The Whole World is Watching Voter Suppression Laws

by January 18, 2014 0 comments

Over the past few months we’ve covered many aspects of voter suppression, its targets and the threat it poses to our democracy.  This week we’ll take a look at voter ID and the way voter suppression is being viewed in Great Britain, Europe’s most important democracy.   It is undisputed that voter ID is the centerpiece of voter suppression laws and gets the headlines when the laws are being discussed.  Voter ID is normally justified as necessary to prevent in-person voter fraud.  However, it is well documented that numerous investigations around the country have turned up negligible voter fraud and where it was found, it was the kind of fraud that would not be prevented by voter ID.

Mark Mills of Great Britain, in a recent blog post, described voter suppression as a US import that Britain didn’t need.  He wrote that voter ID laws might sound sensible but that they pose all kind of problems. About 1 in 11 Americans eligible to vote don’t have any such ID. And even if they do, they might lose it or forget it.  He wrote that when Nate Silver – the man who correctly predicted how every state would vote in the 2012 presidential election – looked at this question, he concluded that “although it is also possible to exaggerate the effects that these laws might have…there is something of a consensus in the literature… that the stricter laws, like those that require photo identification, seem to decrease turnout by about 2 percent as a share of the registered voter population.”  When Mark Mills wrote that American voter suppression laws were an import that Britain could do without, he concluded much of what we already knew.  He concluded that the laws are being enacted by Republican controlled legislatures around the country for the purpose of suppressing the votes of blacks, women, Hispanics, the elderly and students.  We’ve reported on some of these groups in the past and will report on others in the coming weeks.  However, as Mark Mills also noted, these are all voters that are more likely than not to support democratic candidates.

As noted above, voter ID laws are the most visible and discussed component of voter suppression laws, but by no means the whole story.  Democracy North Carolina described North Carolina’s voter suppression laws as “Monster Laws” and outlined many lesser know provisions of the legislation that make it more difficult for citizens to vote.  In the coming weeks we will look closer as some of the other provisions of the North Carolina voter suppression laws and explain how they impact access to the ballot.

Also, in coming weeks we’ll feature Ken Spaulding, an announced North Carolina 2016 gubernatorial candidate that has incorporated the defeat of voter suppression as a core element of his campaign.  Because of our commitment to covering voter suppression we plan to travel with Ken as he takes his case to North Carolina voters. 

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Peter Grear, Esq. writes for Greater Diversity News with a primary focus on voter suppression.  To join the campaign to defeat voter suppression please “Like” and follow us at, “Share” our articles, and your ideas and comments on Facebook or at our website  Also, to promote the campaign to defeat voter suppression, please ask all of your Facebook “Friends” to follow the above-referenced recommendations. Additionally, please follow us on Twitter at @yourrighttovote.

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