The Brennan Center for Justice has identified 189 electoral votes in 2012 coming from states with new restrictive voting laws.
Since the beginning of 2011, 13 states passed, or are on the verge of passing, restrictive voting laws that will impact the 2012 election. The states — Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, and West Virginia — make up 189 electoral votes, or 70 percent of the 270 needed to win the presidency.The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee delves a little deeper into those numbers, and highlights the critical votes: those in the swing states, where as much as 80 electoral votes could be allocated.
An additional three states — Alabama, Ohio, and Rhode Island — passed restrictive laws that will not be in effect in 2012. Ohioans will vote in November on a referendum to repeal their state’s law.
Last year, Florida passed sweeping voter suppression legislation that raised barriers to everything from registering people to vote to actually casting a ballot. ][...]That's 80 electoral votes in total, coming from states where the voting rights picture is still a little murky just seven months from the election.
The Department of Justice has objected to these provisions of the Florida law, placing its ultimate effect on the 2012 election in question.
Ohio was on track to become another swing state with a suppressive voting law in place for the 2012 election. House Bill 194, passed by the GOP-controlled legislature and signed by Gov. John Kasich, made receiving absentee ballots more difficult while shortening the time for early voting. The measure is now subject to a SB5-style “people’s veto,” as citizens collected sufficient signatures to place the measure on the ballot this November. Consequently, implementation of the law has been suspended pending the outcome of that vote. [...]
Pennsylvania is another quintessential swing state with newly-passed suppressive voting legislation. The state’s GOP-controlled legislature approved HB 934 last week, and Republican Gov. John Corbett signed the voter ID bill into law. Opponents have pledged to fight the law in court, an effort that may be bolstered by recent decisions barring the enforcement ofWisconsin’s voter ID law.
Virginia Republicans took full advantage of their GOP tie-breaking vote in an evenly-divided state Senate to ram through a strict voter ID bill earlier this month. Gov. Bob McDonnell is expected to sign it into law any day now. Since the measure must face Justice Department scrutiny under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, it may yet see the resistance faced by voter suppression bills in Texas and South Carolina.
It's also precisely the end game Republicans have been for in this all out effort to block the vote.
For more of the week's news, make the jump below the fold.
In other news:
- Wisconsin's Department of Justice, as promised, has appealed a judge's ruling that blocked implementation of the state's new voter ID law.
- The Colorado House passed a new voter ID bill. The bill has three hurdles now: the state senate, the governor, and the November ballot. Colorado's senate killed a similar bill last year.
- On a roll, the Colorado House also defeated a bill that would have made intentionally misleading citizens about voting information during an election a felony. The law was introduced after what appeared to be a coordinated effort in 2008 to confuse the city of Pueblo's elderly Hispanic community to keep members from voting.
- Nebraskans protested this week in Omaha over a plan to close nearly half of the city's polling places, most of which are in low-income or minority neighborhoods. Election commissioner David Phipps is thus far unmoved, and vows to keep those polling locations closed.
- The Minnesota legislature, both House and Senate, passed a proposed constitutional amendment this week that would require photo identification at the polls. The House and Senate versions differ, with the Senate version amended to allow for student IDs from both private and public colleges, so the House will have to accept the Senate bill for it to move forward or go to conference. Because this is a constitutional amendment, it won't go to Gov. Mark Dayton, who vetoed similar legislation last year, but will go on the ballot for voter approval in November.
- Finally, condolences to the friends and family of John Payton, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund who died late Thursday.
President Barack Obama says in a statement that he and his wife were saddened to learn that their "dear friend" had died.
The president calls Payton "a true champion of equality" who "helped protect civil rights in the classroom and at the ballot box."