Nov 26, 2018
Heightened attention before the November elections, followed by closely watched re-counts, shined a spotlight on voter suppression. In the wealthiest country in the world, obviously voting should be accurate and easy everywhere.
But in this election, in the working class and poor areas, in black and Latino neighborhoods, voter suppression was widespread and disgusting.
In Georgia, the person running the elections – the secretary of state – was also the Republican candidate for governor. Under his watch, a red-tape system was set up requiring an “exact match” between voter registrations and other records. A successful lawsuit revealed that when 53,000 were about to be denied the right to vote, 70 percent were black voters! Usually it was because a name had previously been misspelled on some government document.
In Florida, early votes and absentee ballots were disqualified because of no “exact match” on signatures.
Said one lawyer in Florida, “There is nothing in the Constitution that qualifies the right to vote with a consistent signature.” How a signature looks has come to not matter with electronic payments. But in 36 states, voting laws mandate signature matching! As was pointed out by the same Florida lawyer, “They are not effective anti-fraud measures.... They are disenfranchisement measures.”
Moving polling places and closing polling places has been another way to suppress voting. In the last 10 years, 15,000 polling places have been eliminated nationwide. In one slimy example from this year, the one polling place in the factory town of Dodge City, Kansas got moved so it was now one mile from the nearest bus stop!
During this election cycle, many people spoke up and exposed the voter suppression. That was how more evidence came to light. It made it blatant that just to have the most basic right to vote takes a fight.
These issues were supposedly settled 50 years ago with the passage of the Voting Rights Act – yet here we are. It says everything that in the country at the top of the capitalist slag heap, the country that supposedly is the bastion of democracy for the world, THIS is what their democracy really looks like!