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It is time to get the facts straight about voter suppression laws; they have nothing to do with protecting elections and everything to do with making it more difficult for Democratic leaning voters to cast ballots.

Just ask President George W. Bush's Justice Department. In 2007, after the department performed “a crackdown on voter fraud,” it discovered “virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections.”

Although this confirmation from the last Republican President should have put GOP election fraud conspiracy theories to rest, instead new Republican majorities in legislatures from Michigan to Florida set about passing laws that make it more difficult for qualified people to vote.

So what is the real reason for these new laws that are little more than solutions looking for a problem?

According to transcripts from a recently released deposition, former Florida Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer revealed the real reason behind the coordinated attempts around the country to put barriers in front of citizens’ right to cast ballots.

During a December 2009 meeting with party officials, Mr. Greer's deposition explained, “I was upset because the political consultants and staff were talking about voter suppression and keeping blacks from voting.”    

In 2008, African-Americans comprised thirteen percent of the Florida electorate, and 96% of African-American voters cast their ballots for Barack Obama.  These voters were also integral in Democrats making gains in the Congress and gaining seats in state legislatures.

Now, under penalty of perjury, Republicans have come clean about their intentions about these new laws: these new laws have nothing to do with democracy and everything to do with disenfranchisement.

Greer's admission comes on the heels of Pennsylvania's House Majority Mike Turzai bragging that his state's new voter ID law "is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done." Wisconsin Republican state Senator Glen Grothman was later asked whether voter ID would also help the Romney campaign in his state, to which he answered, "Yes.  Right."

As President Lyndon Johnson said, “A man without a vote is man without protection,” and this coming election at least 5 million voters, predominantly young and from minority groups sympathetic to President Obama and other Democratic candidates, could be affected these new laws on Election Day in November.

In the next three months until the election, we must do everything possible to make sure that no one is turned away from the ballot box. We must never refer to these laws as “voter identification,” but call them what they are: “voter intimidation” and “voter suppression” laws.

Next, we need to educate as many voters as possible about the new laws to ensure that they can practice their constitutional right in November.  And finally, we must gather stories of legitimate voters being turned away from the polls so we can show the real impact of these laws in the next legislative session.

These are just the first steps in to turning back this tide and standing up for the most basic right in our democracy.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Justice Dept. Needs to Get Into High Gear nt (5+ / 0-)

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Aug 01, 2012 at 11:17:48 AM PDT

    •  They've already taken some action, but ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I won't be surprised if the net result of all this is overturning the Voting Rights Act.

      We've regressed a long way in my lifetime. I turned 18 the year of the first Presidential election after the ratification of the 26th Amendment. That was under Nixon.

      "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

      by Demi Moaned on Wed Aug 01, 2012 at 11:37:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The state of Florida, ie, Rick Scott (0+ / 0-)

      is ignoring the DOJ.  So much for enforcement.

      "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

      by gulfgal98 on Wed Aug 01, 2012 at 11:45:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hopefully (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MsGrin, worldlotus

    you are preaching to the choir here. For what its worth the idea that a political party will try to disenfranchise people after everything that has been sacrificed historically towards universal suffrage blows peoples minds - outside the US that is.

    In this country it is just regarded as business as normal by far too many.

  •  There is a flip side to this. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, worldlotus

    The only reason a Party would take this step is if they were desperate and there was no other way to stay in power. We are witnessing the slow death of the Republican Party. And while this tactic make work a bit here or there, it is not in any way an electoral strategy for the future. They GOP has become a white, male, aged, Southern-based Party, and they have not been able to figure a way out other than through voter suppression. Ha.

    •  This is also where we get into the very real (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      threat of fascism, or at least a dictatorship of some sort.  A dying party struggles to hold on to power dragging down the entire system with it.

      There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

      by AoT on Wed Aug 01, 2012 at 12:54:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think the challenge as it relates to voter ID (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is that the overwhelming majority of Americans believe that you should have to show an ID to vote. So while we may succeed on the legal side, and the DoJ is engaging, we have a big communications challenge convincing our fellow voters that having an ID isn't a reasonable requirement to vote.

