Tag Archives: GOP voter suppression

Expanding Medicaid equals more voter participation

A recent study of voter participation shows higher voter turnout in states that have expanded Medicaid under the American Affordable Care Act (ACA / Obamacare). For people with low income, Medicaid is the largest source of funding for medical and health-related services.Kaiser Health-14-2016

The study, Expanding Medicaid, expanding the electorate: the Affordable Care Act’s short-term impact on political participation, compared voter turnout data from 2014 and 2012 for 435 U.S. House races.  Controlling for local factors, its author found:  […] that increases in Medicaid enrollment as a result of Medicaid expansion were related to considerably higher voter turnout in 2014.

Past research has shown people that receive public assistance are less likely to vote, so these results are significant. According to study author Jake Haselswerdt, assistant professor of political science and public affairs at the University of Missouri: “Having access to health insurance could play a role in increasing voter participation as healthy people are much more likely to vote than unhealthy people, and insurance increases people’s financial stability, which also makes them more likely to vote.” Backlash to expanded enrollment, he notes, may also affect voter turnout.

[Updated Ed.]Although Donald Trump made campaign promises not to cut Medicaid benefits, [Trump has ] endorsed two changes to the bill affecting Medicaid, under the pending GOP plan. The actions taken by GOP legislators in Congress make plain how they feel about Medicaid. Republican-sponsored ACA repeal legislation (Trumpcare) now in Congressional committees would hand Medicaid back to the states, and cut program funds by $880 billion in the next 10 years —  effectively limiting expansion. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that under the GOP bill 14 million fewer people would have Medicaid coverage in 2026.

Whether by design or accident, the GOP’s efforts to slash Medicaid may not only hurt the health of lower income  U.S. citizens, but they also seem to fit in nicely with the Republicans’  long running campaigns to suppress voter participation — also known as “voter fraud prevention legislation.”

Well, that works: “American Health Care” that isn’t affordable, and laws to counteract non-existent “voter fraud.” Paging George Orwell …

Phil Scott’s “moderate” governors coalition partner wants voter restrictions

Aren’t New England GOP’ers supposed to be the good ones? That’s the theory at least. And based on that age-old theory, Phil Scott wants to form a coalition of these fabled (mythical?) moderate Northeastern Republican governors to protect states from policies of the Trump Administration. And Scott wants to include New Hampshire’s Governor-elect Chris Sununu in his new coalition of moderate northeastern Republican governors. Scott also name drops Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan as possible partners (since when was Maryland in the Northeast?).

nhvotersHowever, Sununu is right in lock-step with the not-so-moderate national GOP trend to limit voter registration. Shortly before this year’s election on Boston talk/news radio Sununu alleged Democrats practiced voter fraud and said: “[…] when Massachusetts elections are not very close, they’re [Democrats] busing them in [to New Hampshire] all over the place.” He got a pants on fire rating for that one from politifact.com

Now with the election over, Governor-elect Sununu has back-pedaled on his earlier fraud allegations but still wants restrictions: “It’s not about fraud and a rigged system, that nonsense. It’s really just about making sure that our rules are clear, that they’re unambiguous, and that people can believe that as a full-time resident of the state of New Hampshire, your vote isn’t being watered down by someone who’s ‘drive-thru voting,’ ‘drive-by voting.’ We just need to modernize the system.”

Specifically he wants to end or restrict his state’s same-day voter registration law – enacted by a majority of Republican legislators and signed into law by the Republican Governor in 1994. Sununu echoes the language used nationally by GOP’ers and Koch Brother’s ALEC funded efforts to squeeze voter registration rolls. Same-day registration, Sununu says, can have “problems.” He told NH Pubic Radio: “We just need our laws tighter.”

Same-day voter registration can have problems? Well, Ay-yup, and perhaps Sununu and New Hampshire Republicans have a “problem” with this: Same-day registration is a major issue in several college towns in New Hampshire, which this year voted heavily for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Democratic Senate candidate Maggie Hassan.

Oh, I see it now: by “problem” Sununu means figuring out how to limit Democratic voters. I suppose the NHGOP could, like in the old days, allow only property owners to vote – or better yet on the revenue side, impose a hefty poll tax to keep those others from voting – that used to work like a charm.

And that brings it back to Phil Scott’s imagined coalition of moderate’  Northeastern Republican governors. Don’t know much about Governors Baker or Hogan but I wonder how moderate this coalition can be if Sununu is one of Phil’s “good guys.”