The Shamefulness of Voter Suppression

I continue to be outraged at the ways Republicans try to prevent Democrats from voting. It’s called voter suppression, and it’s normally aimed at poor people and ethnic minorities. I find it totally shameful. And un-American. I cannot possibly champion democracy while also trying to prevent people from voting. The two don’t go together.

Now, I don’t have a problem with voter IDs. Though instances of voter fraud are extremely rare, the idea is valid. But Republicans have taken voter suppression way beyond that. A wide range of tactics are being used in local and state elections to make it more difficult for poor people and minorities to vote.

Here are some of the tactics being used.

  • Eliminate early voting days. Minorities use early voting far more extensively than other people.
  • Reduce the number of polling places in areas with large minority communities. One Florida county, heavy with minorities, eliminated half of the poliing places.
  • Redistrict to push all of a community’s minorities into a small number of districts to dilute their voting power.
  • Divide minority districts so that minorities now find themselves grouped into districts where their votes will be outnumbered by the majority population.
  • Limit the number of places and hours where you can get a voter ID.
  • Move polling places for urban districts to suburban locations.
  • Eliminate Sunday voting (a day when African Americans vote heavily).
  • Eliminate weekend early voting altogether (days when working class people are more likely to be off work).
  • Cut back on early morning and evening voting hours (to favor professional workers over working class workers).
  • Eliminate same-day registration.
  • Eliminate absentee voting.
  • In Dade County, Florida, where voting lines in minority districts were extremely long, voters weren’t allowed to use restrooms.
  • Purge suspected felons from voting rolls. They then show up to vote, and are told them aren’t registered. In Florida, this has happened to thousands of voters. In 2000, about 50,000 persons were told they would be dropped from the rolls unless they proved their innocence. Florida has also wrongfully purged persons for being non-citizens (including a World War 2 vet).
  • The Republican legislature in Wisconsin eliminated early voting on nights and weekends.
  • In some states, in order to get a voter ID, people must provide a residential address.
  • In Republican dominated Arizona, voter registration cards and other materials were distributed with the correct date on the English language version, and a date two days later (after the election) on the Spanish language version.
  • Place unreasonable requirements on nonprofit organizations that conduct voter registration drives. (Like the League of Women Voters.)
  • Until 2008, over half of Floridians used early voting, a disproportionate number being minorities. Florida reduced early voting from 14 days to 8 days. Ohio went further, reducing early voting from 35 days to 11 days. Both states eliminated voting on the Sunday before the election; black churches have historically mobilized members to vote on that day.
  • Georgia reduced early voting from 45 to 21 days. Wisconsin cut out 16 days, West Virginia 5 days.
  • Require a photo ID, and that it be gotten from the DMV…and then reduce DMV hours leading up to the election.
  • Put voting locations for poor people in areas where they must pay for parking.
  • To cut down on young voters, who tend to vote Democratic, several states no longer allow student IDs from state universities to be used as voter ID.
  • An estimated 25% of African American’s don’t have a current government-issued photo ID.
  • Deny voting rights to ex-felons who complete their sentences. There are 5.3 million Americans, disproportionately minorities, who are former felons.
  • Require a birth certificate as proof of citizenship, and then make it difficult to get a birth certificate. Cut the hours of agencies that give out birth certificates, and also require a fee to obtain a copy of your birth certificate.
  • Disallow a birth certificate if the person spells their name differently than on the birth certificate.
  • Require a photo ID to get a birth certificate…and require a birth certificate to get a photo ID.
  • Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Texas closed DMV branch offices.
  • In the weeks leading up to an election, cut the hours of agencies that issue photo IDs.
  • Eliminating early voting increases the size of lines on election day, which makes it more difficult for working class people to take the time needed to vote.

Those are just some of the tactics Republicans are using. They DO NOT want certain people to vote. Like I said–totally shameless, and un-American.

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