This year has been fraught with alleged cases of voter suppression. Let’s explore was voter suppression is, opposed to voter fraud. And what are the voting rights we need?
In 2014, thousands of North Carolinians were unable to vote because of a new law that prohibits out-of-precinct voting, ends same day registrations, and shortens early voting. That’s voter suppression.
People say that laws like this prevent in-person voting fraud, but NC only has two verified cases since 2000.
In New York this year, over 125,000 people were unceremoniously removed from the voter registry. That’s voter suppression.
Voter suppression is much more common. There are ways to fight back. You can contact your local county clerk the weeks before an election to make sure you’re registered appropriately. You can contact your local representatives and encourage independent district committees and help render gerrymandering useless. You can also participate in local voter registration drives and volunteer at polling places if you have the time.
What America really needs is a new coverage formula for the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The VRA was gutted like a fish in 2013 and remains useless until a new coverage formula is chosen and voted on. So, reach out to your congress member and urge them to vote on a new coverage formula for the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
To provide some quick context, here’s a brief history:
Voter Suppression is America
Arizona, North Carolina, and New York aren’t new cases, we just haven’t learned – since the founding of our country.
Gerrymandering, The Great Divide
It’s the process of using geometry to redistrict an area or state to favor one political party or candidate and it’s said to precede the 1789 election of the First US Congress. Many people who understand it, hate it. It could be the number one threat to a representative democracy.
Boston Centinel, 1812, “The Gerry-Mander”[/caption]
Who needs property?
Finally, white men can vote without property qualifications.
Seattle, WA 1856[/caption]
The 15th Constitutional Amendment is ratified and non-white men are allowed to vote their heads off.
Frederick Douglass Monument in Easton, MD[/caption]
Massive protests and a large movement preceded the Nineteenth Amendment, giving the right to vote to women.
Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913[/caption]
THE Voting Rights Act
It was signed at the height of the Civil Rights Movement and was designed to enforce the voting rights of the 14th and 15th Amendments. It considered to be the most effective piece of civil rights legislation ever.
Voting marches leading up to the signing of the VRA, 1965.[/caption]
Overseas Absentee Voting Act
Allowing American citizens living abroad or at sea to vote via absentee ballots.
That’s handy for travelers.[/caption]
Bush Steals the Oval Office
Bush Jr. versus Al Gore, it was one of the closest elections in US history, and it all hinged on Florida. Independent investigations found serious “irregularities” mostly against minorities and low-income residents and over 35,000 newly registered voters were turned away because their names were not added to the roll by Florida’s secretary of state Kathleen Harris, who just happened to be on Bush’s campaign committee. Many precincts required two forms of ID, uncounted ballot boxes went missing, and Republican national leadership allegedly sent GOP agitators to storm the Dale County Canvassing Board, beat one of the officials and intimidate the board to abandon its recount effort.
George W. Bush[/caption]
The Death of the VRA of ’65
The coverage formula in the Voting Rights Act, which determines which jurisdictions must get clearance from the Dept. of Justice before changing voting practices, was ruled obsolete by the Supreme Court in Shelby County v. Holder. Until Congress decides to enact a new coverage formula, the VRA cannot be enforced.
Supreme Court, 2010[/caption]
Kansas Refuses Access to Voting Tape
A mathematician wanted to review the voting tapes from a 2014 election to compare them with the official results. She was denied. So, due diligence isn’t allowed?
State Seal of Kansas[/caption]
Polling places were slashed by 70% compared to 2012, resulting in five-hour waits, thousands of voters being turned away, and lawsuits from both democratic candidates and the DNC. This would have been prevented by the VRA before its death in 2013.
Bernie Sanders in Tucson addressing voter suppression.[/caption]
2016 April 19
New York’s Great Purge
Over 125,000 voters were purged with no explanation and in relative secrecy in the months leading up to the primary election, leaving thousands of people unable to cast their votes. This would have been prevented by the VRA before its death in 2013.
20th April 2016- Protest at the Board of Elections in Brooklyn N.Y.[/caption]