Montana knows all about GOP leadership’s voter suppression campaigns. Former GOP Executive Director and current GOP political consultant Jake Eaton was forced to resign over the scandal to make it more difficult for 6,000 Montanans to vote.
After what we saw this legislative session, it should be no surprise that Republicans in state legislatures around the country are rewriting voting laws to make it harder for some of us to vote.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), Republican legislators have introduced bills that would diminish access to the voting booth in over 40 states. All of these Republican proposals focus on one apparent goal: restrict ballot access and shrink the electorate—often in ways that would decrease Democratic votes.
Many of the proposals are in the form of voter ID legislation, which would require potential voters to present specified forms of identification in order to cast a ballot. This is the kind we saw in Montana. Republicans supporting these measures claim they’re necessary to prevent “voter fraud.”
As Montana Secretary of State Linda McCulloch explained, this bill went far beyond the voting restrictions passed under George Bush.
“Montana is a fiercely independent state, and it is rare to see a measure that increases burdens beyond those that have been imposed by the federal government.”
GOP legislators are going around invoking a specter of supposed “fraud” to make voting more difficult for constituencies not known for voting for Republicans. (In Montana, Native Americans would no doubt be targeted.)The Advancement Project just released study results, with some very telling facts about groups included in the 11 percent of Americans without a current government-issued photo ID:
• 25 percentof African American voting age citizens
• 15 percent of those earning less than $35,000 a year
• 18 percent of those age 65 and above
• 20 percent of young voters 18-29