New voter ID laws could cost Romney the election

Hispanic voters form a crucial voting block

Republican governors in more than 30 states have recently passed laws that restrict voters’ access to polling places, particularly minorities. However, in places like the key swing state of Florida, the new voter ID laws will also block Independents, women, Hispanics, and the elderly from voting. The loss of these crucial voting blocks could cost Romney the election.

Romney is trailing President Obama by 15% among women voters in recent polling data. Pundits say there is almost no mathematical equation that can get Romney to a winning 270 count in the Electoral College without them. Women make up the largest voting block in America, at approximately 53% of the electorate.

New voter ID laws require a variety of documents in order to obtain a photo ID for access to voting booths. And one of the biggest problems in meeting the paperwork requirements for a photo ID falls on women, who have changed their names due to marriage or divorce.

“American women change their names in about 90 percent of marriages and divorces. So newly married and recently divorced women whose legal names do not match those of their current photo ID will face opposition when voting, especially in the seven states with the stricter voter-ID rules,” according to The American Prospect. “Since only 66 percent of voting-age women have easy access to proof of citizenship and documentation with their current legal name, a significant number of women could be disenfranchised by the new laws.”

Hispanics are also a voting block where Mitt RomneyMitt Romney is currently trailing President Obama. Romney knows he needs to needs to win over the Latino vote to win the White House. So much so, that there has been some speculation that he may add Florida Senator Marco RubioMarco Rubio to the ticket in the vice presidential spot.

Florida is not the only state that has hindered the voting access of powerful voting groups. Virginia, Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, Indiana, Minnesota, Arizona, and dozens of others, including the must-win state of Pennsylvania, have all made it harder for citizens to vote with new voter ID laws.

While the Republican goal of new voter ID laws may have been to block Democrats from voting, they fail to consider the fact that just because someone is a registered Democrat, doesn’t mean they will not cross party lines in the voting booth. By cutting off voting access to large numbers of women, Hispanics, the elderly, and undecided voters, Republican governors may have sealed Romney’s fate for defeat.

U.S. elections seem to be more aggressively “dirty” each year, with opponents slinging negative advertising at each other, as if the issues matter less than party loyalty, but such efforts can backfire.

Republican efforts to win elections by blocking large segments of the population from voting may be a perfect example of dirty politics gone bad.

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