Right Wing extremists continue to claim they care about free and fair elections while advocating for and establishing “laws” that effectively restrict voting by non-Republicans. So far they’ve passed restrictive voter ID laws, restricting or eliminating voting days and hours, moving poll stations to obscure and inaccessible locations. A recent ruling allowing states to make registering to vote more challenging for young people and especially for naturalized citizens with restrictive ID requirements, is the latest setback for free and fair elections.
Alabama has already indicated it will follow suit and it’s a matter of time before other Republican controlled states jump on the registration suppression bandwagon. Now they want to eliminate any form of legal recourse to their vote suppression measures by going after article 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
As it is, the Voting Rights Act is a shadow of its former self thanks to the Supreme Court ruling that gutted pre-clearance on the pretense that racist vote suppression policies no longer exist in the confederate states. Of course, that is only true to the extent that racist vote suppression policies are no longer limited to the confederate states. As seen in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and anywhere else Republicans rule, the GOP has been suppressing the vote for some time and continues to do so with more extreme laws.
In yet another example of projection, Hans von Spakovksy and Roger Clegg of the National Review claim,
As Eric Holder’s Justice Department attacks voter-ID laws in Texas and North Carolina, the Heritage Foundation has warned courts that they should be wary of construing Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act to find liability when only a “disparate impact” on the basis of race has been shown.
“Disparate impact” is the favored but dubious legal theory of the Obama administration. It’s being used to attack everything from election integrity to the financial industry when DOJ doesn’t have any evidence of intentional discrimination. This theory lets DOJ attack completely neutral laws and practices that it doesn’t like for policy, not legal, reasons.
Well, people who try to argue that corporations practice a religion with a straight face are in no position to pontificate about “dubious legal theories.”
Moreover there is ample evidence of intentional racial discrimination. For one thing, studies have shown that voter ID laws do have a disproportionate effect on racial minorities. Since lawmakers, or at least their staff, have access to such studies, and they still pass restrictive voter ID laws, that is also evidence of an intent to discriminate. Other studies show that reducing the number of poll stations, reducing the hours and days on which people can vote, creates lines and discourages eligible voters from exercising their franchise. When those actions occur, as they have, in predominantly minority populations, it shows an intent to suppress votes by minorities.
Even if one wants to argue that doesn’t show intent, what about the admissions by various law makers, or an observation by the Judge whose ruling on which vote suppressors rely that there is a deliberate intent to suppress the vote?
Most recently, Wisconsin State Senator, Dale Schultz, who is a conservative in every sense of the word, said the following:
But that fact is, it ought to be abundantly clear to everybody in this state that there is no massive voter fraud. The only thing that we do have in this state is we have long lines of people who want to vote. And it seems to me that we should be doing everything we can to make it easier, to help these people get their votes counted. And that we should be pitching as political parties our ideas for improving things in the future, rather than mucking around in the mechanics and making it more confrontational at the voting sites and trying to suppress the vote.
Last year, Judge Richard Posner made the following observation in a book he wrote about his ruling on the constitutionality of restrictive voter ID requirements.
I plead guilty to having written the majority opinion (affirmed by the Supreme Court) upholding Indiana’s requirement that prospective voters prove their identity with a photo ID—a law now widely regarded as a means of voter suppression rather than fraud prevention.
A former low level official with North Carolina’s Republican Party, Don Yeltin, argued if North Carolina’s vote suppression law suppresses votes that hurt “a bunch of lazy blacks that want the government to give them everything so be it.” during an interview by Aasif Mandvi on The Daily Show. In fact, when Mandvi, said “The law is not racist and you’re not racist,” Yeltin interrupted him to say “I’ve been called a bigot before.”
Jim Geer, the former Republican Party of Florida chairman also admitted that vote suppression, and especially of the black vote was his party’s idea of an election strategy and that stopping voter fraud was merely a “marketing ploy.”
Texas governor wannabe, Gregg Abbot admitted in court papers, that if minorities (and women) voted Republican, Texas wouldn’t need to suppress their votes.
In combination, these admissions show that Republican policies are intended to suppress votes generally and the votes of minorities in particular. Moreover, everyone knows that the voter fraud claim is a bold faced lie. Finally, in some cases, the racial animus is not only obvious, but acknowledged. In combination, the laws and the statements add up to a deliberate intent to pass laws that discriminate against racial minorities’ right to vote.
Image: The Democratic Underground