Managing the Vote

repugsAs we head into the home stretch of this campaign season, Republicans are doing everything they can to keep anyone who might be a Democrat from voting. It’s so blatant it would be funny if it weren’t so alarming.

They have their work cut out for them. So little time, so many likely Democrats – poor people, black people, Hispanics, old people, women, students…

That’s what happens when you antagonize wide swaths of the electorate. But they’re giving it the old college try. In states across the country, the Republicans are passing laws demanding hard-to-get voter identification, cutting back on early voting and purging Democratic-sounding names from registration lists.

The campaign focuses most on minority voters. The ACLU sums up the situation this way:

Minority voters still face significant obstacles in registering to vote and casting ballots. Attempts to manipulate the law in ways that will disadvantage communities of color continue nationwide

But it’s also aimed at students and the disadvantaged of any complexion. More and more, the Republicans represent only middle-aged, white, male Americans. Rich white, male Americans. And they don’t want to let the rest of us get to a ballot box.

In this ugly scam, even the courts are complicit. I’m sure you remember how the right-wing Supreme Court justices struck a blow against democracy by gutting the Voting Rights Act? Well, the rest of the justice system is doing its part, too.

The latest example comes from Wisconsin, where the  Republican majority on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has overruled a lower court’s decision and upheld a new law requiring some 300,000 residents  to go and get picture IDs if they want to vote. Not just any picture ID, specific kinds of ID that the Republican controlled legislature favors (and you know that doesn’t include student cards).

Wisconsin has lots of company.

As Leo W. Gerard writes in the Huffington Post today:

Since 2010, Republicans have passed voter-suppression laws in 22 states, and nearly half the nation’s population could be affected in November’s balloting. Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP have succeeded in postponing and overturning some. That includes the one in Pennsylvania, where the law’s Republican supporters conceded in court they had absolutely no evidence of in-person voter fraud.

Voter fraud. That’s what the Republicans are protecting us against. Even though they can’t find any fraud.  You never know, there might be fraud somewhere some time.

Or not. According to Gerard’s article:

The Brennan Center for Justice studied the allegations of in-person voter fraud and described it as essentially a myth, an event that almost never occurs.

Voter ID laws are just a part of a broader strategy. You know about gerrymandering, of course. That’s where legislatures redraw voting districts to lump as many Democrats as possible into as few districts as possible, in some instances giving each Republican voter more than twice the clout of each Democratic voter.

Then there’s that trick they have of moving polling stations as far away as possible  from suspected Democratic hotbeds – like universities. And eliminating Sunday voting because they figure poor people can’t get time off during the week to vote.

With all this going on, I can’t imagine why any Democrat would voluntarily stay home in November.  You would think that those of us who can still vote wouldn’t let an army keep us from the polls.

Click to read Gerard’s article.

Click for more on voting rights,

Click for acceptable Wisconsin IDs.

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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