Ari Berman on the Attack on Voting Rights

This week on CounterSpin: In a new wrinkle, Iowa Republicans, pushing a strict voter ID law that the ACLU says could disenfranchise 11 percent of the state’s eligible voters, admit that the claim that such laws are needed to prevent voter fraud is bogus. “It is true that there isn’t widespread voter fraud,” state Rep. Ken Rizer told the New York Times. “But there is a perception that the system can be cheated. That’s one of the reasons for doing this.” That perception, of course, having been cooked up by Republicans themselves.

One would hope that such transparent, cynical maneuvers would suffice to wake media up to their own role in the deception, of course — but more broadly, to shift coverage from seeing fights over voting rights as partisan bickering to recognizing an attack on democracy for what it is. Most if not all journalists would tell you elections are a big story, one of the biggest. But that rings painfully hollow if they aren’t interested in who gets to take part.

Ari Berman reports on voting rights as a senior contributing writer at The Nation and a fellow at the Nation Institute. He’s also author of, most recently, Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America.