laws blocking minorities from voting.
Now that Republicans no longer have a friendly SCOTUS to allow their shenanigans, the number of lawsuits against Voter ID and the laundry list of voter suppression tactics is going to grow. According to Yahoo, Kansas and North Carolina’s ID laws are also under fire. Not a great time to be a Republican…
Featured image via onewisconsinnow.org