Over on Loop21.com this week I wrote about the problem of GOP voter suppression in the upcoming 2012 election cycle. It’s going to be bad folks. A new study by the Brennan Center for Justice quantified just how many voters the new laws put in place by Republican legislatures across the country will affect: 5 million friggin votes!
I think it might be time to panic…just a little.
These obstacles put in place to dampen turnout of traditionally Democratic votes are going to affect voters of all ages. Recently, a 96 year old woman was denied a voter ID card in Chattanooga, Tennessee because of one of these new laws.
Dorothy Cooper is 96 but she can remember only one election when she’s been eligible to vote but hasn’t.
The retired domestic worker was born in a small North Georgia town before women had the right to vote. She began casting ballots in her 20s after moving to Chattanooga for work. She missed voting for John F. Kennedy in 1960 because a move to Nashville prevented her from registering in time.
So when she learned last month at a community meeting that under a new state law she’d need a photo ID to vote next year, she talked with a volunteer about how to get to a state Driver Service Center to get her free ID. But when she got there Monday with an envelope full of documents, a clerk denied her request.
That morning, Cooper slipped a rent receipt, a copy of her lease, her voter registration card and her birth certificate into a Manila envelope. Typewritten on the birth certificate was her maiden name, Dorothy Alexander.
“But I didn’t have my marriage certificate,” Cooper said Tuesday afternoon, and that was the reason the clerk said she was denied a free voter ID at the Cherokee Boulevard Driver Service Center.
Unfortunately, we are going to hear a lot more stories like that of Dorothy Cooper’s over the next year. The good news is that as a result of the Brennan report the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) has started a new online program called the 2012 Election Protection Project which will utilize online tools and social media to educate people about how new voter laws affect them. It will also include online petitions to help fight back against the laws which are unjustly partisan.
Here’s to hoping the GOP isn’t able to steal another election in 2012. At least this time we are hip to it ahead of time.