A NEW ROSA PARKS 93-year-old Viviette Applewhite is the face of opposition to the new voter ID laws.
Republicans share more with the Boy Scouts than homophobia. They, too, now live by the motto: Be prepared.
As we all know, the GOP was forced to steal the 2000 presidential election after the fact — via the connivance of the five Republican-appointed members of the US Supreme Court. It was very public, very messy, and still remains controversial.
This time around, the Republicans have a better idea. The plan is to make it difficult — or better yet, impossible — for students, minorities, and old people to vote.
These three groups tend, historically, to vote for Democrats. And with the November national election shaping up to be a cliffhanger, it is in the Republicans' self interest to keep them out of the ballot box.
While the GOP's natural constituency is vast — the greedy, the socially unconscious, war mongers, and Bible thumpers — it is finite. And, according to demographers, it is shrinking.
Republicans, however, do tend to vote in numbers higher than other groups. So in order to capture the White House, hold on to its majority in the House of Representatives, and perhaps gain a new majority in the Senate, the GOP has to win over the growing number of independents, maximize its own vote, and minimize that of the Democrats.
This is where voter ID laws come in.
Over the past several years, the Republicans have enacted legislation in 29 states that makes it more difficult for likely Democratic voters to cast their ballots.
Recently, Rhode Island, an overwhelmingly Democratic state, joined the voter-suppression ranks for their own bizarre reasons that had nothing to with the national elections, making them the 30th state with such a law. Baring divine intervention, Rhode Island will vote Democratic in November.
Among the states up for grabs, however, are Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
All of these states have new voter ID laws, although Pennsylvania's and Wisconsin's are in litigation.
Voter ID laws are predicated on a big lie that Republicans have propagated with the passive assistance of the mainstream media: that there is massive voter fraud throughout the United States.
There are, to be sure, isolated examples, but no widespread ballot stuffing or systematic illegal voting. In fact, studies show that, in those rare occasions when fraud does occur, it is likely the work of local officials — either elected or appointed.
How many votes are at stake? Estimates vary, but respected statisticians say the number of votes cast could be reduced between 0.8 and 2.4 percent. That may not sound like much today. But on election night, if the margin between Republican Mitt Romney and Democrat Barack Obama is the 100,000-vote range — as it could be — those percentages become enormous.
The stiffest challenge to voter ID laws is in process in Pennsylvania.
The ACLU and the NAACP are seeking to have the state's voter ID law overturned on behalf of Viviette Applewhite, a 93-year-old woman who claims she will be disenfranchised because she will be unable to get valid documentation in time for the November election.
The US Department of Justice this week also announced that it was investigating to determine if the law discriminates against minorities.