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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12 Responses to “The GOP’s Keep-In-The-Vote program worked”

  1. stephanie092 says:

    til I looked at the draft ov $5101 , I be certain that…my… brother was actualy earning money parttime from there new laptop. . there dads buddy has been doing this 4 only eleven months and resently paid for the depts on there place and bourt a top of the range Land Rover Range Rover . hop over to this site….>> -> INCOME FROM ONLINE ADVERTIsiteNG!!! <-

  2. welder1 says:

    Why do liberals try to use the argument that asking for an ID to vote is so wrong? No one is asking for anything outrageous and asking for an ID or other proof of residence is not evil no matter how you try to spin it. The reason so many don’t vote is because they feel that their vote means nothing.

  3. BloggerDave says:

    I hope this isn’t going to be the latest excuse for Democrats who actually have ID’s to not vote in midterm elections…

  4. Badgerite says:

    Exactly. The right and the ability to vote should not be a ‘partisan’ issue. And now it is.
    Behind closed doors and sometimes even in public the GOP will admit that that is what these ‘voter ID’ laws are all about. But I doubt they will admit before the Supreme Court. But does the Supreme Court think for one minute that people don’t know this simple fact. These law have made the right to vote into a partisan issue and that is what they were designed to do.

  5. just_AC says:

    I am SO proud of my daughter! She posted on facebook “I’ve heard some naysayers about the voting rights law and acts that have
    received a lot of media attention this year, saying that dropping the
    requirement to allow certain states to change voting laws without
    federal permission will not significantly hurt or discriminate against
    voters. They may also say that addressing this on the basis of trying to
    keep black voters at the polls is discrimination itself, that it
    condones an attitude of ‘oh, the black voters don’t need special
    treatment, giving them special treatment shows a lack of faith in their
    ability to figure things out themselves’. This article is an interesting
    read from this midterm election in Texas.…/texas-vote-id-proof-certificat…
    The article is poorly titled so I hope you take the time to read it, if you’re so obliged.”

    that link is

  6. Bill_Perdue says:

    The most important statistic of the election is that the absolute majority of eligible voters didn’t bother to vote. Some of that was due to voter suppression by politicians but most of it represents suppression by voters who don’t want to vote and follows the general trend of a declining participation by the eligible electorate that’s been going on since 1840.

    The less democratic the nation is the fewer people want to participate in elections in one of the world’s largest banana republics. The US is not a democracy in any real sense of the word and lacks any semblance of economic democracy. The time is ripe for real change and it will come from the left and the labor left, not the Democrats or Republicans.

  7. MoonDragon says:

    I think the lack of out and proud Democrats running for office (vs running from Obama and his accomplishments) had more to do with it than voter suppression. But as a pilot program, this election was what engineers would call a proof of principal demonstration of the potential effectiveness of voter suppression tactics.

  8. Indigo says:

    I didn’t think it would work but, as you point out, it worked like a Satanic charm. Now what? In my opinion, things aren’t bad enough yet. I don’t know how far down the drain the nation has to go, but the morass we’re in hasn’t yet triggered the wake-up I keep hoping for. It’s getting scary . . . you know, the Spanish public never fully caught on to the collapse of their empire until after the Spanish-American War. By then, they were already a second rate, no . . . fourth rate power and the public didn’t even suspect it, thanks to an effective propaganda-based government and a compliant media. I’m scared because while we huff and we puff all over the place with drones and bombings and what not all, we’re not getting anywhere. Not over seas, not here at home.

  9. DonewithDems says:

    So what do we do now? The justice department and the Democrats don’t seem to care enough to do anything about it.

  10. Demosthenes says:

    I think voter suppression paid a part in the result in Virginia. However, turnout nationwide was the lowest since 1942, so part of the dismal result is due to normally Democratic voters not showing up at all. We can and should as Americans make it easier to vote, but even in a state that eliminated a voter ID law (Illinois), turnout was lousy, and the GOP had an excellent result. (They won the governorship and picked up two congressional seats, despite the Democrats gerrymandering the districts to their advantage.

    The correct message from this election is to figure out how to attract more voters, even in challenging terrain.

  11. Naja pallida says:

    If voting isn’t supposed to be a partisan issue, why is it that in almost every state we essentially allow partisans to be the ones who control all the aspects of voting? From voter registration right down to operating the polling places. Plus, the chief elections officer of a state is usually appointed by the governor, and is thus picked specifically because of their partisan leanings. If voting isn’t supposed to be a partisan issue, we do it entirely wrong.

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