War On War On Voting

This does seem to be the week for a serious pushback against ongoing conservative voter suppression efforts. The pressure on corporations (already successful with beverage giants Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Co) to abandon support for ALEC is one sign. There’s a large new study from the Center for American Progress on how, where and why the Right is pushing anti-voting-rights laws and practices. And one of the premier jounalists working on voting rights issues, The Nation’s Ari Berman, has torn into the Fox News effort to turn a kerfuffle involving primary ballot petitions in Indiana into a sort of retroactive excuse for that state’s (and others’) voter ID law.

As some of you may recall, I wrote about this last matter a couple of days ago, having noticed that right-wing blogs were heavily promoting the “Indiana Election Fraud” story originated by Fox. But as Ari notes, Fox itself made sure the “scandal” got attention, treating it as “breaking news” of sufficient importance to interrupt coverage of the president’s critique of the Ryan budget.

That’s how badly conservatives lust for “proof” of voting fraud to justify their restrictions on voting rights–so badly, in fact, that they ignore the inconvenient detail that the Indiana case had nothing to do with actual voting, and would in no way have been prevented by Indiana’s (or anyone else’s) voter ID law.

As Ari Berman sums it up:

The real story in 2012 is how the myth of voter fraud has been advanced by Republicans to justify new voting restrictions in more than a dozen states, which could disenfranchise up to 5 million voters on Election Day, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. That’s a whole lot of casualties in response to a few bad actors.

But it does look like this will no longer be an issue of immense importance to conservatives, but of little interest to progressives. Sometimes just paying attention can do a world of good.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.