Last week, voters in Maine overwhelmingly defeated a right-wing effort to disenfranchise young people. With a margin of about 60-40, Mainers overturned a move by the Republican-controlled legislature to cut off same-day voter registration.
It was a large victory for people and organizations dedicated to increasing participation among all groups of voters, but it was also an especially powerful victory against a coordinated attack by well-funded right-wing politicians that is being waged across the country.
You've heard of the Koch brothers. They're the powerful billionaire tycoons who control Koch Industries, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, GOP politicians and independent expediture groups across the country, and many more aspects of the far-right. They've done damage to workers' rights across the nation, and are now trying to restrict the right to vote -- as Time Magazine calls it, criminalizing voter registration.
This is a systematic campaign funded by David and Charles Koch and orchestrated primarily by the American Legislative Exchange Council (also known as ALEC). These measures, introduced in more than half of our fifty states, could significantly dampen Democratic turnout next year. Large corporations pay ALEC to sit at a table and write legislation that benefits their industry (and in this case, restricts voting rights), and those bills then get passed on to state legislators, who are directed to shepherd the bills through the legislative process. Under the cover of ALEC, the public never knows that it's the largest corporations and richest people in the country who are actually writing the bills.
"Just as Dixiecrats once used poll taxes and literacy tests to bar black Southerners from voting, a new crop of GOP governors and state legislators has passed a series of seemingly disconnected measures that could prevent millions of students, minorities, immigrants, ex-convicts and the elderly from casting ballots." -- "The GOP War on Voting" Rolling Stone