Republican-controlled state legislatures around the nation have aggressively sought to initiate new voting regulations that will likely make it more difficult for voters from certain demographic groups to cast ballots in 2012. In response, Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill are working to be equally aggressive in fighting the new rules in the hope that they will regain majorities in the House, retain control of the Senate and steer President Obama to victory.
The Democratic National Committee on Thursday unveiled a new website, protectingthevote.org, and an accompanying report titled “A Reversal in Progress,” that its chair, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in a conference call with reporters is the first step in an “unprecedented voter protection effort” against laws that she said are “essentially designed to rig an election.”
Republicans have argued that they are simply trying to prevent voter fraud, while Democrats and civil rights advocates contend that they are making much ado about nothing. In addition, opponents to the new laws say, the new laws will make it more difficult for African-Americans, Latinos, senior citizens, college students and low-income people more difficult to vote if they cannot secure the required photo IDs. According to Wasserman Schultz, 25 percent of African-Americans lack the state-issued photo IDs now required to vote in more than 30 states.
“We’re aggressively engaged in making sure that we help voters move these obstacles and barriers that are being put in their way that are essentially designed to rig an election when Republicans can’t win these elections on the merits,” Wasserman Schultz said.
In addition, the laws restrict early voting opportunities that many who cannot afford to spend time in long lines on election day because they have to be at work and the ability of third-party groups to hold voter registration drives.
The website will be used to register voters, help with voter protection efforts and enlist attorneys to monitor the 2012 presidential election.
"Knowing President Obama is facing a steep climb to re-election, Democrats are resorting to scare tactics rather than addressing voter fraud cases such as ACORN as we've seen in previous elections," said Republican National Committee spokesperson Kirsten Kukowski.
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