War on Voting in the Battleground States

Emily Schultheis has a useful update at Politico on the status of voter ID and other “war on voting” laws in states considered competitive in the 2012 presidential election. Because of the current litigation and the especially blatant political impetus behind it, Pennsylania’s new voter ID law has been gettting the lion’s share of attention recently. Moreover, new laws have been stalled (at least temporarily) in other battleground states, notably North Carolina (legislation vetoed by governor), Wisconsin (new law declared unconstitutional by state judge), and Ohio (new law partially repealed).

But it’s helpful to remember that (1) voting restrictions in non-battleground states (i.e., voter ID laws in Georgia, Indiana, Tennessee, South Carolina and Texas) will affect downballot races; (2) voter ID laws aren’t the only important restrictions (viz. the early voting cutbacks in Ohio and Florida that are being challenged in court, or Iowa’s sweeping disenfranchisement of ex-felons)); and (3) laws aside, many Republican-administered jurisdictions will play games with voters in heavily Democratic areas prior to and on Election Day, as they generally have since time immemorial.

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.