Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Voter Suppression

One of the things Conservatives/Republicans have been doing the past few years that is quietly remaking America and not in a good way is actively working to suppress the votes of Democratic leaning voters.

In state after state, Republican led Legislatures with Republican Governors have passed bills designed to make it harder to vote.  And the way these laws have been structured has been designed to affect groups that usually vote Democratic more than groups that usually vote Republican.

The most widespread of these efforts are laws passed in many states requiring that people present a government issued photo ID.  They claim that all they want to do is protect the integrity of the voting booth by ensuring that you really are who you say you are when you show up to vote.  That almost sounds reasonable.  But consider who this law has the affect of targeting.  People in urban areas who don't own a car and therefore don't have a drivers license.  Poorer people who, again, don't have cars and therefore don't have drivers licenses.  Both groups of people who tend to vote Democratic.

And the types of ID's they will accept even has a bias.  In Texas, you can present a state issued concealed gun carry permit, but not a Student ID issued by any University, even state universities.  Now lets see, students and carriers of concealed weapons.  Who do you think is more likely to vote Democratic.

A significantly higher percentage of minority voters vote early or vote absentee.  You see its easier to vote on Saturday than on a day you are have to be at work.  One state eliminated voting the Sunday before election day.  Its must be a coincidence that many black churches load up the buses after Sunday Worship and head on down to the County Courthouse the Sunday before Election Day so they can vote early as a group.

Poor and minority voters are far more likely to be registered to vote in Voter Registration drives, so states are making it harder to run Voter Registration Drives.  In Florida, a High School Teacher was literally charged with a crime because she didn't turn in the voter registration cards for her Senior Students in the 48 hours allowed by law.  That bastion of Liberalism and even Anarchy, the League of Women Voters, is largely giving up on Voter Registration Drives in Florida because the law is so restrictive and the penalties so severs.

And then there is voter purging.  Republican Governors seemingly want to ensure that only people legally allowed to register are registered, so they hire company to search the voter rolls for people who have the same name as a convicted felon.  They then send the now suspect voter a letter demanding proof that they are legally eligible to vote and if the letter isn't returned quick enough, the voter is purged from the rolls.  They did this in Florida and ILLEGALLY disenfranchised around 8000 voters.  And guess what, most of those voters were poor and minorities.  Can you just imagine how the Florida vote might have turned out if those 8000 voters had been allowed to vote.
And, no surprise here, Florida is at it again.  The Florida Secretary of States office sent out voter purge lists so worthless that many county election supervisors simply refused to act on them.
Each of these laws, deliberately or not, makes it harder to vote and the burdens imposed by this law fall most heavily on those who would mostly vote Democratic.  I personally don't think that is a surprise.  Its got to be a good electoral strategy to suppress the turnout of your opponents voters.
Somehow Republicans/Conservatives want you to believe that they JUST HAVE TO TO THIS to protect the integrity of the voting process itself.

But when asked how many cases they know of people actually showing up at a polling place and trying to vote using someone else's name, they don't know.  The Bush II administration Justice Department made finding and prosecuting voter fraud a priority.  And yet, the best the Department of Justice could do in 8 years of trying was a couple of dozen convictions for voter fraud, and very few of those were for the kind of fraud that these voter suppression laws would prevent.

Here in South Bend Indiana, there was a real case of voter fraud.  But like most voter fraud this was wholesale.  The local supervisor of elections, and one of his minions conspired to rig the vote for their candidates in some local primaries.  And they did it the old fashioned way, they doctored the voting documents.  They didn't have to send 10's or 100's of fraudulent voters to the polls to vote as someone else, they simply made up the votes they needed and submitted the made up numbers as if they were real.  That the kind of voter fraud that actually happens.  That the kind of voter fraud that can really swing or steal an election.  But that is not what all the Republican Governors are attacking.

They are attacking the 80 year old Nun who had voted in every election since Truman.  But she didn't have a government issued ID.  She was a Nun.  But she wasn't allowed to vote.

And then about a week ago we get a bit of utter honesty from a Republican official in Pennsylvania.  he told a friendly audience that the new Voter ID laws were going to win the state for Romney.
The supposedly liberal main stream media isn't making any noise about this, and I don't know why.

Voter suppression is a crime, but they are getting away with it.

If you talk to a Conservative about this, ask them how much individual voter fraud, you know the kind these bills will prevent, how much of that fraud is actually happening.  They will dodge the question and make nice sounding statements about protecting the integrity of the voting booth and then probably ask you if you want illegal immigrants to be voting or some other such BS, but they won't actually answer the question.  Because there is no rash of voter fraud that would justify all of these new laws.  It isn't there.  But they can't admit that because then the only reason left to them is the real reason, the reason admitted to by the hapless Republican official in Pennsylvania.  These laws aren't about protecting anything honest and good.  These laws are about suppressing the vote of those they disagree with.

If you aren't outraged, you should be.

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