The suppression of voters rights has been one of the hallmark moves of the GOP since the 2010 elections. Well, that and getting into women’s vagina’s and controlling what we do with them. From a piece by Rep. Keith Ellison over at Campaign For America’s Future entitled Protecting The Right To Vote:
Last month, Dorothy Cooper, a 96-year-old African-American woman from Chattanooga, Tennessee, went to the ballot box to vote. Dorothy was born before women had the right to vote and when Jim Crow laws kept most African-Americans disenfranchised. Despite this, Dorothy has not missed a single election since 1960. Like many seniors, Dorothy has a Social Security card, a local photo ID issued by the Chattanooga Police Department—and a voter registration card.
Dorothy also has a rent receipt, a copy of her lease, and birth certificate. But a new Tennessee law requires all voters to have a valid state-issued voter ID in order to vote in the 2012 election. Because Dorothy took her husband’s name at marriage, the state will not accept her birth certificate (or any of her other forms of identification). And because Dorothy doesn’t have her marriage certificate, having been married decades ago, the state of Tennessee prohibits her from obtaining the ID needed to vote.
Dorothy is not alone. In Indiana, 12 nuns were denied the right to vote in the last presidential election because they didn’t have “updated” identification. The facts that some of them had old passports, they were in their 80s and 90s and didn’t drive–or that they’re nuns–seemed not to be a good basis for affirming their identities.
These are not isolated incidents. They are part of the largest effort to disenfranchise voters since the Jim Crow era, almost exclusively targeting youth and minority voters.. A recent study by the Brennan Center for Justice estimates that the Republican effort could make it harder for more than five million eligible voters to cast ballots in 2012.
This year, thirty-four state legislatures introduced bills requiring photo identification in order to vote. This rash of legislation classifies several previously accepted IDs as unacceptable, and will affect roughly 21 million Americans if they are passed. For the first time in our nation’s history, we would shrink the voting franchise instead of expanding it. (emphasis mine)
The last paragraph tells us the scope of this move by the GOP to suppress the vote and it’s fucking huge. 34 out of 50 states have passed laws to suppress the vote. A case getting national interest is a high school teacher that signs up her students to vote every year after giving a talk about the importance of voting to the student government association for her school. From The Daytona Beach News Sentinel:
NEW SMYRNA BEACH — The teacher who heads up New Smyrna Beach High School’s student government association could face thousands of dollars in fines. Her transgression? Helping students register to vote.
Prepping 17-year-olds for the privileges and responsibilities of voting in a democracy is nothing new for civics teachers, but when Jill Cicciarelli organized a drive at the start of the school year to get students pre-registered, she ran afoul of Florida’s new and controversial election law.
Among other things, the new rules require that third parties who sign up new voters register with the state and that they submit applications within 48 hours. The law also reduces the time for early voting from 14 days to eight and requires voters who want to give a new address at the polls to use a provisional ballot.
Republican lawmakers who backed the rules said they were necessary to reduce voter fraud. Critics — including U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who testified before a congressional committee — said the law would suppress voter participation.
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed suit to block implementation of the law. The most controversial elements are under review in federal court before they can be implemented in five counties.
Fear of violating the new rules prompted the League of Women Voters to suspend voter registration efforts in Florida. Local political activists in both parties have been similarly stymied, Volusia County Supervisor of Elections Ann McFall said.
Like everything else, the GOP makes up a crisis to justify the fuckery they perpetuate against America and it’s citizens. All these fucked-up voter suppression tactics have taken place in states now controlled by the GOP. Apparently helping their citizenry get jobs, staying in their homes or just making ends meet isn’t a top priority with these fuckers..serving their own self-interests by making sure poor people can’t vote is more important than anything else. Again from Rep. Ellison’s piece:
Groups promoting these laws, such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), argue there’s rampant voter fraud. Oddly enough this “fraud” seems to be occurring only within historically Democratic voting blocs like minorities and students. Yet ALEC and others have no problem squashing these groups’ voting rights–or the rights of elderly voters. Routinely issued student IDs won’t be accepted in some states–including my home state of Minnesota. The elderly, non-drivers, and millions of others will have to get identification. This sounds like a simple process, but imagine an 80 year old grandmother who has never driven and uses a wheelchair going through the process of getting non-drivers ID. If her social security card is accepted identification for her benefits, why isn’t it good enough to identify her for voting?
