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Don’t Let The Republican Tactic of Suppress and Confuse Steal Your Voice

One of the ironies of court wars over vote suppression laws lies in the fact that proponents of suppressing the vote argue they want to preserve the “status quo” in the name of preventing confusion among voters.

Actually, since Republicans are waging an increasingly aggressive war on voting rights, their desired status quo is confusion, much like the status quo of confusion in 2012.

That is obvious with the last minute efforts to find vote suppression sympathizers in the courts, to uphold laws specifically intended to suppress the vote.

The bottom line is Republicans have a two-pronged approach to stealing the election in 2014 – suppress and confuse.  Aside from Republicans working the legal system, they have help from the Koch Brothers to stir the waves of confusion by sending out false information about registering, voting day and voting requirements.  When they were caught, Americans for Prosperity said oops.  The latest claim is they “accidentally” sent Arkansas voter information to voters in North Carolina.  Of course we believe them when they say the objective was to “prevent” confusion and keep the election process “honest.”

If Republicans were so concerned about preventing confusion, they wouldn’t continue to fight court rulings that overturn their unconstitutional vote suppression laws.

The bottom line is Republicans have two objectives this season.  Suppress as many votes as possible and when that fails, create as much confusion as possible.

In some cases, at least the legal battles are over for the purpose of this election because the court battles have reach the Supreme Court.

Voters in Wisconsin will be voting under the same rules that applied in 2012.

Voters in North Carolina will be restricted to voting under the conditions set out in the State’s vote suppression law.

Currently, Texas voters are subject to the restrictions set out in that state’s vote suppression law.   However, this could change since the U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether to uphold or stay a recent ruling that Greg Abbott called a “victory.”

Since the State Supreme Court in Arkansas struck down that state’s vote suppression law, that decision is likely to hold. The court noted that the state’s constitution identifies specific requirements to vote.  The person must be a citizen of the U.S. and Arkansas.  They must be 18 years old and be lawfully registered.  The court said,

These four qualifications set forth in our state’s constitution simply do not include any proof-of-identity requirement,

Unless Republicans take this to Federal Court, the state’s previous law will apply during this year’s election. That means election workers are required to ask for photo ID, but voters do not need to produce it in order to cast a ballot.

In Georgia, the confusion is surrounding the registration status of tens of thousands of voters.  Last week, the national Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and New Georgia Project filed a suit against Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, and five counties.  The NLCCR asked a judge to make sure over 40,000 people will be able to vote in this election.

On Thursday, Kemp said  40,000 over the voters are “active” and on the rolls. Another 10,000 voters are “pending”.  Just the same, considering the source, Georgia voters should independently verify that they are, in fact, registered to vote in this election.

The best way to protect your vote is to cut through the confusion by going to a reliable source.  Chances are better of getting accurate information when the source of it doesn’t have an ideological disposition to suppressing your vote.  The Election Assistance Commission website is a good one to look at.  It provides registration and voting requirements.  It has a FAQ section and provides translated information.

Whatever you do, don’t let the Republican tactic of suppress and confuse steal your voice.

Image: ACLU

Adalia Woodbury

Former contributor.

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