The United States has a proud past of being a democratic country where every person’s decision makes a difference when we elect political leaders. Though this ideal might seem pleasant, the reality is sadly moving farther away from the truth. There may technically be laws in place that confirm the right to vote for minorities, the impoverished, and women. However, politicians continue to enact laws that subtly take away the right to vote from their opponents. Almost all parties have been guilty of doing this sometime in the past, but in modern times, the Republicans seem to be the ones behind most voting restrictions.
In the past six years, there has been a huge increase in voter ID laws made by Republican controlled legislators. These laws might seem reasonable on the surface, but it actually manages to disenfranchise the lower class and primarily minority voters who almost never choose to vote Republican. Most of the laws require very stringent identification, including things such as a valid state identification card. However, they are typically combined with laws that close DMV offices and other identification-providing government services.
Countless voters in traditionally Democratic areas have suddenly found themselves unable to vote due to these voter ID laws. Unless they can take the time off work, hire childcare, and find some transportation method to travel far away and wait in line for several hours, they might end up being unable to vote for the candidate of their choice. These types of laws have turned areas that always vote Democratic into swing states that could potentially count for the Republicans.
Though the Republican politicians enacting these laws usually make a big fuss over voting fraud, most academic experts agree that fraud is not a huge issue in votes anyways. In the rare cases where fraud occurs, it typically is not the type of voting fraud that can be stopped through stringent identification regulations. Most fraud is from voting machines, irregular methods of counting absentee ballots, and falsifying returns. However, half of the citizens of the United States have said that they believe voting fraud is skewing election results.
In a few shocking moments, the politicians responsible for these disenfranchising voting laws that target the lower class have admitted that they are done to help Republicans win elections. In one interview, Republican Representative Glenn Grothman from Wisconsin predicted that these laws would lower a Democrat’s chances of winning an election in his state. Republican chairman Robert Gleason from Pennsylvania told another reporter that the voting ID laws had helped to reduce Obama’s margin of victory in the last election. One Republican political consultant even referred to the voter ID laws as “part of his party’s tool kit.” A chairman for the North Carolina political party ended up resigning after he was caught on tape saying that the voting ID laws could “kick the Democrats in the butt.”
Though the federal government is doing its best to strike down discriminatory and blatantly unfair laws, it is a difficult process. After a lengthy legal battle, laws in North Carolina and Texas were struck down because the justice system determined the laws were targeting minority Democrat voters. Sadly, the voter ID laws remain in place throughout court cases calling them discriminatory. Court cases can take years to settle, and in the meantime, many Americans are having their constitutional right to vote taken away by Republicans who brag about how they can twist laws to benefit their party.