Sunday, October 02, 2011

Another Way To Steal The Election

Watching America had a pretty good range of articles on the US from the international press this week, and I spent more time than usual during my Saturday survey at the site. My ultimate selection was pretty hard to pass by, even among the other excellent articles. Who could pass by a story with the headline "Republicans’ War Against Voters"? Certainly not me.

It's from France's Le Figaro and the analysis is right on the money. Although the US press has noticed the uptick in state laws restricting voter eligibility, few have made the connection between those restrictive laws and the GOP. Even fewer have explained just why that connection exists. This op-ed does both.

It hasn’t been seen since the days of segregation. The Republicans have mounted a campaign, devised and financed by the Koch brothers, who have been accused by The New Yorker of "waging war against Obama," to prevent the largest number of Democrats possible from voting in the next election. According to the organization The Advancement Project, which campaigns for civil rights, "we haven’t seen such a decline in voting in a century." ...

In fact, as many as 38 states, led by a conservative group called the American Legislative Exchange Council, funded by the Koch brothers, have put restrictions in place on voting rights. For example, Alabama and Kansas require proof of U.S. citizenship before voting. Florida and Texas limit the actions that certain liberal organizations can take to enlist new voters. Florida and Iowa prohibit voting by those who were sentenced to long terms in prison. Vermont ended a practice dating back to 1973 to allows registration on voting day. There is no limit to the Republicans’ vision of control over the states.

Six states require those voting to produce an identity card. In the United States, more than 10 percent of Americans do not have them, including 18 percent of youth and 25 percent of blacks, two groups who vote heavily in favor of Democrats. “In my life, since we eliminated the racist laws, there has never been such an effort made to limit the right to vote,” said an outraged Bill Clinton in July. The GOP has tried everything to make Barack Obama a “one term president.” Their dirty tricks may well come back to hit them in the face next November.
[Emphasis added]

Why the sudden surge in voter restriction laws? Voter fraud, minuscule to begin with, certainly has not risen. The article makes no bones in explaining the reason:

In the 1980s, the conservative theorist Paul Weyrich said, “I do not want everyone to go vote. Our power is increased when participation drops.” ... [Emphasis added]

Weyrich is still around and his assessment, which is totally accurate, is still in play. Add to the mix the Citizens United decision from the US Supreme Court and the horrendous state of the economy, and the GOP sees a prime chance to take over not only Congress and the White House, but also state legislatures and governors' mansions. By making it difficult for the elderly, the poor, and the black and brown voters to vote, they see a huge victory come November, 2012.

And it just might work, unless, of course, we do something about it. It's almost too late for the Obama administration to challenge those voter restriction laws, given the time it takes an appeal to reach the Supreme Court. Consequently, it behooves the rest of us to take action by working to turn out the vote and by assisting those whose votes might be unfairly challenged to obtain the requisite proof of eligibility. It also means we might have to hold our noses once again while we actively start recruiting and supporting liberal candidates with enough spine to push back against the Koch brothers.

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Anonymous hecatedemeter said...

Goddess bless you for the work that you do here.

11:31 AM  
Blogger John Gardner said...

we have vote by mail here in WA, so there's no id requirement when you vote.

And, at the DoL when you get a drivers license, they are required by law to ask you if you want to register to vote. And until recently, i think they were also required by law to not ask you if you were legally eligible to vote before you registered.

12:02 PM  

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