It shouldn’t be controversial to say that the Republicans are trying to win the presidential election by reducing the size of the electorate. They passed restrictive photo identification laws which were overturned in one court after another. They restricted early voting and weekend voting, in some cases seeing those decisions overturned as well. The Ohio Secretary of State has defied a federal judge and been reprimanded. He continues to defy him, now issuing a new rule about how provisional ballots will be treated that are contrary to a prior consent decree. At Daily Kos, a diarist writes about spending nine hours in line to vote yesterday, all because Governor Rick Scott has reduced early voting hours and hasn’t provided adequate personnel and machines.

The conclusion is unavoidable. The Republicans are trying to make access to the polls so difficult that people will give up and go home. They are going to try to throw out as many provisional ballots as they can, which are really just votes for the president. They aren’t even pretending that they have persuaded the majority of registered voters to support their presidential candidate. But they are trying to win anyway.

This really ought to be the scandal of the year. Yet, rank and file Republicans seem to be perfectly content with these tactics. It’s as if they believe that the Civil Rights Movement never happened, or never should have happened. They are happy to win the election even if they only win by suppressing the vote of working people and students and the elderly and people of color. It’s disgraceful. When Romney talked about the 47% of Americans who won’t support him, he reflected this attitude. It’s an attitude that says that only Americans in certain income brackets and with certain complexions should have a say in our democracy.

But the truth is that the will of the people should decide who wins elections, not the relative effectiveness of voter suppression tactics.

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