Rampant voter fraud does not exist anywhere in the U.S. Never has. For decades the GOP has tried to suppress the voting rights of people of color and just the poor or elderly in general.
As Ari Berman notes in a recent RS article, the GOP has declared war on Voting Rights and it’s being funded/backed by those dastardly bags of shit, the Koch Bros:
In a campaign supported by the Koch brothers, Republicans are working to prevent millions of Democrats from voting next year.
As the nation gears up for the 2012 presidential election, Republican officials have launched an unprecedented, centrally coordinated campaign to suppress the elements of the Democratic vote that elected Barack Obama in 2008. Just as Dixiecrats once used poll taxes and literacy tests to bar black Southerners from voting, a new crop of GOP governors and state legislators has passed a series of seemingly disconnected measures that could prevent millions of students, minorities, immigrants, ex-convicts and the elderly from casting ballots. “What has happened this year is the most significant setback to voting rights in this country in a century,” says Judith Browne-Dianis, who monitors barriers to voting as co-director of the Advancement Project, a civil rights organization based in Washington, D.C.
Republicans have long tried to drive Democratic voters away from the polls. “I don’t want everybody to vote,” the influential conservative activist Paul Weyrich told a gathering of evangelical leaders in 1980. “As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.” But since the 2010 election, thanks to a conservative advocacy group founded by Weyrich, the GOP’s effort to disrupt voting rights has been more widespread and effective than ever. In a systematic campaign orchestrated by the American Legislative Exchange Council – and funded in part by David and Charles Koch, the billionaire brothers who bankrolled the Tea Party – 38 states introduced legislation this year designed to impede voters at every step of the electoral process.
All told, a dozen states have approved new obstacles to voting. Kansas and Alabama now require would-be voters to provide proof of citizenship before registering. Florida and Texas made it harder for groups like the League of Women Voters to register new voters. Maine repealed Election Day voter registration, which had been on the books since 1973. Five states – Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia – cut short their early voting periods. Florida and Iowa barred all ex-felons from the polls, disenfranchising thousands of previously eligible voters. And six states controlled by Republican governors and legislatures – Alabama, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin – will require voters to produce a government-issued ID before casting ballots. More than 10 percent of U.S. citizens lack such identification, and the numbers are even higher among constituencies that traditionally lean Democratic – including 18 percent of young voters and 25 percent of African-Americans.
Taken together, such measures could significantly dampen the Democratic turnout next year – perhaps enough to shift the outcome in favor of the GOP. “One of the most pervasive political movements going on outside Washington today is the disciplined, passionate, determined effort of Republican governors and legislators to keep most of you from voting next time,” Bill Clinton told a group of student activists in July. “Why is all of this going on? This is not rocket science. They are trying to make the 2012 electorate look more like the 2010 electorate than the 2008 electorate” – a reference to the dominance of the Tea Party last year, compared to the millions of students and minorities who turned out for Obama. “There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today.”
This is an all-out war against our rights as citizens of this country. These laws can not be allowed to stand, we must do everything in our power to overturn them. We have to support the groups fighting against these obvious attempts to suppress the vote such as the League of Women Voters and the ACLU. Support them with your time or money…but just support their efforts because if we don’t…our votes might not amount to a hill of fucking beans in the next election, and that means we all lose and the minority party wins by manipulation because these laws affect millions and millions of votes and voters.
As a candidate, Obama is fighting this fuckery. From a piece over at Crooks and Liars on this incredibly important issue that is flying under the radar on most Corporate Media news groups:
Thankfully, Obama’s re-election campaign has been putting together a series of responses, fighting these sleazy and frankly anti-democratic GOP tactics, through voter-protection initiatives closely navigating these new election laws. Over in Congress, Representative Keith Ellison has introduced legislation to curb voter suppression. However, those who are interested in pushing back against the GOP’s war on voting, will get a chance to do it the old fashioned way – by VOTING (!) – next Tuesday in Maine.
For once I completely support candidate Obama on something. And it makes me glad to be able to say that.