New Voting Laws

October 19, 2014

There is no doubt that partisan administration of elections suppresses the vote. Methods of voter suppression include one sided photo ID laws, purging voter rolls of legitimate voters, and felon disenfranchisement after completion of a sentence. Texas provides an example of one sided photo ID requirements in that concealed handgun licenses are permitted while student IDs are not. Alabama state government has admitted that between 10 and 20 percent of voters don’t have the identification needed to vote because of its photo ID requirements. In addition, election officials in many states make sure there are long lines at certain polling places to suppress the vote. Disinformation about voting procedures has been a tactic used by both public officials and political groups.

Since the beginning of 2011, 25 laws and 2 executive actions passed in 19 states have made it harder to vote. Several states reduced their early voting periods. In 2008, more than a third of all US voters took advantage of the convenience of early voting. Voting rights advocates have fought back and nearly a dozen courts have overturned or weakened restrictive measures, and the Department of Justice blocked others.

As of October 3, 2012, there remain 16 new laws and two executive actions in 13 states that were in effect in 2012. Two laws in 2 states have been seriously weakened by the courts.

These restrictive voting laws and executive actions have the potential to impact elections because the areas affected represent 212 electoral votes, or 78 percent of the total needed to win the presidency.

Get voting help here. Many states have online tools that allow you to check voter registration status, update voter registration, and track a ballot.

A breakdown of laws and executive actions in effect


  • Early voting restriction in all but five Florida counties covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. In 2008, nearly 800,000 voters in Florida cast ballots during early voting hours
  • Executive action making it harder to restore voting rights for those with past criminal convictions. It will disenfranchise nearly 200,000 Floridians
  • Voter registration drive restrictions are still in place, but the most onerous aspects of the law were blocked by a federal court


  • Early voting restriction
  • Georgia already had a photo ID law passed in 2005


  • Voter registration drive restriction


  • Executive action making it harder to restore voting rights for those with past criminal convictions


  • Photo ID required to vote


  • After a veto by Governor Mark Dayton, the GOP legislature bypassed him by approving a constitutional amendment that would require government issued photo IDs to vote in person. Voters must approve it in November.

New Hampshire

  • Voter ID required — non-photo IDs allowed for 2012 election, but photo ID required starting September 1, 2013

Ohio (see below)


  • Photo ID requested but NOT required to vote per October 2, 2012 court decision

Rhode Island

  • Voter ID required — non-photo IDs allowed for 2012 election, but photo ID required starting January 1, 2014

South Carolina (see below)

South Dakota

  • Law making it harder to restore voting rights for those with past criminal convictions


  • Photo ID required to vote
  • Proof of citizenship required to register
  • Early voting restriction


  • Voter registration drive restriction
  • Texas passed a law requiring a photo ID to vote, but a federal court blocked that law in August — it will NOT be in effect for 2012


  • Voter ID required, including non-photo ID

West Virginia

  • Early voting restriction


  • Voter registration restriction
  • Wisconsin passed a law requiring photo ID to vote, but two state courts blocked that law — it will NOT be in effect for 2012

A breakdown of laws still being disputed or will be in effect after the 2012 election


  • After the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a U.S. District Court ruling to restore in-person early voting hours during the last three days prior to Election Day. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. In Oct., they rejected the last-gasp appeal. In response, Husted cut early voting hours on the last three days before election day to a total of 16 hours. New hours are: 8am–2pm on Saturday, November 3; 1–5pm on Sunday, November 4; and 8am–2pm on Monday, November 5. Ohio voters will not be able to cast a ballot in-person on nights during those days. His decision is expected to be challenged.

South Carolina

  • A federal court ruled on Oct 10 that South Carolina may not implement a photo ID law for voters until 2013. It’s unlikely to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court but could be. South Carolina is one of 16 southern states that require pre-clearance for voting laws under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act because of a history of racism.

Voter Suppression…Yeah, It’s Still Happening

Brad Friedman, investigative reporter at, joins the David Pakman Show in 2014 to discuss voter suppression, voter ID, voter fraud, and the future of Democracy.

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8 Comments on "New Voting Laws"

  • Marty says

    It’s shameful that some Americans are stealing the votes of others. It convinced me to not vote for any republican this election to send the message that it has to stop. I’m letting my elected officials know why I’m doing it.

  • zandi says

    Four states “forgot” to mail ballots to active duty personell. In the 2000 Florida presidential race military absentee ballots were disqualified for lack of postage (in violation of DoD regulations) Do I support voter ID? YES.

  • dang says

    Don’t vote Marty, it’s all a scam, right?
    If you want a real President write in Ron Paul.

    Plus the people that own this world will make whom ever they want the Pres. anyway.

  • Cash boland says

    I hate that other people are taking voting rights from some americans

  • tp says

    ya me to

  • tp says

    doint vote it is all a scam

  • cash boland says

    i love all the new laws i will vote for all of them

  • Dave M says

    One recent study found only 10 cases of alleged in-person voter impersonation in 12 years. Another analysis found that out of 197 million votes cast for federal elections from 2002 to 2005 only 40 voters out of 197 million were indicted for fraud…. Now for those of you who are math majors… the percentage is 0.00002 percent.

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