Debate Club

Restricting Voter Rights Is the Threat to Democracy, not Fraud

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Across the country, politicians have been chipping away at the bedrock of democracy in the guise of stopping "voter fraud."

Voter fraud, with its connotation of stolen elections, certainly sounds scary. But for all the bluster about fraud used to gin up support for policies that impact the voting rights of Americans, proponents of these voter suppression tactics have failed to provide evidence of any significant voter fraud.

I have said that there are more shark attacks in Florida than cases of voter fraud. Politifact checked it out and found that I was right.

What is happening in more than two dozen states, with Florida being the prime example, is that the claim of widespread voter fraud has been used as an excuse to make it more difficult to register to vote, to cast your vote, and to have your vote counted. That—rather than the chimera of widespread voting fraud—is the real threat to democracy.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the Republican Party.]

These laws are not intended to apply evenly. The voting restrictions enacted in Florida disproportionately impact minority groups, recently naturalized citizens, students, and people who need to get time off from their jobs to vote.

How does reducing early voting days and prohibiting voting on Sunday prior to Election Day address voter fraud? It doesn't. The restriction is designed to make it more difficult for working people to vote and to prevent "Souls to the Polls" programs of African-American churches. (In 2008, in Florida, a majority of black voters cast their ballots before Election Day.)

Florida's county supervisors of elections are refusing to implement Gov. Rick Scott's latest voter suppression tactic—purging citizens from the voting rolls based on inaccurate motor vehicle information.

[See photos of Wisconsin Voters Heading to the Polls]

This is why Congress enacted, and why we continue to need, the Voting Rights Act—to use the power of the federal government to protect the constitutional rights of minorities from interference by state officials.

In the partisan warfare over voting fraud versus voter suppression, the right of American citizens to vote has become collateral damage. The ACLU of Florida, along with our allies like the Brennan Center, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and others, now turn to the courts to stop the assault on democracy.

Howard Simon

About Howard Simon Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida

Tags
elections
voters
fraud

Other Arguments

#1
108 Pts
Voter Fraud Is a Proven Election Manipulation Tactic

Yes – Voter Fraud Is a Proven Election Manipulation Tactic

Hans A. Von Spakovsky Manager of the Heritage Foundation's Civil Justice Reform Initiative

#2
106 Pts
ID Rules Prevent Fraudulent Vote Schemes in Key Districts

Yes – ID Rules Prevent Fraudulent Vote Schemes in Key Districts

Steven Greenhut Vice President of Journalism at the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity

#3
85 Pts
Voter Fraud Deniers Ignore the Facts

Yes – Voter Fraud Deniers Ignore the Facts

Cleta Mitchell President of the Republican National Lawyers Association

#4
12 Pts
Voter Fraud Claims Are Smoke Without Fire

No – Voter Fraud Claims Are Smoke Without Fire

Wendy Weiser Director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice

#5
0 Pts
States Like Florida Disenfranchise Americans in Name of 'Fraud'

No – States Like Florida Disenfranchise Americans in Name of 'Fraud'

Vanessa Cardenas Director of Progress 2050 at the Center for American Progress

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