Tuesday, November 02, 2004


Voting Day, and Voter Suppression

Well, it's the dawn of Election Day in the United States of America--the polls just opened--and a Federal Appeals Court ruled this morning that Republicans may place operatives inside polling places in Ohio to challenge the right to vote of poor, minority, and first-time voters. These kinds of strategies really raise one of the "surreality questions" of the Bush administration: how can you claim to be "spreading democracy" around the world while trying to subvert it at home?

Here's what opinion columnist Bob Hebert has to say about it, from the Washington Post.

...mind-boggling is the attempt by Republican Party elements to return the U.S. to the wretched days of the mid-20th century when many black Americans faced harassment, intimidation and worse for daring to exercise their fundamental right to vote. A flier circulating extensively in black neighborhoods in Wisconsin carries the heading 'Milwaukee Black Voters League.' It asserts that people are not eligible to vote if they have voted in any previous election this year; if they have ever been found guilty of anything, even a traffic violation; or if anyone in their family has ever been found guilty of anything.

"If you violate any of these laws," the flier says, "you can get ten years in prison and your children will get taken away from you."

In Philadelphia, where a large black vote is essential to a Kerry victory in the crucial state of Pennsylvania, the Republican speaker of the Pennsylvania House, John Perzel, is hard at work challenging Democratic voters. He makes no bones about his intent, telling U.S. News & World Report:

"The Kerry campaign needs to come out with humongous numbers here in Philadelphia. It's important for me to keep that number down."

That's called voter suppression, folks, and the G.O.P. concentrates its voter-suppression efforts in the precincts where there are large numbers of African-Americans. And that's called racism. (Bob Hebert)

(Thanks to JCT for passing this along.)

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