Lest we get lulled into thinking that voter suppression is something that might never happen in Nevada — caveat emptor, we’ve been over this territory before. Even the Nevada Secretary of State got into the act last season. [DB] And, make no mistake — curtailing access to the polls is voter suppression. It is not “protecting” the vote. It is not “insuring the integrity of elections.” It is not about “making every vote count.” It IS about systematically restricting voting to those demographics which will likely produce the desired result for the powers that be in the Republican Party.
The voter identification laws, and the legislation introduced around the country ( 2011 Nevada), are specifically targeted at members of ethnic minority communities, young people, and the elderly. [Brennan Center] [Politico] [Moyers] How do we know this? They’ve said so.
It’s also one of the dumbest ideas the Nevada Republican Party has had to date.
“We advocate proof of U.S. citizenship and residency at the time of voter registration.
We support legislation requiring authentic government issued photo identification at the time of voting.
We do not support same day voter registration.” [2012 Platform]
And where does one get a state issued photo ID? Oh, “easy…just go to the DMV office in your neighborhood.” Here are the neighborhoods served by local DMV offices —
So, it’s not all that easy for voters not indicated by the pin heads on the map — voters in Owyhee, Austin, Wells, Wendover, Battle Mountain, Eureka, and other small rural communities in the state. Why would making Photo ID’s at the polls a problem for Republicans? Look at Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District:
Active Voters – Democrats 111,203; Republicans 144,046. [NVSoSpdf] The district covers 56,320.9 square miles. [NVleg pdf] District 2 has a population “density” of 12.0/mile.
Notice something when the DMV and the Congressional District maps are compared? Those DMV offices are located in the populated areas of Washoe, Douglas, Elko, and Lyon counties — but they are sparse when moving into the hinterlands. Where are the GOP votes assured? The hinterlands.
Humboldt County, with 1,400 registered Democrats and 3,252 registered Republicans has one DMV office, located in Winnemucca. Elko County with 3,508 registered Democrats and 9,929 registered Republicans has one DMV office, located in Elko — none in Wells, Wendover, or Owyhee. Eureka County with 121 Democrats and 629 Republicans has no DMV office. Lander County with 603 Democrats and 1,557 Republicans has no DMV office. Pershing County with 656 Democrats and 1,068 Republicans has no DMV office.
It doesn’t take an advanced degree in logic and rhetoric to figure out that the portion of the state in which the citizens most likely to be highly inconvenienced by voter ID requirements is a Republican stronghold.
Now, if as the research indicates, elderly voters are more likely to be restricted by new voting ID requirements, where might these elderly voters be located?
The median age of persons in Congressional District 4 is 34.8 years, and the median age of the population in Congressional District 1 is 35.7 years. The median age of persons in Congressional District 3 is 37.4 years and the median age of those in Congressional District 2 is 38.8 years. [Census] By all means — suppress the elderly vote in the two Congressional Districts in which there are incumbent Republican Representatives?
In the “interest” of serving some higher, and completely absurd, cause of protecting elections from voter impersonation fraud, of which we have Zero prosecutable examples of late — the Nevada Republicans seem perfectly willing to aim carefully and shoot themselves in their own electoral feet. If I didn’t believe that the right to vote is the most central in any system which calls itself a democracy — I’d wish them well??