Did Voting Restrictions Determine the Outcomes of Key Midterm Races?

A voting sign directing voters is seen before polls open at the Grove Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, November 4, 2014. (Reuters/Chris Keane)

A voting sign directing voters is seen before polls open at the Grove Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, November 4, 2014. (Reuters/Chris Keane)

By Ari Berman in The Nation

Bryan McGowan spent twenty-two years in the US Marine Corps, including four tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. When he was stationed at Camp LeJeune in North Carolina from 2005 until 2010, McGowan used same-day registration to register and vote during the early voting period in the state.

He relocated to Georgia in 2010 because of his military service and returned to North Carolina in 2014. On the first day of early voting this year, McGowan arrived at his new polling place in western North Carolina to update his registration and vote, like he had done in the 2008 presidential election, but this time he was turned away. North Carolina eliminated same-day registration as part of the sweeping voting restrictions enacted by the Republican legislature in the summer of 2013. The registration deadline had passed, and McGowan was unable to update his registration and vote. “All I want to do is cast my vote,” the disabled veteran said. After fighting for his country abroad, McGowan felt betrayed by not being able to vote when he returned home.

Sadly, McGowan’s story was not atypical this election year. Voters in fourteen states faced new voting restrictions at the polls for first time in 2014—in the first election in nearly fifty years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act. The number of voters impacted by the new restrictions exceeded the margin of victory in close races for senate and governor in North Carolina, Kansas, Virginia and Florida, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.

In the North Carolina senate race, Republican Thom Tillis, who as speaker of the North Carolina General Assembly oversaw the state’s new voting law, defeated Democrat Kay Hagan by 50,000 votes. Nearly five times as many voters in 2010 used the voting reforms eliminated by the North Carolina GOP—200,000 voted during the now-eliminated first week of early voting, 20,000 used same-day registration and 7,000 cast out-of-precinct ballots.

Read more at The Nation

Categories: History, Politics, Racial discrimination, Top stories, U.S. history, US News, Voter suppression, Voting rights

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2 replies

  1. The Republican Party won the 2014 Congressional race. Mostly they won in the southern and plains states and in Texas–that is, in the South and in the largely rural states in the nation’s center. They didn’t win so much in the North, except for Wisconsin, or in the West, nor in the East. Maybe the biggest loss for Republicans was in Pennsylvania, a rust belt state, one of the original thirteen colonies, and the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. The Democratic candidate for governor smashed the incumbent Republican by almost 10% of the vote.

    The Republican Party, secretly financed by big corporations and foreign governments–because under current U.S. law, China and Russia can spend all of the money they want to influence U.S. elections with complete secrecy, thanks to the “patriots” on the right–prevented hundreds of thousands of Americans from voting, by cheating them out of their right to vote.

    These aren’t opinions. These are documented facts.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I believe the voting laws (suppression) had a big impact in FL. I know how restrictive the new laws are and I have seen the impact. All the new laws are shameful, expensive, confusing, and in my view illegal. I know that in Florida, our governor closed over 1/3 of the voting places in my county alone. Shortened the number of early voting days. If you move, you can not vote for 29 days. Guess when college students move and when their classes start. College campuses did not have access to voting machines unless you have a car or know someone with a car. All voting places were closed on each college campus. Teachers in Florida are not allowed to help students register to vote or teach the history of voting. Teachers were jailed and fines over 5000.00 for doing their jobs.. Closing the polls at 7 pm when so many do not get a day off work to vote is just wrong.. You were not even allowed to leave the line to go to the rest room in Florida. If you had to take a break, you could not vote.

    I could list the injustice and voter suppression in FL but no one seems to be ready to believe the GOP’s criminal attack on our citizens rights. I question the IQ of republicans that are ok with a citizens name being directly tied to their voter ID. That view is not logical. It is full of flaws and it is being abused. Names are fluid in nature especially if you are a women. What is wrong with using the SS number like we always used? Voting fraud is a fraud unless you look at this issue from a state wide level especially .in states where the GOP has control. The nations ignorance and lack of historic facts is shameful.

    Liked by 1 person

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