Archive for Vote Suppression
Many have commented on the recent Facebook posting by a Georgia Republican state senator. Fran Millar complained about siting an early voting location in a South DeKalb mall heavily used by African American residents, a location with large black churches nearby. Millar then made things worse in followup comments:
“I would prefer more educated voters than a greater increase in the number of voters. If you don’t believe this is an efort [sic] to maximize Democratic votes pure and simple, then you are not a realist. This is a partisan stunt and I hope it can be stopped.”
That feeling among Republicans goes back at least to Paul Weyrich’s oldy-goldy, Goo-Goo syndrome speech from 1980.
George Chidi, a Georgia journalist writing in the Guardian, acknowledges the partisan flavor of the location decision, calling the plan “a gigantic middle finger to Republicans intent on suppressing black voters.” But if Republicans want to head off “the coming demographic Armageddon,” Chidi believes, they might just want to start courting those black voters.
Considering that early voting will begin in a few weeks, I want pivot to Millar’s crack about preferring “more educated voters” to more voters generally. It’s easy to sneer at Millar for (basically) calling constituents stupid. Besides being condescending, it’s not the message to send people right before you ask for their votes.
Yet, I sometimes hear the same from lefties about poor, white, Republican voters. Occasionally, they just blurt out that voters are stupid. More often it’s couched in a dog-whistle complaint about people voting against their best interests. Which, if you think about it, is just a more polite way of saying the same thing.
As a field organizer in the South, I remind canvassers that, no, those voters are not stupid. They’re busy. With jobs and kids and choir practice and soccer practice and church and PTA and Friday night football and more. Unlike political junkies, they don’t keep up with issues. They don’t have time for the issues. When they go to the polls they are voting to hire someone to keep up with the issues for them. And when they look at a candidate — your candidate — what they are really asking themselves is simple: “Is this someone I can trust?”
One of my favorite southernisms is, “I wouldn’t trust anyone my dog doesn’t like.” That, I caution canvassers, is how most Americans really vote, like it or not. And if you don’t purge the thought, those “low information” voters? They will know you think they’re stupid before you do. Right before you ask for their votes.
(Cross-posted from Hullabaloo.)
“It’s just sad when a political party has so lost faith in its ideas that it’s pouring all of its energy into election mechanics. I am not willing to defend them anymore.” – retiring Wisconsin state Senator Dale Schultz, the sole Senate Republican to oppose early voting limits
The New York Times editorial page the other day turned it’s ire on voter the fraud squad. Specifically, on Texas where the Justice Department and other groups are in court challenging its absurdly restrictive 2011 identity card law. (Almost as absurd as North Carolina’s.) The Times states the obvious: These laws are about erecting obstacles to Democratic-leaning voters voting.
The laws’ backers rely on a 2008 Supreme Court ruling upholding an Indiana voter-ID law, but at least two of the judges in that case have since admitted they were wrong. Richard Posner, a federal appeals court judge who approved the law, said last fall that voter-ID laws were “now widely regarded as a means of voter suppression rather than of fraud prevention.” And former Justice John Paul Stevens, who voted with the majority, said that in retrospect the dissent was “dead right.”
Rather than find a way to appeal to a wider swath of voters, Republican lawmakers rig the game with pointless obstacles to voting. The courts are finally catching on, but in the meantime, many of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens are shut out of the democratic process.
Oh, you have to give the voter fraud squads their due for dedication. Whatever else, they are persistent. The “evidence” they produce to support their claims of rampant fraud are voluminous. What they lack in quality they make up for in quantity. Fraud theorists have never produced actual wrongdoers in numbers to justify claims of widespread fraud. But statistical analyses? They produce those in bulk.
They’ve got nothing. But we are to be impressed by the sheer volume of the nothing. So much so that we will agree to requiring every American to present a photo identity card before voting. Because nothing says freedom like a government official asking to see your papers.
Rise Above The Snake Line!
MOUNTAIN MORAL MONDAY RETURNS TO WNC!
Join folks from across the region and state for another energizing and inspiring Mountain Moral Monday – “Moral March to the Polls Rally” on August 4, from 5-6:30 pm at Pack Square Park in downtown Asheville.
The Mountain People’s Assembly, a coalition of WNC organizations, and regional WNC NAACP Branches, will host the return of Mountain Moral Monday, a non-partisan program that will highlight the destructive policies enacted by the N.C. statehouse over the past year while strongly focusing on the voter empowerment campaign, “Moral March to the Polls.”
The event will feature Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, President of the NC NAACP and other guest speakers, as well as musical entertainment. In addition, there will be opportunities for participants to get involved in voter registration, education and Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) efforts during the current mid-term election cycle. ‘Moral Freedom Summer’ Organizers and volunteers will be available to help register voters.
To sign on as a supporter or for more information, email email@example.com.
We look forward to seeing you there
Click image for more info.
