In a brief history of voting rights, Republicans have tried to keep Democratic voters away from the polls for many years. Paul Weyrich, an influential conservative activist told a gathering of evangelical leaders in 1980 “I don’t want everybody to vote”, now how’s that for impeding voting rights! He went on to state, “As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.” Since the elections in 2010, the GOP’s efforts to disrupt voting rights has been more far-reaching and effective than ever, thanks in part to a Weyrich founded conservative advocacy group American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The methodical plot coordinated by ALEC, and funded in part by the Koch Brothers, David and Charles, the billionaire’s who also began and financed the Tea Party, led to those 38 states which attempted to pass voter restriction legislation that would impede voters through-out the entire electoral process.
In history past, the Dixiecrats used poll taxes and literacy tests to bar black southerners from voting. In this new round of attacks on voting rights by the Tea Party, millions of students, minorities, immigrants, ex-convicts and elderly may be prevented from voting. According to Judith Browne-Dianis, co-director of the Advancement Project, a civil rights organization based in Washington D.C. which monitors voting barriers, the efforts are “a coordinated strategy to undermine democracy by cutting off the voices of the people.” She went on about the recent attempts to hamper voters rights with this statement, “What has happened this year is the most significant setback to voting rights in this country in a century.”
Video of Judith Browne-Dianis:
Of those 38 states attempting to pass the legislation, 12 succeeded and approved new roadblocks to impede voting. Florida and Texas made it more difficult for groups like the League of Women Voters to register new voters, while Kansas and Alabama passed laws that require new voters to provide proof of citizenship before registering. Maine has repealed its election day voter registration which was a law since 1973, and 5 states cut their early voting periods, which were Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee, and West Virginia. 6 states passed requirements for voters to produce government issued ID before being allowed to vote. Those states were Alabama, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. It is estimated that more than 10% of U.S. citizens lack the necessary identification, and those percentages are higher among democratic constituencies that traditionally vote the Democratic ticket, including 18 percent of young voters and 25 percent of African-American voters.
Bill Clinton, speaking to a group of student activists in July, stated: “One of the most pervasive political movements going on outside Washington today is the disciplined, passionate, determined effort of Republican governors and legislators to keep most of you from voting next time. Why is all of this going on? This is not rocket science. They are trying to make the 2012 electorate look more like the 2010 electorate than the 2008 electorate in which the Tea Party gained a foothold. There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today.”
In Republicans words, they are ramping up efforts to combat rampant voter fraud, which is interesting since they virtually stole the 2000 election even after having lost the popular vote. The Bush administration quickly declared war on voter fraud, and made it a top priority for federal prosecutors. The justice department went so far as to fire two U.S. attorneys who had refused to prosecute trumped up cases of voter fraud in New Mexico and Washington State. Karl Rove, the little darling of Republicans, called illegal voting “an enormous and growing problem. In parts of America, we are beginning to look like we have elections run in those countries where the guys in charge are colonels in mirrored sunglasses.” The GOP accused organizations like ACORN of actively recruiting armies of fake voters to misrepresent themselves at the polls and cast illegal ballots for the Democrats.
Even as all the accusations were flying, there was no hard evidence to back up their preposterous claims. The U.S. Justice Department launched a massive probe between 2002 and 2007 but failed to prosecute even a single individual for going to the polls and impersonating an eligible voter, for which the anti-fraud laws are supposed to stop. During that period, 300 millions votes were cast, and prosecutors only prosecuted 86 people for voter fraud, and most of those were immigrants and felons who were just unaware of their eligibility to vote. Wisconsin’s much proclaimed massive voter fraud scheme led to the prosecution of only .0007 percent of the local electorate for alleged voter fraud. To put it more plainly, a 2007 report by the Brennan Center for Justice claimed that “it is more likely that an individual will be struck by lightning than that he will impersonate another voter at the polls.” The GOP claims of massive voter fraud really took off after the 2008 election, as in 2007 and 2008 nearly 2/3 of all new voters registered as Democrats. In Wisconsin, the Republican led government and DMV told employees at the DMV NOT TO VOLUNTEER INFORMATION ON FREE VOTER ID’s!, so if that isn’t a assault on the constitution I don’t know what is.
According to elections-reform expert at the progressive think tank Demos, “This latest flood of attacks on voting rights is a direct shot at the communities that came out in historic numbers for the first time in 2008 and put Obama over the top.”
To shine even more new light onto this hoax of voter fraud, there has been no one who has done more to stir up misguided fears about the manufactured threat of voter fraud than Kris Kobach, the Kansas Secretary of State. Kobach was a top adviser in the Bush Justice Department who has become a new rising star in the GOP. “We need a Kris Kobach in every state,” declared Michelle Malkin, the conservative pundit. This year, Kobach successfully fought for a law requiring every Kansas resident and potential voter needs to show proof of citizenship in order to vote. This in light of the fact that Kansas has prosecuted only one case of voter fraud in the past five years. The new imposed restrictions fused anti-immigrant hysteria with voter-fraud paranoia. “In Kansas, the illegal registration of alien voters has become pervasive,” Kobach claimed, of course offering no substantiating evidence, so in other words more right wing propaganda.
Kobach has also vehemently claimed that dead people were actively casting ballots, and singled out a deceased Kansas resident by the name of Alfred K. Brewer as being one such zombie voter. There was only one problem with Kobach’s claim, it turned out that Brewer was still very much alive. The Wichita Eagle found him working in his front yard. “I don’t think this is heaven,” Brewer told the paper. “Not when I’m raking leaves.”
So remember this, and remember it well. The Tea Party and the GOP war on Voting Rights is real and not imagined. The fear mongers are at it again, this time in the hopes of stealing the elections in 2012. This was posted on 10/14/2011 that the GOP is now changing laws in states they control to change the laws on how electoral votes are allocated. They want to change them so that each congressional district gets their own electoral votes. Don’t let the GOP’s Plan To Beat Obama In 2012 succeed, make sure everyone votes! Don’t let them get away with it. Do all you can to make sure everyone who can vote, votes, and help those that need help registering or getting ID’s do so. Rise up, be counted, and save the democracy of this nation! Cast your votes against the GOP and Tea Party in 2012 so we can keep our democracy, keep the Voting Rights act sound and preserve our voting rights! Peace my friends and Godspeed!