Looking to capitalize on their historic gains last year, Republican lawmakers in several states are rewriting their election laws in ways that could make it more difficult for Democrats to win.The only good thing to say about this is, to quote D-Day: "If the Pennsylvania GOP gambit leads to a real discussion about why the Electoral College ought to be abolished, they'll have done the nation a service." Too true.
They have curbed early voting, rolled back voting rights for ex-felons and passed stricter voter ID laws. Taken together, the measures could have a significant and negative effect on President Obama's reelection efforts if they keep young people and minorities away from the polls.
"It all hits at the groups that had higher turnout and higher registration in 2008," said Judith Browne-Dianis, a civil rights lawyer who co-directs the Advancement Project, which has been tracking the new regulations.
Pennsylvania lawmakers are considering the latest, and perhaps most potent, legislation, a measure that would divvy up electoral votes by congressional district rather than use the winner-takes-all approach. The change would almost ensure a net gain of 20 to 24 GOP electoral votes in the 2012 presidential election.
Of course, serious discussions about things that strengthen (or weaken) our democracy are thin on the ground these days.