05/22/2012 12:56 pm ET Updated Jul 22, 2012

Republicans Are Using the Democratic Process to Curtail Democracy

Although I deplore and disagree with legislation aimed at discouraging abortions and adversely affecting the rights of women, I recognize that such legislation is motivated by the good faith belief that abortions are morally wrong. Not so for the legislation aimed at disenfranchising voters for the faux purpose of preventing voter fraud. Such voter identification legislation is offered by Republicans as a crass and blatant attempt to eliminate votes likely to go to Democrats. Just as the Republicans have created a fake Barack Obama to run against, they have created this myth of voter fraud for the purpose of stifling the voting rights of a portion of the electorate.

The consequence of this abuse of the legislative process is to disenfranchise millions of persons, many of whom are elderly, students, persons with disabilities, the poor, and most certainly people of color. Evidence that the legislation is meant to discourage voting is the fact that many states specifically limit the means of identification required rather than broaden it. In some states a valid U.S. Passport or U.S. Military ID will not suffice. The Brennan Center for Justice predicts that 10% of voters do not have and will not get the required driver's license or state photo ID in order to qualify to vote. Even those who attempt to satisfy the requirement will face expenditures of time and money -- obstacles all calculated to discourage the effort.

The fraud that actually exists is not in voter identification but rather in the alleged justification for this legislation. There is no epidemic of voters misrepresenting their identity at the polls. Every study that has been done of ineligible voters voting or attempting to vote has revealed infinitesimal instances. If there were really a danger, why wouldn't this (if nothing else) be the subject of bipartisan support? If unauthorized persons were voting in large numbers, why wouldn't the Democrats be as vehement in stopping it as Republicans. Is it only being committed by Democratic voters?

No, the reality is that it does not exist. The legislation is a mean-spirited attempt to discourage certain potentially Democratic voting blocks -- not ensure their validity. What is happening here is symptomatic of the current political arena -- win at any cost and by any means. Oppose and filibuster all meaningful legislation; threaten to shut down the government; demean the president and now keep people from voting. This type of legislation according to the Brennan Center will disenfranchise 25% of African-Americans, 16% of Hispanics and 18% of elderly voters. As the Republicans seek to roll back women's rights, so it seems they yearn for the days of the Jim Crow poll tax.