Nel's New Day

October 22, 2018

GOP Can Defeat Democrats Only by Cheating

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 8:36 PM

The midterms are two weeks from tomorrow, and Democrats are working hard to get people to the polls. Gerrymandering isn’t enough to keep Republicans winning; the GOP has to keep voters from casting ballots to elect candidates. They know that an honest election would elect many Democrats, so the principal GOP tactic to preserve white supremacy in a party comprised of 90 percent white people in a country of 60 percent white people is to prevent voting.

In just the past year, 31 state legislatures introduced 99 bills to keep voters from the polls. These are mostly legal because the GOP Supreme Court justices largely eviscerated the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in its majority opinion of the 2013 Shelby v. Holder case. Texas waited only an hour after that ruling to begin the flood of voter suppression bills that added to the prevention of six million people with past convictions from voting—20 percent of eligible age blacks.

At one time, registering voters was a positive goal. Now in Texas, a group calling itself “True the Vote” expressed horror that “counties are being buried under hundreds of thousands of incoming voter registrations, all being strategically submitted in mass [sic].” Co-founder and Tea-Partier Catherine Engelbrecht retaliated against Houston Votes when it ran a voter registration campaign by accusing the group of being affiliated with the extremist Black Panther Party. State officials seized Houston Votes equipment during an armed raid. No evidence of voter fraud was found, but the group was forced to close. In the 2010 election, white poll watchers harassed black voters, one of them Gloria Alred who was disabled by a stroke who was being helped by her son who had been sworn in by poll workers.

New laws support claims that the removal of a provision in the Voting Rights Act puts burdens on people in the South to keep them from voting, but northern states such as Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Iowa follow the patterns of the South. For example, The Ohio Voter Integrity Project targeting 1077 Hamilton County residents of poor black neighborhoods, telling them that “your right to vote has been challenged by a qualified elector.”

Many states restrict voters by race and income by mandates on voter IDS, refusal to recognize voter registrations, shorter times for early voters, failure to put places to vote in locations such as Native American reservations, elimination of student voting until sued, denial of names different on birth certificates even on identification for married women, shortage of voting polls, lack of addresses changes as mandated by federal law—even intimidating people attempting to vote. Arizona’s polling places are far from many of people living on the reservations and doesn’t let non-family members take ballots to the drop-off places; North Dakota mandates street addresses for voting although they may not be available on the reservation. States such as North Carolina eliminate times for voters so that hourly-wage workers cannot get to polls, and the Supreme Court refuses to rule on lawsuits that would reinstate voters’ rights.

Barriers to the ballot box include purging large numbers of voters from the polls—which the GOP Supreme Court accepts. This practice is easily done in states with Republicans in charge of elections, especially when they are running for office as in Kansas and Georgia. About 16 million voters were removed from registration with three years of Shelby–about ten percent of registered voters. Other methods of keep people from registering are closing DMV offices in places with large minority populations, cutting early and absentee voting, pushing for provisional ballots that won’t be counted, and blocking students from voting.

A bogus software program called Interstate Crosscheck has been used to purge 14 million registered voters—almost ten percent. The majority of these purges are for people of color, young and elderly voters, residents of Democratic-majority areas, and those with ethnic-sounding last names. The same program doesn’t cause serious problems for white voters.

Republicans, desperate from fear that these underhanded tactics won’t work, now have moved on to a system of not processing registration forms, especially in Arizona, Missouri, and Georgia. Arizona broke the federal law by not forwarding change of addresses for 384,000 people getting driver’s licenses. That’s over ten percent of the 3.6 million voters in the state. Missouri is doing the same thing to 200,000 updated voter records in a state where the GOP senate opponent to incumbent Claire McCaskill is ahead in the polls by only 10,000 votes. Georgia has a simpler process: Secretary of State Brian Kemp put 53,000 registration forms—over 90 percent of them from blacks—into a drawer as he waits for white people to vote for him in his gubernatorial run at the midterms. Last year, Kemp purged 668,000 voters from the registration lists, and this year he rejected 8.5 percent of early absentee ballots. On the first day of early voting in Georgia, voting computers failed to work at libraries in Fulton County, with a population over 1 million. Tennessee has rejected half of 36,000 voter registration forms as invalid but refuses to explain why.

County officials in a rural Georgia county ordered largely black senior citizens in rural Georgia headed for voting polls off a bus provided by the nonpartisan Black Voters Matter. A county administrator said that the trip was “political activity” and that he “felt uncomfortable with allowing senior center patrons to leave the facility in a bus with an unknown third party.” These were adults who had met at the center for a meeting; they weren’t residents. The bus had already been approved, but someone called to complain. The Senior Center bus to transport voters was also cancelled. Like the middle of the 20th century in the South, white people prevent blacks from getting on a bus.

The term “get out of Dodge” truly applies to Dodge City (KS) where the one polling place for 13,000 voters has been moved out of town, over a mile from the closest bus stop. Kansas has an average of 1,200 per polling place which are typically within the city limits. With meat-packing the majority industry, the town of 27,000 people has a majority of Latinx, but whites run the city. Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who is running for governor, also runs the election.

Locations of voting places can influence the way that people vote. Churches make people more likely to vote conservative. People in the U.S. object to the use of mosques for polling places.

Republicans have expanded their fraudulent tricks to restrict elections of progressive candidates:

  • Fake flyers in Washington state that appear to be sent by the Democratic party claim that progressive candidates aren’t far enough left and people should write in other names to solve that problem. Conscience of the Progressives is largely funding by a conservative pack whose biggest donor is Peter Zieve, an anti-Muslim aerospace entrepreneur who gave $1 million to DDT’s presidential campaign.
  • The Missouri Republican Party sent mailers to 10,000 voters with incorrect information about the deadline for absentee ballots, claiming that it was a week earlier than the election date of November 6. When they were caught, they said that it was just a mistake.
  • At least 1,500 Twitter accounts from a pro-DDT group gave the date of Election Day on the day after November 6, the real Election Day.
  • Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) sent out a mailer giving the wrong date—after Election Day—for the absentee ballot deadline for the past two consecutive election years.
  • John Whitmer, GOP lawmaker supporting Kris Kobach for governor, tweeted that Republicans vote on November 6 and Democrats vote on November 8. Whitmer won’t be back next year; he lost his primary last summer.

DDT joined the voter suppression movement with this threatening tweet:

“All levels of government and Law Enforcement are watching carefully for VOTER FRAUD, including during EARLY VOTING. Cheat at your own peril. Violators will be subject to maximum penalties, both civil and criminal!”

At the same time, the DOJ has filed not one case to enforce the limping Voter Rights Act and refuses to protect minority voters’ rights.

Some of us are entitled voters—no one tries to block our vote, we have easy transportation, white people have far shorter voting lines, we have easy access to voter ID because of our birth situation and wealthy, and many of us have an easier time getting to the polls. In Oregon where I live, we don’t even have to go to the polls: since the mandatory vote-by-mail law was passed in 1998, voter turnout of registered voters was under 70 percent only one year when it was 69 percent. In presidential elections it has been over 80 percent since then except for the 79.8 percent in 2000.

Some critics claim that people are too lazy to vote or just don’t care. Looking at the barriers to voting in the United States, I think it’s a miracle that any minority or low-income person casts a ballot.

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