GOP-led states change voting rules ahead of 2012

September 19, 2011 - 4:40 AM
Early Voting

In this Sept. 9, 2011, photo, Mellissa Brown, right, a volunteer for Organizing for America, canvases a petition in Columbus, Ohio, in a ballot repeal effort by opponents of the Ohio's new elections law. After years of expanding when and how people can vote, state legislatures now under new Republican control are moving to trim early voting days, beef up identification requirements and put new restrictions on how voters are notified about absentee ballots. (AP Photo/Terry Gilliam)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Some state legislatures now under Republican control have been tightening voting regimens perceived as beneficial to Democrats — a move that comes as next year's presidential election draws closer.

This year provides the first opportunity for new Republican governors and GOP majorities to legislate on election issues at a time when their party hopes to take back the White House and gain seats in Congress.

The GOP-dominated swing states of Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin have trimmed the number of early voting days. Other states have beefed up ID rules for voters and put new restrictions on groups that register voters.

Although the reality may not be so cut and dried, both parties believe looser rules benefit Democrats because they increase opportunities for minority and poor populations to vote.