The GOP’s Keep-In-The-Vote program worked

As I wrote in September, Virginia’s voter ID law — one of many getting their first field tests in a slew of Republican-controlled states this year — had the potential to suppress turnout by at least two percent.

At the time, I had no idea the state’s senate race would be anything resembling close.  And yet, Mark Warner eked out a win by less than a full percentage point against a candidate who straight up stopped campaigning in the weeks before Election Day. That election will likely go to a recount.

These new voter suppression ID laws made it harder for millions of people to vote this year.

As the Brennan Center for Justice noted yesterday, four states (Virginia included) had statewide races in which the margin of victory was eclipsed or nearly eclipsed by the “margin of disenfranchisement,” which is the number of people affected by new voting restrictions.

To be sure, these laws didn’t decide the Senate as a whole, and they may not have decided any individual senate races (although it’s unknown how many down-ballot races could have been affected by suppressed turnout).

However, they have undoubtedly affected margins of victory and they have absolutely soured millions of Americans on the very idea of civic engagement.

Voting isn’t supposed to be a partisan issue. If nothing else is taken from this election, it’s that the Republican Party has solidified its status as the party of legally-rigged elections.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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