In order to blunt the scandal arising from the Republican efforts to persuade U.S. Attorney David Iglesias (New Mexico) to indict some Democrats just before the last election, Senator Pete Domenici and other Republicans have explained that, really, they’ve been “disappointed” with Iglesias for some time. Why? Because, according to Domenici et al., Iglesias failed to aggressively pursue the problem of “voter fraud” in New Mexico. These Republicans are undoubtedly telling the truth about this. The problem for them is that this explanation doesn’t make things better for them, it makes things far, far worse. Read on.

In the run-up to the 2004 election, there were intense efforts at voter registration going on in New Mexico. The result was the enfranchisement of many minorities and poor. The Republicans were apoplectic, of course. The registration campaigns added about 65,000 voters to the rolls in Bernalillo County alone, about a 10% increase.

The Republicans’ response (and it has since been surfacing in Congress as well as in other states) was to demand strict “voter i.d.” laws. Strict voter i.d. laws have the effect of disenfranchising many students (who may not have in-state licenses, or other forms of i.d. showing an address), old people, minorities and poor who for many reasons may not possess the type of identification such a law would require.

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