In GOP Shutout, Were Dem Voters Shut Out? Ctd

Why Not Vote

Christopher Ingraham passes along the above chart on Americans who didn’t vote:

Republican vote-suppression efforts have already received plenty of attention, and rightfully so – it’s an embarrassment that one political party sees a smaller electorate as the path to victory. But voters turned back at the polls represent at best a tiny fraction of the 10 percent who didn’t vote for technical reasons. Pew’s numbers suggest there’s a lot of work to be done to help the 35 percent of voters who couldn’t accommodate a trip to the polling place in their work or school schedules.

Frank Barry dismisses Wendy Weiser’s claim that voter restrictions suppressed so much Democratic turnout last week as to influence the outcomes of some close elections:

Weiser’s argument has been picked up by other voting-rights advocates and pundits, but it falls apart upon closer scrutiny. Even with seven fewer days, early voting in North Carolina increased this year compared with 2010 — by 35 percent. Statewide turnout also increased from the previous midterm election, to 44.1 percent from 43.7 percent. Even if turnout was lower than it would have been without the new voting law — something that’s impossible to establish — it was still higher than it had been in four of the five previous midterm elections, going back to 1994. In addition, based on exit polls and voter turnout data, the overall share of the black vote increased slightly compared with 2010.

Rick Hasen, an expert on election law, says he’s skeptical about Weiser’s analysis, and rightly so. When voting-rights advocates fail to include any balancing points in their discussion of the election, they undercut their credibility and give ammunition to Republicans who suspect that they are mostly interested in electing Democrats.