Many college students, even here at Cedarville, have fallen into the trap of deifying politicians, bureaucrats, and party bosses based on what our parents, neighbors, or the media might have told us. Yet how any Christian could dub the GOP the "party of Christ" in light of character flaws including voter fraud and discrimination is beyond imagination. Christians love Republicans. Let's face it: our brothers and sisters are quick to vote for any Republican who so much as mentions the constitution, family values, or freedom. It doesn't really matter what actions they take as long as they use the correct slogans. Issues of equality, legal discrimination, and voting rights are left on the back-burner. After all, this IS America, right? We don't have problems with inequality or voter fraud. That's the stuff our parents worried about.
Or... at least that's what some people in the GOP would like you to think. This apathy towards voting equality has helped several Republican-led states get away with some major reforms that block Democrats from reaching the polls. To give their candidates a wee boost, state legislatures around the nation have set up new laws to restrict youth, minorities, and immigrants from voting.
What do these new laws look like? Several Republican states have enacted new requirements that require voters to present a valid ID when they arrive at the voting booth. These laws may seem innocuous, but there are two gaping problems. First, there is little evidence that voter fraud is occurring in the status quo. You are more likely to be struck by lightning than you are to commit voter fraud by pretending to be someone else. And second, voter ID laws disproportionately disenfranchise minorities and individuals in low-income communities. Many government-issued photo IDs do not qualify under the new laws (like student IDs issued by public institutions, or even veteran's IDs). And many individuals don't have the ability to easily get the requisite ID; city-dwellers and students often have no need for an expensive driver's license. Indeed, if similar voter ID laws were passed in all 50 states today, over twenty million Americans with the right to vote would be disenfranchised.
The GOP has announced their stance, and it's "vote for us or not at all". Democrats aren't immune either; both parties have a lot of work left to do when it comes to dealing with voter fraud. Even President Obama will tell you that we have a long way to go to end "business as usual" in politics. However, the GOP's scandals are a reminder of how Republicans should not be placed on a pedestal as the "Party of God" or the "Christian choice" this November.