Ever since Republicans won a big wave election in 2010 they have been putting in place all over the country new laws supposedly meant to address the essentially non-existent “problem” of in-person voter fraud. These new laws not only include photo ID requirements to vote but sometimes tough new restrictions on how you can run a voter registration drive; they may reduce early voting hours. While they will probably do almost nothing to stop a non-existent problem, they will make it hard for some young people, college students, people with low incomes, senior citizens and people who live in urban environments to vote.
A new USA Today/Suffolk University poll shows why these laws could have such a huge impact on the election’s outcome. Among Americans that are eligible to vote but are unlikely to vote in this election, President Obama holds a greater than 2-1 lead over Mitt Romney. According to the poll 43 percent of these unlikely but potential voters would prefer Obama while just 18 percent would support Romney. While these potential voters are clearly not excited by either candidate, if they made it the voting booths in decent numbers they could swing the election for Obama.
Obviously the Obama campaign wants to repeat what it did in 2008. It wants to increase turnout to get as many of these unlikely voters to decide to vote, knowing it would significantly help Obama. Given that these people are already not very interested in voting this year, every new barrier and hurdle created by GOP “anti-voter fraud” laws will significantly reduce the chances these people will vote. In addition to making it more difficult for Obama core groups to vote, these new Republicans laws also assure turnout among infrequent voters will be down as well.