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What Is Voter Suppression?

October 7, 2016

[Updates:  12-16-16:  Nationalizing the Republican NC model.  12-23:  Plus.  1-7 progress report.  2-12-17:  Implications of silencing Elizabeth Warren and Coretta Scott King in the process of affirming Jefferson Beauregard Sessions for Attorney General and of Trump’s lies about voter fraud. 3-1-17:  How justice works:  the case of the TX Voter ID law, before the Sort.  3-26:  Repub state gov = voter suppression and union suppression.  4-5 Kansas AG is in trouble again.  4-11  AL political motivation.  MT political motivation.  4-18  IN purges almost 500K registered voters (this is an established R tactic known as “caging”, in which the registered voter is sent a postcard and if, for any reason, the voter does not respond, the voter is purged.  4-21  Crt strikes TX Gerrymandering because of racist motivation.  GA tries to suppress likely Dem vote in 6th district final.  And on 5-8.  5-11  President tries to boost Republican voter suppression efforts.  7-15  NH makes it harder to register to vote during last 30 days before election (then on 9-12).  8-8  DOJ reverses and sides with OH effort to purge voters.

5-15  Wow, the NC model.  5-22 Plus the NV Gerrymander efforts.  6-5  Progress in courts toward correcting NC racist gerrymandering.  8-10 52% of Rs would postpone 2020 election if Trompf called for it.  8-24  On T’s fraudulent claim of voter fraud, and Democratic resistance to his commission.  TX‘s highly restrictive law is in trouble in court for being racist.  9-13  And Now, ladies and gents, in a Grand Republican Effort, a Trumpian, national election integrity commission is working to con the citizenry and massively suppress the vote. / 5-4 SupCrt conservative majority temporarily upholds TX racist gerrymandering (this is what the obvious looks like).] 9-17 Andrew Gumble (Guardian) on how Kobach-Reps-Trump are trying to suppress the vote.

Because I often refer to this phenomenon, I want to state what I mean by that, with examples.

I mean systematic efforts (legal and illegal) by one political party (say Republican, since they’re the ones who do it) to prohibit, or at least significantly inhibit, voting by citizens who, they believe, as a demographic, are likely to vote for a candidate from the opposing party (say, Democratic).

This can readily be done by the party that controls state and local governments, notably when the Secretary of State, the official who controls the elections apparatus and procedures, is a Republican.

Here are some recent examples that provide at least a sketch of how it’s working (I’ll add as I find):

Alabama closes voter registration (DMV) in black areas; Arizona attempt to suppress is blocked, but then (one more way a Dem SC will make a difference); Florida suppresses black vote, & Florida governor refuses to extend deadline in response to hurricane; Georgia rejects thousands of registration forms by using error-riddled data base, & GA again; Illinois blocks same-day registration; Indiana sued for suppressing registration, & Indiana state police raid and shut down voter registration organization (a follow-up, and another); Iowa R Senator sees no need to improve voting rights; Kansas purges voter rolls, and Kansas prosecutes, as criminals, elderly voters who clearly didn’t understand that there were doing anything wrong; Kentucky new R governor rescinds felon voting rights that D governor put in place; Michigan (12/16); Missouri legislature moves to strip voting rights from state constitution; North Carolina modifies early voting to aid Republican candidates, and keeps at it, and “cages, and sure ‘nuf, but judge says Nope, and they brag about it, and now, and more;” New Jersey governor vetoes “democracy act;” Nevada Native Americans must travel long distances to register, and still doOhio makes it harder for inactive voters to become active again, and Ohio voters lose “golden week” of early voting (which minorities especially use); Pennsylvania voter intimidation, and PA again; Texas county’s photo ID law, and Texas disenfranchisement; Virginia attempt to block ex-felons from voting; Wisconsin requires photo ID and systematically fails to provide them, & more WI & more.

Plus: when courts deny suppression, state officials drag their feet.

Something that has happened since the republican majority on the Supreme Court took away the protections in the voting Rights Act.

Opinion of the Washington Post editorial board.

Here’s an article about the problem in general, including results of R majority on Supreme court striking provisions of the Voting Rights Act (such as fewer federal observers).

About Trump’s threatening the integrity of the election by weaponizing the voter fraud scam; and here’s how that raises a problem because of 1981 RNC voter intimidation.

An historical context.

Here’s a site that monitors suppression.

And here are seven measures for protecting voting rights.

A contrast between R WI and D MN.

Why do Rs resort to this undemocratic tactic? Because in many places the majority of potential voters are sure to vote Democratic, if given a chance. Here’s an interesting paragraph from The Atlantic, back in January:

Just as Clinton would govern to Obama’s left, it’s likely that any Republican capable of winning the presidency in 2016 would govern to the left of George W. Bush. In the first place, winning at all would require a different coalition. When Bush won the presidency in 2000, very few Millennials could vote. In 2016, by contrast, they will constitute roughly one-third of those who turn out. In 2000, African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians constituted 20 percent of voters. In 2016, they will constitute more than 30 percent. Whit Ayres, a political consultant for the Rubio campaign, calculates that even if the 2016 Republican nominee wins 60 percent of the white vote (more than any GOP nominee in the past four decades except Reagan, in 1984, has won), he or she will still need almost 30 percent of the minority vote. Mitt Romney got 17 percent.

The political philosophy of the modern Republican party is anti-democracy. They are willing to weaken and thwart democracy if they need to do so in order to get and keep power.

Of course Republicans know that the majority of Americans favor democracy, so they mask their real purpose by spreading the lie that they are defending democracy against massive “voter fraud” on the part of Democrats (who will do anything to get and keep power). Many studies have been made, to determine whether there is much fraudulent voting, and they all have found that the amount is miniscule (not just insignificant, essentially nonexistent).

Of course this is not a new thing. It used to be done with guns; and both parties were guilty of it, especially in locations such as SE KY.

Trump is on it, however.  10-18:  Seriously.  And with Koch Bros (NLC) “election protection.”  10-27  Trump campaign explains plan to suppress Dem vote.  10-29 Summary of current state of affairs.  11-4:  T campaign still on it.

11-29-16:  The Trump Admin potential.  And another.  12-3:  Another.

12-4-16:  Suppression techniques used to undermine confidence in democracy itself.

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