    I have been pleased to see that some Dem organizations have been very proactive helping disadvantaged individuals obtain state issued IDs. There are many benefits to everyone for obtaining a state issued ID, so maybe that is a small silver lining. It has been my experience that to gain access, beyond the lobby, to office buildings in some big cities, you have to produce a drivers license or similar ID.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Wed Aug 01, 2012 at 11:44:32 AM PDT

    •  VClib, I agree on truths you mention however the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      rub is that the required documentation has changed and suddenly in some states (my own as example)

      July 1 2012 my state decided to enact the new rules.  For renewals as well as photo ID & new DL's.

      7 years since the Real ID Act was signed by Bush & suddenly it is a requirement?  

      How many individuals/organizations will it take to proactively help individuals obtain state issued IDs between now & Nov??????  Cause it is not just going to affect the is going to affect anyone not in possession of the required certified raised seal original documents.

      Born abroad?  Let's hope mom or dad actually have the original with seal paperwork tucked away.  If not, then time & $$ getting another from Dept of State archives.

      Born a gazillion years ago at home with no birth certificate?  Or it got lost/burned/drowned in say a Katrina type scenario??  Adopted in or from another country-in long ago decade with less stringent record keeping or a war torn area?

      What then?

      Does not matter what demographic you are in with any of the above scenarios.

      What the people of the USA needs to recall is that there is someone in their own family that lacks the original certified raised seal documentation that is being required.  

      Maybe if everyone stopped & recalled that 90 year old Auntie Em has no birth record but has voted since forever.  And now cannot.

      Or their adopted German/Japanese/Korean/Vietnamese middle aged sister-cousin-brother-friend is in the same boat for different reasons.  Naturalized citizens for 60  or so years, perhaps always voted, always had a drivers license-now faced with trying to comply with regulations that if do-able will be costly in time, effort & money.

      Maybe if everyone just recalled that our nation is not just made up of citizens bred & born in a static location where documents are readily available.

      Less than 4 months to elections-how many will be prepared or even know of their state's new regs???

  •  if these laws are about voter fraud, then (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    how come they just started passing them when an election year with a Democratic incumbent president was looming?  Why didn't they care in 2000, or 2004 or even earlier?  Their fraudulence is glaring!

    •  Exactly, helfenburg: (0+ / 0-)
      if these laws are about voter fraud, then
      how come they just started passing them when an election year with a Democratic incumbent president was looming?

      "The Real ID Act" signed into law by President Bush in 2005 with a deadline.  Extensions were given to states that requested them.

      Suspect to me is the timing-my state of GA is a case in point.  Suddenly, as of July 1 2012 "new" documentation was required for either a drivers license or state issued ID card.  State issued photo ID is required in order to vote.

      One thing that really gets me besides the timing is the non announcement which resulted in massive waits-whether for a renewal or a first time card-as well as people coming in unprepared.

      Galls me to see the header at the DMV site:

      Beginning July 1, 2012, DDS will implement additional procedures that enhance the integrity and security of your Driver's License (DL) and Identification Card (ID) resulting from the Federal requirements of the Real ID Act.
      How thoughtful of them to leave out the factoid that the federal requirements they quote are 7 freaking years old...

      I challenge someone to prove to me that the following checklist will not adversely impact many people across demographics:

      Think about it-the elderly, those with disability, adoptees, those who have relocated far from birth site, those without funds or transportation to obtain certified copies of documents, etc, etc.

      I'd like to know if a class action lawsuit is possible.

      •  If it were really about voter fraud, they'd (0+ / 0-)

        have gone about it in a way that showed concern for not disrupting voting in 2012.  But disrupting voting is their goal.  More Republican obfuscation --- rather than address the REAL voting issues, adequate polling locations, reliable methods, etc., they come up with this to distract everyone from the real problems with voting that this country has.

  •   (0+ / 0-)

    how come they just started passing them when an election year with a Democratic incumbent president was looming?  Why didn't they care in 2000, or 2004 or even earlier?  Their fraudulence is glaring!

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