The voter suppression people make Thom Tillis look sane. Yes, it’s come to this.
The head of the Voter Integrity Project (VIP-NC) was on Pete Kalliner’s show on Monday urging listeners to call their representatives to oppose this Tillis-sponsored bill that passed unanimously in the NC House (115-0).
AN ACT TO CLARIFY THAT A VOTER WHO CASTS A MAIL-IN ABSENTEE BALLOT OR AN IN-PERSON ONE-STOP EARLY VOTE AND DIES THEREAFTER MAY NOT HAVE THAT BALLOT CHALLENGED ON ACCOUNT OF DEATH
Poll watchers in Mississippi? What could go wrong?
Several right-wing groups have banded together to form a “voter integrity project’ in response to the news that Republican Senator Thad Cochran is courting black Democratic voters in his runoff with the Tea partier Chris McDaniel.
The Senate Conservatives Fund, Freedom Works and the Tea Party Patriots, all political action committees, will “deploy observers in areas where Mr. Cochran is recruiting Democrats,” according to a Times article. Ken Cuccinelli, the president of the Senate Conservative Funds, said these observers would be trained to see “whether the law is being followed.”
In a the source report, a Tea Party supporter suggested the Cochran campaign had (paraphrased, highlighting mine) “hired a community organizer to pay blacks to show up at the polls on Tuesday.”
Because that’s what “community organizers” do, isn’t it? wink.wink
NC’s Voter Integrity Project will be watching the polls here this election. Stay tuned.
Ben Jealous calls for massive voter registration in the Southin a report for the Center for American Progress:
The first and most important lesson is that massive voter registration can overcome massive voter suppression. Our analysis shows that registering just 30 percent of eligible unregistered black voters or other voters of color could shift the political calculus in a number of Black Belt states, helping blacks elect candidates who share their concerns or alternatively, forcing all candidates to pay attention to the community’s concerns. Registering 60 percent or 90 percent would change the political calculus in an even greater number of states.
Jealous speculates it would take $6-7 million to sign up the 350,000 unregistered black voters in South Carolina, for example, and change the political calculus there, as well as in other southern states. He’s calling for another Freedom Summer to do just that.
The parties can find a billion dollars to spend on presidential races. Jealous thinks we all need to get a clue and spend a tiny fraction of that to change politics in the South. Republican margins of victory in states across the “Black Belt” are substantially less than the number of unregistered people of color there. The extreme right knows this, and knows that demographics are not in their favor for the foreseeable future. Hence the wave of voter suppression efforts across the South and elsewhere.
The report is here.
Willie Mims, 93, showed up to vote at his polling place in Escambia County Tuesday morning for Alabama’s primary elections. Mims, who is African-American, no longer drives, doesn’t have a license, and has no other form of ID. As a result, he was turned away without voting. Mims wasn’t even offered the chance to cast a provisional ballot, as the law requires in that situation.
BTW, the Alabama GOP is offering a $1,000 cash reward for any snipe hunter who turns up some voter fraud.
Brad follows up today with another senior denied the right to vote (via AL.com):
An assumption behind GOP voter ID efforts is the idea that if even one illegitimate vote gets counted because some fraudster impersonated another person at the polls, that’s intolerable because it cancels out the vote of some honest, decent, Real American™ voter.
Although they have failed time and time again to document that voter impersonation fraud is a real and widespread problem, photo ID proponents believe the very possibility of it happening is enough to justify requiring everyone in America to present photo IDs at the polls.
Well, here’s even one honest, decent, Real American™ voter whose vote may be cancelled out by voter ID. She’s only one of many.
As the Waco Tribune reports, 92-year old Ruby Barber has tried, but has so far failed, to obtain one of those so-called “free” Photo IDs from the Texas Dept. of Public Safety (DPS), now that one is required for her to cast her legal vote this year, as she had for decades, until now, without a problem.
Barber’s story is heartbreaking and maddening but, unfortunately, probably not entirely rare. The DoJ estimated, based on the state’s supplied data when the federal agency blocked the law in 2012, “the total number of registered voters [in Texas] who lack a driver’s license or personal identification card issued by DPS could range from 603,892 to 795,955.”
Brad Friedman has more here.
This week’s Sunday sermon appeared in the Asheville Citizen-Times:
We cannot thank Jay DeLancy enough for the vast amounts of volunteer time and more-limited funds he’s spent, as other voter fraud sleuths, chasing voter impersonation fraud, dead voters (some of whom aren’t), clerical errors and data entry errors in the state’s voter records. (Identity theft is his latest bugaboo.) Since accuracy of the lists is the Voter Integrity Project’s concern, perhaps they would donate those funds to the state Board of Elections, earmarked for database maintenance instead. It would free up the local Voter Integri-T-Party to spend its time registering new voters, getting them to the polls and showing the rest of us how to win elections the American way. Unless they lack the electoral confidence that they can.