Voter misdirection seemed to be the order of the day for the 2012 election.
In Virginia, Florida and North Carolina, Latino, African American and elderly voters received phone calls telling them they could vote over the phone by providing their name and address to the caller. Other voters in Florida and in Washington, D.C., received robocalls telling them the election was Wednesday, not Tuesday. In Ohio and Arizona, government authorities sent notices announcing the election was on Nov. 8 instead of Nov. 6. In Pennsylvania and Arizona, voters were left messages directing them to the wrong polling places.
As disturbing as it sounds, this purposeful voter misinformation looks relatively benign in the face of reports of voter intimidation. For example:
-- A group of poll monitors in Ohio was barred from the polls after they took photos of voters as they entered the polling place and recorded their names on tablet computers.
-- Latino and African American voters in Florida reported receiving phone calls saying that poll workers would be checking their car insurance and registration status when they arrived at the polls. In other cases, voters waited in line for four to six hours to vote.
-- Voters in Pennsylvania showed up to polling stations to find signs saying photo identification was required - when state law says it is necessary only for first-time voters.
When it comes to voter turnout, the United States is an outlier among advanced industrial democracies. To strengthen our democracy, Americans should be actively working to end these restrictive laws and to find ways to increase voter participation - not restrict it.
These varied attempts to restrict eligible voters' access to the polls are part of a larger movement to repress the vote of certain voters. Since 2011, 19 states have passed laws that restrict voter registration efforts and establish voter identification requirements - laws that the Brennan Center for Justice estimates will disenfranchise the 11 percent of eligible voters who do not have a government-issued photo identification.
Although many of those laws were not in effect in 2012, laws in 13 states were in force for the 2012 presidential election. The Republican Party backed most of these laws, largely because the party realizes that demographic trends make it impossible for them to remain a majority party absent this type of voter suppression.
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/article/Voter-ID-laws-why-we-should-care-4024358.php#ixzz2BvV7dtr3