Assuming money hasn’t already corrupted government elections, this year’s U.S. presidential election is looking like it will be won or lost based on the Republican party’s ability to change enough voting districts and limit the influence of Democratic voters.
An article in the New York Times Review of Books by Elizabeth Drew explains that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) crafted a ‘model’ law for Republican governors and congressional representatives to use in order to successfully change state voting laws to exclude a large number of previously eligible to voters from exercising their constitutional right.
Incidentally, the victims of this shambolic process are blacks and Latinos.
ALEC is an organization made up of highly conservative lawmakers and corporate backers who think that each state in the union ought to militate against ‘voter fraud’. Something they claim is a plot by the Democratic party to rig elections in order to get Obama reelected.
In her article, Drew successfully captures the surreptitiousness of the Republican-led inquisition against unqualified voters:
This national effort to tilt the 2012 election is being carried out on the pretext that the country’s voting system is under threat from widespread “voter fraud.” the fact that no significant fraud has been found doesn’t deter the people pursuing this plan. Myths are convenient in politics. Want to fix an election? No problem. Just make up a story that the other side is trying to rig the election—and meanwhile try to rig the election
As those at risk of losing their ability to vote are eagerly anticipating in the upcoming November elections, the laws put in place by Republican governors and Republican-led state legislatures are increasingly being challenged.
While I don’t normally cite the authority of opinion polls, the one that has zero per cent of the black vote going to Romney is too irresistible.
According to the Brenner Center for Justice at New York University’s law school, over 180 restrictive voting laws have been put in place in 41 states since 2011. Thirty-four states have also imposed strict rules for showing photo ID at the voting polls. Before 2011, only 2 states had such laws.
Color of Change*, an advocacy group who seek to mobilize minorities for election day, analyzed some of the data on restrictive voter laws. They discovered that in Pennsylvania, the cumulative effect of restrictive voter laws was that it disproportionately affected ‘those with low-incomes, people of color, the infirm, people with disabilities, and the elderly’.
These same people comprise the bulk of the ’47%’ who Mitt Romney personally excoriated at a $50,000 a plate fundraising in May.
But on October 2, Judge Robert Simpson put a halt to the voter ID law, which required everyone to show a voter ID card before voting.
Judith Dianis, co-director of the Advancement Project, was the plaintiff who challenged the law, calling it discriminatory and unfair. She celebrated the ruling. The President of the Pennsylvanian Republican Party was upset.
In a display of remarkable cynicism, Romney’s campaign is not only contemptuous of the 47% but is actively trying to sabotage them from voting.
Can one remain morally serious and vote for the Republican ticket? Not yet. If the Republicans are going to pull this thing off, its going to be by limiting democracy, not winning at it.
Personally, it is heartening to see anti-segregationist work is still lively and winning in Union.