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 Post subject: Exposing the GOP’s Voter Suppression Campaign
PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2008 6:43 am 
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Exposing the GOP’s Voter Suppression Campaign

By Bill Boyarsky

If Barack Obama, the presumed Democratic presidential nominee, is to defeat John McCain, he’d better get started organizing teams of election law attorneys and other specialists to guard against efforts already underway to disenfranchise Democratic voters.

State laws imposing strict voter identification requirements have proliferated. They will be used by Republicans in battleground states to challenge low-income voters, usually blacks and Latinos, needed by Obama. Nonresident college students, another part of the Obama constituency, will probably also be challenged.

This means the election may have to be decided in state courtrooms and by local election boards around the country. Scenes we remember from Florida’s 2000 election could be repeated in many places.

Hilary O. Shelton, director of the NAACP’s Washington Bureau, told a House committee in February that “ ... The NAACP, as well as representatives from almost every other civil and voting rights organization, all report an increase in the number of Americans—primarily racial and ethnic minority Americans—who say they have been denied their constitutional right to register and vote.”

This is called voter suppression. Republicans used it with great success in Florida in 2000 and in Ohio four years later. Those contests, won by President Bush, featured shortages of voting machines in minority areas; lost, discarded or rejected ballots; and many challenges to voter eligibility. In 2004, the Bush administration added to the mix by demanding prosecution of ACORN, a grassroots group that works to register poor people to vote. U.S. attorneys who wouldn’t go along were fired in one of the administration’s nastier scandals.


This year, Republican voter suppression seems to be taking a new and more sophisticated turn. Republican-led state legislatures are adopting strict laws requiring voters to present identification at the polls. In April, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s tough law, which requires government-issued identification, such as a driver’s license, a passport, or a state or military ID card.

This is one way the Repugs are planning to win the next election.

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