All around the world America has been the most devoted advocate for democracy and free elections. For those brave citizens in countries that have thrown out their dictators and such, seeking civil rights, we emphasize free and fair elections and help organize them. We provide monitoring of elections and send election observers to keep them free and honest.
Great. Wonderful. The people should have their vote on who their leaders and representatives in government should be.
When are we going to do this at home?
Our elections have become a sham. Yes, “we the people” do get out to stand in line and vote (not enough), and expect our vote to count towards who our next president and leaders in government will be. Then we watch the election results come in on TV. While they do show the popular vote tallies, the important part is the number of electoral votes accumulated for the presidential vote, which determines the winner. That being the case, of course the presidential campaigns are going to focus on those states that have the most electoral votes.
But let’s talk about the dark side of elections – Voter Suppression
“Voter suppression is a strategy to influence the outcome of an election by discouraging or preventing people from exercising the right to vote. Voter suppression attempts to reduce the number of voters who might vote against the candidate or proposition advocated by the suppressors”. Wikipedia.
On June 25, 2013, in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act — eliminating the formula used to identify states with a history of voting discrimination and disenfranchisement. Thanks to SCOTUS, the floodgates for voter suppression were opened.
Immediately following the decision, Republicans across the country moved quickly to pass restrictive voting laws. Citing allegations of mass voter fraud and the need to “preserve voter “integrity”, in 2013 alone, 11 Republican-controlled states took action to limit people’s Constitutional right to vote by passing voter ID laws. Not surprisingly, these voter suppression efforts target groups that overwhelmingly support Democrats…Poor, African-Americans, Hispanics, and Women.
In addition to voter identification laws, there are innumerable cases of voter suppression:
- Redrawing of voting districts (Gerrymandering) to favor a specific party
- Restrictions on non-profit voter registration drives
- Reducing the early voting period by nearly half
- Billboards erected in predominantly black neighborhoods threatened that “VOTER FRAUD IS A FELONY!”
- Requiring proof of citizenship at the polls
- Releasing misinformation about the opponents immigration and labor policies
- Robocalls to predominantly black counties that encouraged voters to “stay home” rather than go to the polls
- Releasing misinformation about actual voting dates and times
- Fake websites to fool voters on who they are actually donating to
- And on, and on…
So again, while we are out preaching free and fair elections for other countries, we are doing everything we can to “not have free and fair elections” in America. Republicans are so dedicated to supporting the 1% that they can’t win an outright election based on votes, so they turn to voter suppression and disenfranchising tactics, with full support from the Supreme Court.
It appears we need our elections to be monitored so we can have our own
free and honest elections.