Republican Voter Suppression Efforts

Discussion in 'Politics' started by joepistole, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    If one truly believes in democracy, then one must believe in the right to vote and importance of voting. However the party that wraps itself in the Constitution and claims to be the only patriots in the country has for at least the last 12 years fought to keep voters from the ballot box and to keep votes from being cast and counted.

    Beginning in the presidential election of 2000 Republicans sued to prevent the Florida Supreme Court ordered statewide ballot recount. Their law suit (Bush V Gore) to prevent a statewide recount was upheld by an extraordinary and partisan ruling by the Republican US Supreme Court. As a result the Florida votes were not recounted and Florida was awarded to the man who would have lost the election if the statewide recount had occurred.

    Since that time, and most recently, state governments controlled by Republicans have done their best to deny Americans access to the ballot box under the ruse of preventing voter fraud. They have been willing to deny access to millions of lawful voters without any evidence of voter fraud (i.e. people misrepresenting their identity in order to cast a vote). And Republican voter suppression efforts have gone far beyond efforts to require certain forms of voter ID at the ballot box. They have gone further, much further. Their voter suppression efforts include restrictions totally unrelated to voter IDs at the ballot box, (e.g. arbitrary restrictions on voter registration along with stiff fines and severely curtailing early voting).

    Is it not undemocratic and un-American to actively thwart our most precious right, the right to vote? How ironic is it that the Republican Party which likes to refer to those who oppose it as traitors and proclaims themselves the only true believers in the Constitution and democracy should actively engage in the subversion of our democracy by vote suppression? But it is what it is. It is voter suppression.
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  3. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Brief Updates

    Brief Updates

    Brief updates on various voter-suppression issues:

    • Yesterday a federal judge knocked down the Florida legislature's attempt to reduce early voting:

    ... the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled late Thursday that because of the law's potential impact on minority voters, it would not allow Florida to put the changes in place in five Florida counties covered by federal voting laws.

    The court said that evidence presented in the case clearly showed that black voters utilized early voting much more than white voters do, especially in the 2008 election, when President Barack Obama won Florida.

    "In sum, Florida is left with nothing to rebut either the testimony of the defendants' witnesses or the common-sense judgment that a dramatic reduction in the form of voting that is disproportionately used by African-Americans would make it materially more difficult for some minority voters to cast a ballot," states the ruling issued by a three-judge panel


    Steve Benen on the situation in Pennsylvania:

    Applewhite, a 93-year-old widow in Pennsylvania, who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil-rights movement, has voted in nearly every election for the last-half century. This year, however, her own state told her she wouldn't be allowed to cast a ballot because Republicans created a voter-ID law to combat voter fraud that doesn't exist. Applewhite might have had a shot at participating in her own democracy, but purse was stolen, and she no longer has the materials she never needed to vote before.

    She worked with the ACLU to challenge the law, and yesterday, Pennsylvania caved—but just for Applewhite.

    The day after a judge upheld Pennsylvania's new voter identification law, the lead plaintiff in the suit seeking to block the law went to a PennDot office and was issued the photo ID card she needs to vote.

    Nothing has changed since Viviette Applewhite, 93, testified in July. The law stands. She still doesn't have a driver's license or Social Security card. The name on her birth certificate is still different from the name on her other documents—all of which, under the law, should have barred her from getting her photo ID.

    But at precisely 1:16 p.m. Thursday, she got it anyway.​

    Pennsylvania apparently showed some "flexibility" in Applewhite's case, bending the rules to accommodate her circumstances. And to be sure, I'm delighted.

    But what about folks who didn't become notable public victims in the GOP's war on voting? Advancement Project Co-Director Penda Hair said in a statement, "The news of Mrs. Applewhite receiving an ID is a happy surprise and we are very pleased that she will be able to vote in the upcoming election.... We wonder if that would be the case for someone who wasn't a lead plaintiff in a lawsuit and the subject of a lot of attention in the press."

    In leaving the Pennsylvania law intact while carving out an exception for Ms. Applewhite, the judge acknowledged that he accepted on faith that state officials would get proper identification to voters otherwise unfairly disenfranchised by the law. The ACLU, of course, called out that notion, since not only does the state not have in place the human resources to carry out such an effort, but the actual formal paperwork needed to do it has not been agreed upon.

