Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Wednesday night said Republican governors and legislatures are purposefully pressing for the enactment of voter-identification laws to suppress Democratic voter turnout in the 2012 election.
“State legislatures are attempting to impose voting restrictions that are the modern-day equivalent of poll taxes and literacy tests,” the Florida congresswoman said on the House floor. “We cannot allow state legislatures to drag our nation backward in what is nothing more than a political quest to protect their governing majority’s interests.”
Wasserman Schultz said GOP efforts to end early voting are an example of this effort, as in her state, more than half of the early voters are African Americans and Hispanics.
“So do we think it’s a coincidence that that group of voters, which voted overwhelmingly for Democratic candidates, now suddenly has their right to vote on that particular Sunday removed from them?” she asked.
“Blocking anyone’s access to the polls is unacceptable to begin with,” she said. “But insidiously trying to influence the outcome of an election through systematically changing the law to prevent people who are likely to go to the polls to vote for your opponent is the most heinous form of anti-democratic policy.
“It’s clear that these Republican legislatures led by Republican governors just don’t think that they can win an election on the merits. And so … they need an insurance policy, because in the event that voters actually decide that — no, Republicans aren’t interested in creating jobs, no, they’re not interested in getting the economy turned around, and gee, maybe I’d like to actually go to the polls and vote for the candidate of my choice — they are using the insurance policy of voter-suppression laws to make sure that people who are likely to go to the polls and vote for someone other than them can’t do it. That’s un-American. That’s unacceptable.”
Democrats have taken to the House floor several times this year to warn against what they call “voter-suppression laws,” although Republicans continue to argue that voter ID laws are meant only to ensure that all voters are legal and qualified.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said on the floor right after Wasserman Schultz spoke that Democrats seem to be downplaying the rampant evidence of voter fraud.
“I find it a bit ironic that I’m watching the representatives from Florida, New York and Texas speak to the speaker pro temp … about the election situation,” he said. “I’m thinking about the 2000 election when it was reported … that as many as 25,000 people from New York voted both in New York and in Florida either for a [presidential candidate] from Texas or one from Tennessee.”
King said convictions of voter fraud in New York and the ACORN scandal show there is evidence of voter fraud that needs to be policed.
“I think there’s too much focus on how you get more warm bodies to the polls as many times as possible and not enough on the legitimate vote,” he said.