-By Larry Margasak, The Associated Press
December 20, 2012- WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats and Republicans sparred Wednesday over whether voter ID laws, attempts to purge voter rolls and restricted early voting were legitimate efforts to stop fraud or mainly Republican strategies to hold down Democratic votes.
Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, a onetime Republican who recently turned Democrat, said the state GOP aimed its efforts at Hispanics and African-Americans. They cited as one example the elimination of early voting on the Sunday before the election, when members of those groups historically vote after church.
At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the senior Republican on the panel, defended Republican efforts to clear the rolls of ineligible voters and was backed by two Republican secretaries of state — Matt Schultz of Iowa and Ken Bennett of Arizona.
"I believe voter ID laws are commonsense measures to prevent voter fraud," Grassley said.