189 Electoral Votes: Restrictive Voting Laws Have Significant Impact in 2012

March 15, 2012

Pennsylvania signed a voter ID bill into law, and Virginia is on the verge of signing another. This means 70 percent of the 270 electoral votes needed to win in 2012 will now come from states with new restrictive voting laws, according to a new Brennan Center analysis.

“This wave of restrictive voting laws is inexcusable, and the numbers clearly show the impact it could have on this year’s elections,” said Wendy Weiser, director of the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program. “These laws represent the most significant cutback in voting rights in decades. Rather than erecting senseless barriers to voting, we should make our voting system work for all Americans by upgrading our ramshackle voter registration system.”

Since the beginning of 2011, 13 states passed, or are on the verge of passing, restrictive voting laws that will impact the 2012 election. The states — Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, and West Virginia — make up 189 electoral votes, or 70 percent of the 270 needed to win the presidency.

An additional three states — Alabama, Ohio, and Rhode Island — passed restrictive laws that will not be in effect in 2012. Ohioans will vote in November on a referendum to repeal their state’s law.

Read the Brennan Center’s comprehensive study, Voting Law Changes in 2012, which details how these laws could make it significantly harder for up to 5 million eligible Americans to vote this year.

To schedule an interview with the Brennan Center’s voting experts, please contact Erik Opsal at erik.opsal@nyu.edu or 646-292-8356.