A study on voting patterns conducted by two professors from UMass-Boston shines a cold, clinical light on the undermining of US democracy. Nearly half the states in the union passed laws restricting the right to vote between 2007 and 2011, most of those states are in the South, and most of them are controlled by Republicans.

The study by sociology professor Keith Bentele and political science professor Erin O'Brien was published last month in the journal Perspectives on Politics and chronicled in Wednesday's Boston Globe. The laws, primarily requiring a photo ID, shortening early voting, and restricting voter registration drives, were in response to "voter fraud" allegations that, according to the writers, are "long on dramatic flair but short on evidence."

They were passed largely in states where turnout of minority and low-income voters was increasing. That means traditional presidential battleground states like Ohio and Pennsylvania as well as the South. States controlled by Republicans are "where these things are more likely to pass," said Mr. Bentele in The Globe.

"It's irrefutable; this is a story of race and partisanship," assessed Ms. O'Brien. A party that can't win the votes of blacks, Hispanics, the poor and the young is cynically and indisputably trying to keep them from voting, and all who care about fairness and the constitutional right of citizens to vote must work to overturn these laws and block passage of new ones in 2014.


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