Why is it so hard for the Republicans to just agree to an even playing field where everything is out in the open, talked about and debated, and then the public gets to make up its mind who it wants in office? Oh yeah… It’s because if that really happened, Republicans would never win.
Salon.com detailes the latest tactics the GOP will use to suppress voter turnout this election cycle. The article focuses on six states that are making things particularly hard on US citizens trying to register to vote. In Ohio, the infamous Kenneth Blackwell (who you probably remember was the Katherine Harris of 2004) has created a mix of confusing directives and laws that are just unbelievable. Here’s a section from the article:
This time around, the law that took effect in May allows the state to pursue felony prosecutions of workers for voter registration groups who turn in registration cards past a 10-day deadline. They face up to 12 months in prison and a $2,500 fine; late returns on less than 50 forms merit a misdemeanor prosecution. At first, Blackwell implied that the workers couldn’t even send in the forms by mail. Each registration worker also has to return the forms personally to the local elections board, which prevents voter registration groups from combining and checking large numbers of forms. “It’s made registration far more difficult,” says Teresa James, Project Vote’s election administration coordinator. In fact, Ohio ACORN, the Project Vote-allied group that focuses on low-income neighborhoods, suspended virtually all voter registration activities for two months. Now it’s gathering less than 20 percent of the 7,000 registration applicants it signed up monthly before the law was implemented.
Sickening, isn’t it? And check out Florida — there are wonderful new voting laws addressing registration drives there as well:
The fines for violations are now so stiff that they forced the League of Women Voters to suspend its voter drives in the state for the first time in nearly 70 years. Each misplaced blank registration form means a potential penalty of $5,000. Just 16 misplaced blank forms, even if destroyed by a hurricane, could cost the Florida League $80,000 — its entire annual state budget.
Another codicil in the new state voting law essentially endorses the thuggery of 2000. It permits roving bands of political partisans — the same sort of goons who banged on the glass doors at the Miami election board six years ago to halt the recount — to descend on inner-city precincts to challenge any voter’s right to cast a vote on Election Day.
I highly recommend you check out the article, and contact your local representatives, write to your local papers, etc. if you live in any of these areas. Hell, you should be screaming at your representatives even if you don’t live in these areas. You can write to your congressperson here or contact your senator. It’s high time we all had a level playing field.
P.S.: Just found out that Jabari Asim had an op-ed piece in the Washington Post about the latest GOP vote suppression tactics as well.
POSTSCRIPT: A federal judge has thrown out as unconstitutional Ohio’s voter sign-up rules. Read this report at the NY Daily News. “Effective immediately, voters should ignore references to criminal penalties on the registration forms, U.S. District Judge Kathleen O’Malley said. She gave the secretary of state’s office five days to remove references to the rules and penalties on its Web site.” Rockin. There is some justice in the world.