New York University School of Law's Brennan Center for Justice released a new study Monday detailing how widespread voter suppression has become as Republicans took over statehouses across the nation.
Here's the breakdown of those five million potentially disenfranchised citizens (from the report overview [PDF]).
- 3.2 million voters affected by new photo ID laws. New photo ID laws for voting will be in effect for the 2012 election in five states (Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin), which have a combined citizen voting age population of just under 29 million. 3.2 million (11 percent) of those potential voters do not have state-issued photo ID. Rhode Island voters are excluded from this count, because Rhode Island’s new law’s requirements are significantly less onerous than those in the other states.
- 240,000 additional citizens and potential voters affected by new proof of citizenship laws. New proof of citizenship laws will be in effect in three states (Alabama, Kansas, Tennessee), two of which will also have new photo ID laws. Assuming conservatively that those without proof of citizenship overlap substantially with those without state-issued photo ID, we excluded those two states. The citizen voting age population in the remaining state (Alabama) is 3.43 million; 240,000 (7 percent) of those potential voters do not have documentary proof of citizenship.
- 202,000 voters registered in 2008 through voter registration drives that have now been made extremely difficult or impossible under new laws. Two states (Florida and Texas) passed laws restricting voter registration drives, causing all or most of those drives to stop. In 2008, 2.13 million voters registered in Florida and, very conservatively, at least 8.24 percent or 176,000 of them did so through drives. At least 501,000 voters registered in Texas, and at least 5.13 percent or 26,000 of them did so via drives.
- 60,000 voters registered in 2008 through Election Day voter registration where it has now been repealed. Maine abolished Election Day registration. In 2008, 60,000 Maine citizens registered and voted on Election Day.
- One to two million voters who voted in 2008 on days eliminated under new laws rolling back early voting. The early voting period was cut by half or more in three states (Florida, Georgia and Ohio). In 2008, nearly 8 million Americans voted early in these states. An estimated 1 to 2 million voted on days eliminated by these new laws.
- At least 100,000 disenfranchised citizens who might have regained voting rights by 2012. Two states (Florida and Iowa) made it substantially more difficult or impossible for people with past felony convictions to get their voting rights restored. Up to one million people in Florida could have benefited from the prior practice; based on the rates of restoration in Florida under the prior policy, 100,000 citizens likely would have gotten their rights restored by 2012. Other voting restrictions passed this year that are not included in this estimate.
These are just the laws passed so far. As many as 34 states have introduced legislation in the last 2 years to require government-issued photo identification to vote. At least 12 have introduced legislation requiring proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate, to register to vote. As many as 13 states have introduced legislation ending same-day registration and limiting voter registration drives like those traditionally done by the League of Women Voters. At least nine states have introduced legislation to shorten early voting periods and four have tried to limit absentee voting.
The potential outcome of taking five million votes out of the mix in 2012? It could be the presidency, according to the Brennan Center.
- The states that have already cut back on voting rights will provide 171 electoral votes in 2012 – 63 percent of the 270 needed to win the presidency.
- Of the 12 likely battleground states, as assessed by an August Los Angeles Times analysis of Gallup polling, five have already cut back on voting rights (and may pass additional restrictive legislation), and two more are currently considering new restrictions.
And you know, of course, who is being disenfranchised: "young, minority, and low-income voters, as well as on voters with disabilities." In other words, people who generally vote Democratic. Which means it's a no-brainer that much of the legislation introduced and passed around the country is the work of ALEC, American Legislative Exchange Council, the Koch brother's toy for taking over the country.