As Kevin Drum notes, the news of systemic voter suppression by Republican legislatures and governors around the country has hit the mainstream. Point of fact, this story in the LA Times focusing on Florida's new election law.
Early voting was reduced from two weeks to one week. Voting on the Sunday before election day was eliminated. College students face new hurdles if they want to vote away from home. And those who register new voters face the threat of fines for procedural errors, prompting the nonpartisan League of Women Voters to suspend voter registration drives and accuse the Legislature of "reverting to Jim Crow-like tactics."
What is happening in Florida is part of a national trend, as election law has become a fierce partisan battleground. In states where Republicans have taken majority control, they have tightened rules for registering new voters, reduced the time for casting ballots and required voters to show photo identification at the polls. The new restrictions were usually adopted on party-line votes and signed by Republican governors. [...]
Ohio, another swing state, reduced its early voting by more than half, eliminated early voting on weekends and ended its same-day registration for voters, though the changes have been put on hold by a statewide citizens' referendum. Georgia reduced its early-voting periods from 45 days to 21 days.
Seven states — Alabama, Kansas, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin — voted to require registered voters to show photo identification at the polling place. Democratic governors vetoed such bills in five other states. [...]
Republican lawmakers say Democrats and minority groups are overreacting. "We're going to have a very tight election here next year, and we need to protect the integrity of the election," said Rep. Dennis Baxley, a Republican from Ocala. "When we looked around, we saw a need for some tightening."
Election integrity has an alternate definition when a Republican is talking about it, and in Florida it entirely means keeping those people who gave Barack Obama the edge in 2008 be kept out of the polls in 2012. The good news in all this is that the efforts of organizations like the Brennan Center for Justice, which released the blockbuster study showing that upwards of five million voters is getting the kind of national media attention it should.