Thursday, August 23, 2012

GOP Efforts to Strip Voter Rights: Jim Crow Rides Again

Say hello to one of the faces of voter suppression in 2012. He's not some thug you'll find standing around the ballot box with a club trying to intimidate people attempting to exercise their Constitutional right to vote.

Nor is he some mafia hood like the kind gangster Al Capone sent to Cicero, Illinois in 1924  to physically beat voters into casting ballots for his hand-picked corrupt Republican candidate Joseph Z. Klenha.

The man pictured here is Jon Husted, the Secretary of State of Ohio and his name is popping up in the mainstream media after he led efforts to cut back the available hours for Ohio citizens to vote during the upcoming elections; including totally eliminating early voting and night and weekend voting hours.

Just so we're clear here, during the 2008 Presidential elections many voters in Ohio complained about facing waits as long as six hours to cast their ballots; the same year 48% of voters in Franklin County cast their votes early.

It's not like it's a big secret about why Republicans nationwide are going out of their way to make it more difficult to vote. The Franklin County Republican chairman Doug Preisse freely admitted the rule changes would restrict black voter turnout in an e-mail to the Columbus Dispatch. According to Priesse, a former primary adviser to Newt Gingrich, "...we shouldn't contort the voting process to accommodate the urban voter-turnout machine."

But Republicans should contort it to keep people from participating in the Democratic process? What has happened to the GOP? And when did they decide to turn America into a Banana Republic?

Have you heard of the organization called 'True the Vote'? Last night Rachel Maddow featured a spot on this right wing group openly dedicated to intimidating voters at polling stations. True the Vote claims it's training millions of members to simply show up at polls (mostly in places where minorities vote) like they did in Houston, Texas.

Yup, same Texas that had four cases of voter fraud in the last two general elections. Make no mistake this isn't a "black or Hispanic-thing"; this an "American-thing". All Americans should be very concerned at this kind of hijacking of people's right to vote; not just because it's immoral, illegal and a mockery of American values, it's a blatant violation of the most basic premise of Democracy.

The same sort of mindset who embrace abstract patriotic rhetoric to send US troops over to foreign lands to kill people in the name of "Democracy" are actively trying to obstruct the Democratic process here in America. Think about that. If you don't, you're just going to make it easier for the GOP to obstruct the votes of whichever demographic that disagrees with them.

"The sides are being divided now. It’s very obvious. So if you’re on the other side of the fence, you’re suddenly anti-American. Its breeding fear of being on the wrong side. Democracy’s a very fragile thing. You have to take care of democracy. As soon as you stop being responsible to it and allow it to turn into scare tactics, it’s no longer democracy, is it? It’s something else. It may be an inch away from totalitarianism."
SAM SHEPARD, The Village Voice, Nov. 12, 2004

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