By Stephanie Mencimer
January 8, 2008
Washington Dispatch: On Wednesday the Supreme Court will hear what may be the most significant voting rights case since Bush v. Gore—and it could affect the outcome of the 2008 presidential election.
Ever since the 2000 presidential election, Republicans have been aggressively promoting the notion that Americans everywhere are impersonating their neighbors or dead people so they can sneak into polling booths and pull a few extra levers for Democrats. In 2006, according to the New York Times, Karl Rove told a group of GOP lawyers that election fraud was “an enormous and growing” problem, alleging that in some parts of the country “we have elections like those run in countries where the guys in charge are colonels in mirrored sunglasses.”
Egged on by the White House, GOP legislators in many states responded by passing legislation they claimed would restore integrity to the system by forcing voters to show government-issued ID before casting a ballot. Partisan interests in these laws have been only thinly veiled, largely because voter-ID laws prevent a lot of people from voting, specifically poor, elderly, and minority voters who disproportionately vote Democratic. Last year, when Texas was considering such a law, the former political director of the Texas Republican Party told the Houston Chronicle that requiring photo ID could cause legitimate Democratic voting to drop off enough to boost GOP prospects by 3 percent.
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