Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The (GOP's) War on Voting Rights

Once again, for emphasis (courtesy clammyc at Booman):

According to The League of Women Voters, close to 11% of Americans (21 million) have no photo identification. They break this down a bit further:
he following statistics reflect those individuals who do not have photo identification:

  • 11% or as many as 21 million Americans
  • 36% of voters in Georgia over the age of 75;
  • 18% of Americans over 65 (6 million);
  • 25% of African Americans;
  • 10% or 40 million people with disabilities;
  • 15% of low income voters
Here are a few more numbers:

  • 650,000 registered voters in Georgia have no photo-ID (law recently passed);
  • 200,000 Missourians of voting age, including 16% of seniors, have no photo-id;
  • 5.5 million African American voting age citizens have no photo-ID;
  • 6 million senior citizens have no photo-id
And just for good measure, here are a few other breakdowns:
People with disabilities:

According to disability advocates, nearly ten percent of the 40 million Americans with disabilities do not have any form of state-issued photo identification. Source: Center for Policy Alternatives

Low income people: Citizens earning less than $35,000 per year are more than twice as likely to lack current government-issued photo identification as those earning more than $35,000. Indeed, the survey indicates that at least 15 percent of voting-age American citizens earning less than $35,000 per year do not have a valid government-issued photo ID. Source: NYU and Brennen Center Survey

Forget the e-machine vote hacking (can't be proved beyond a reasonable doubt). In fact, forget about calling them "stolen elections" any more, because of the same "It's always happened/you can't prove it" rebuttal. Dismiss the thousands and thousands of anecdotal instances of vote-flipping, along with exit poll discrepancies for the same reason. In fact ...

It seems like the whole “War On [insert boogyman here]” theme works well, and the fact is, all of the above - not to mention the few other matters that have come to light over the past few years with respect to election-related issues and questionable vote suppression laws and actions.

So let's just forget all that. The real challenge to democracy this go-round is voter suppression and intimidation, like what happened in Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004, except this time rolled out nationally, as the Republican brand managers might say. clammyc summarizes:

You do it by rigging the system from the inside - by massive voter roll purges that are designed to purge the very demographics that are most likely to hurt the other party, by challenging districting in order to “make it more fair for people’s votes to be reflective of the district”, by implementing laws that are meant to keep millions of people who are likely to vote for the other party from voting and by stacking the deck in the positions where the voting machines are selected and monitored, where the federal and state election laws are “interpreted”, where the decisions are made with respect to voter registration and how the elections are run and even having cousins in the very media outlets who are calling the races for their candidate-cousins.

Make no mistake - this is a more than just a major partisan initiative. This is an all-out assault on the voting rights of millions of potential Democratic voters and therefore, votes. This is a premeditated, long term, wide ranging attack against millions of Americans’ voting rights. But it isn’t just an assault on Democratic voters. It is an assault on the most basic right that a democracy affords.

And it should be referred to accordingly.

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