by Luisa Fernanda Cardona
A study published this month by New York University Law School’s Brennan Center for Justice found that a recent wave of Republican-led state legislation imposes new barriers that could prevent almost five million Americans from getting to the polls in the 2012 elections.
The study analyzed a wide array of recent voting restrictions enacted by state governments across the country. New constraints include fewer early voting days, photo ID laws, proof of citizenship requirements, and restrictions on voter registration drives. For example, Georgia reduced the early registration period from 45 days to only 21 days. Florida passed new fineable regulations on organizations that conduct voter registration drives. Tennessee, Alabama, and Kansas all passed legislation that requires voters to prove their citizenship at the polls. Kansas also now requires voters to have photo IDs before they may cast their ballots. The study also noted that these measures primarily affect young voters, minority voters, low-income voters, and voters with disabilities.