Pennsylvania’s Republicans aren’t the only ones instituting voting laws likely to hurt Democrats. Some 12 states have begun requiring voters to carry picture ID; Florida and Ohio have reduced early-voting time; and Florida has cracked down on ex-felons voting, the Washington Post reports. Republicans say they want to cut voter fraud and create fairer elections, but voting-rights advocates—not to mention Dems themselves—aren’t so sure. “It just seems like a partisan setup all about who is going to be in the White House in 2012,” says a civil rights lawyer tracking the changes.
“It all hits at the groups that had higher turnout and higher registration in 2008,” she notes, calling it “the worst rollback of voting rights that we’ve seen in a century.” Her group reports that the changes are threatening the voices of minorities and young people. Some 25% of African-American voters lack government photo IDs, versus 8% of white voters; 15% of voters with incomes under $35,000 don’t have them, either. Now, groups like Rock the Vote, which aims to get young people to the polls, are fighting back, offering programs like a busing system to get more youths photo IDs. (Read more electoral college stories.)