GOP’s Vote Suppression Tactics

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. 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.

If it Walks, Talks and Acts like a Neo-Con

Joe Lieberman has apparently learned nothing by his defeat last Tuesday. He did, however, learn long ago that the tactics of fear, demonstrably refined and spread by the Republican Party Machine, have proved very effective at distracting a large percentage of the American population. So impressed has Joe been by the effectiveness of this GOP message that he has apparently adopted it wholeheartedly in his quest to win back his senate seat in Connecticut as an Independent.

Just three days after his defeat, Mr. Lieberman is taking the recent terror plot in Great Britain and seizing upon it as a reason why the voters of Connecticut were so wrong to kick him out. Speaking at a pizza house in Waterbury, Joe noted the following:

“If we just pick up, get out by a date certain, like Ned Lamont wants us to do, it will be taken as a tremendous victory by the same people who wanted to blow up these planes in this plot hatched in England, it will strengthen them, and they will strike again.”

“I’m worried that too many people, both in politics and out, don’t appreciate the seriousness of the threat to American security and the evil of the enemy that faces us – more evil or as evil as Nazism and probably more dangerous than the Soviet Communists we fought during the long Cold War.”

You’re “worried,” Joe? You think we don’t appreciate the seriousness of the threat to American security when the worst terrorist attack on American soil occurred right in our backyard? Who better but the voters of the Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, etc. understand the threat to our security?

In the article referenced above, Joe says he “got the message.” His comments today speak otherwise.

Naughty Children will Pay the Price

Such slurs and slanders were only to be expected from the ruffled chicken hawks, squawking over the potential loss of their favorite Democratic enabler and scared of the electorate’s growing wrath. Equally predictable was the reaction of pundits and analysts, shocked by the diminishing impact of their bad advice and incoherent ideas. The great and the good of the punditocracy told the voters to shun Ned Lamont and to shut up about the war, and were duly ignored. Now those naughty children will pay the price, or so we are told.

So says Joe Conason regarding the threats and warnings from the right-wing loyalists following the Lieberman loss.

The hawks are shaking in their boots, folks… Take a listen to Limbaugh or Hannity or Savage and you can just hear the desperation in their voices. Hannity in particular can’t stop talking about how well things are going in Iraq, while Limbaugh and Savage continue their moral lecturing on how we liberals are going to bring about the destruction of the United States because of our softness on terrorism.

Guys, we’re not soft on terrorism, we just think there are much smarter ways to fight it. Roll back the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and use the money to pay for the 9/11 Commission Report recommendations. That would be a really good start.

General Election Campaign Begins

There’s some further evidence that the resurrection of the terror alert color coding system signals the beginning of the campaign season. Dick Cheney emerged from an undisclosed location yesterday to further terrorize us and scare us into voting once again for Republicans:

The thing that’s partly disturbing about it is the fact that, the standpoint of our adversaries, if you will, in this conflict, and the al Qaeda types, they clearly are betting on the proposition that ultimately they can break the will of the American people in terms of our ability to stay in the fight and complete the task.

Wow. Once again, Democrats exercising their voting rights have emboldened the terrorists. Talk about sickening.

Michael Moore was certainly emboldened by the Lamont victory, and while I wish I had his faith that Americans will be finally ready to clean house in Washington D.C. this November, I find myself agreeing with one specific paragraph in his website statement.

I realize that there are those like Kerry and Edwards who have now changed their position and are strongly anti-war. Perhaps that switch will be enough for some to support them. For others, like me — while I’m glad they’ve seen the light — their massive error in judgment is, sadly, proof that they are not fit for the job. They sided with Bush, and for that, they may never enter the promised land.

Words to ponder. Why don’t we view everyone who went along with George W. on this ill-advised journey as suffering from a massive error in judgement? Look across the field of potential Democratic candidates and eliminate all those who fell in line with what some of us knew was a sure-fire path to disaster. I don’t know about you, but I’m left with Al Gore. While I could understand his reluctance to run again after what he and his family were put through in 2000, I wonder if he could be persuaded to throw his hat into the ring?

Bush, the Opportunist

Never one to miss an opportunity to take credit for something he had nothing to do with, George W. Bush will appear on television today to talk about the terror plot foiled by British authorities. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff stated that the plot was extremely close to fruition, although British authorities said they had been investigating this case for quite some time. The NY Times noted that “In London, Peter Clarke, the head of the counterterrorism branch of the metropolitan police, suggested that the group had not yet constructed its bombs.”

Although we haven’t heard much about the “color-coded terror levels” since the last election, the Department of Homeland Security was quick to pull out the “orange” level domestically and the “red” level to any flights originating from or departing to Britain. Just in time for the mid-term elections.

This just in…

The following is making the rounds of the corporate online press:


Democratic Leader Harry Reid and DSCC Chair Chuck Schumer issued the following joint statement today on the Connecticut Senate race:

“The Democratic voters of Connecticut have spoken and chosen Ned Lamont as their nominee. Both we and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) fully support Mr. Lamont’s candidacy. Congratulations to Ned on his victory and on a race well run.

“Joe Lieberman has been an effective Democratic Senator for Connecticut and for America. But the perception was that he was too close to George Bush and this election was, in many respects, a referendum on the President more than anything else. The results bode well for Democratic victories in November and our efforts to take the country in a new direction.”

We now know what the Senior Senator from NY feels about the Lamont win, or at least what he is publicly saying. My question is where does the Junior Senator from NY have to say about the Lamont win, considering that Joe Lieberman called in a very large favor in getting President Clinton to campaign on his behalf.

But more interesting than that, with Connecticut voters largely rejecting the Lieberman/Bush position on Iraq, is Hillary Clinton still a viable candidate for the 2008 Democratic Presidental Nomination given that she holds the same position? Mrs. Clinton will surely have a lot to think about over the coming weeks. There’s no doubt she’ll be re-elected Senator of NY, as she has more adequately represented NY voter interests than Lieberman has represented Connecticut’s, but she’s likely reconfiguring her talking points on the Iraq occupation as I write this.