    Pennsylvania is one of the states where it is openly acknowledged that voter ID laws are intended to suppress the vote. "Voter ID," bragged Allegheny Republican Mike Turzai, the Pennsylvania House Majority Leader, "which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done."

    Mass shootings in the United States are no good reason to secure the free state by regulating firearms; that would be too gross an infringement on the constitutional right to carry a killing machine. After all, why punish the responsible gun owners? But nearly nonexistent vote fraud is, apparently, a perfect reason to disenfranchise millions.

    You know, I read the dumbest complaint the other day. "But for those felons," whined a conservative, "Obamacare would likely have never passed."

    Well, you know, I got one for him: But for those thousands of voters illegally kicked off the rolls in Florida in 2000, George W. Bush would likely have never been president.

    We see what is important to those folks—the cosmic scoreboard. As long as they can win in the elections, they don't really care about things like law, justice, rights, or principles. All of those things are subservient to the greater cause.


    Fineout, Gary. "Fla. must figure out what to do with early voting". The Miami Herald. August 16, 2012. August 17, 2012.

    Benen, Steve. "The face of the 'war on voting'". The Maddow Blog. August 17, 2012. August 17, 2012.
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  5. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Last week Jon Stewart presented the statistics on voter fraud, showing the breakdown of documented instances over the past twenty years (IIRC).

    The average number of cases of voter fraud in the United States is less than one per state per year.

    Speaking of the 2000 election, it's also been noted that the Green Party siphoned off so many votes from the Democratic Party that Ralph Nader can be held personally responsible for the election of Backward Baby Bush.

    This is an example of third parties having influence all out of proportion to their numbers, although sadly the influence often works against their cause. In the 2006 midterm election, the Libertarian senatorial candidate siphoned off so many votes from the Republican, that the Democrat won. This helped prevent a Republican majority in both houses of Congress during a Republican administration, which (at that moment, not necessarily at all times) would have been a disaster of Biblical proportions.
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  7. Balerion Banned Banned

    This is just disgusting. How anyone could call themselves a Republican while this is happening in their name is beyond me.
  8. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    Didn't you hear? The ranks of the GOP are down to openly-fascist aristocrats, a mob of racist hicks, and some paranoid evangelicals. This kind of craven assault on civil society is right up their alley.
  9. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Briefly, if that is possible

    I'll try to restrict myself to two basic points:

    (1) In the 1990s, the big rage was vote-by-mail. Strangely, it was liberals like myself who opposed the movement in Oregon. Perhaps the opposition was broad-spectrum, but it seemed largely to be Democratic sympathizers who fretted over the idea of voter coercion—i.e., compelling a wife or child to vote to a certain outcome—that led the opposition.

    I should note that over the years, living now in a vote-by-mail county in Washington state, I've become accustomed to the system.

    But at the time, the idea was to expand voter access. The current move to restrict voter access makes no sense to me. Democracy is always a gamble, though I think it's fair enough to leave it as an egalitarian throw of the dice.

    (2) Perhaps my greatest fear is the redefinition of the issue. Over time, because of capitalist media concerns, voter priorities, and, frankly, strong marketing, Republicans have succeeded in moving the political center to the right. Of course, this is one of my underlying concerns about "centrism", but to set that aside, Democrats in the twenty-first century are to the right of 1970s Republicans, and we're revisiting women's issues that ought to be settled. This is disconcerting, to say the least. Progress, by the right-wing approach, seems a golden-age myth, a false history to be yearned for instead of rejected. In this way, conservatives have mounted a politically viable attack against societal progress that cannot be ignored.​

    Beyond that, all I can say is that I do not, anymore, allow myself to be surprised at the depths to which my conservative neighbors will stoop. I can disclaim myself until eternity that liberals are not without their problems, but, to the other, certain things seem clear to me. If we are to have an egalitarian society with opportunity for all, the current conservative movement, which is dysfunctionally cynical, must be squelched.

    Most days I would credit my conservative neighbors with having some genuine concern for the state of American society, but the Republicans are making sure that wager is as risky as possible.
  10. Balerion Banned Banned

    Certainly some of our loony liberal brothers here at Sci would prefer you believed that.

    Still, stuff like this is frightening, and it only ever seems to come from the Right.
  11. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

    You know there is a way to fix that so that people can vote for who they want without wasting a vote, Preferential voting
  12. Buddha12 Valued Senior Member

    Your OPINION of what MIGHT have happened isn't backed up by any real FACTS. Your opinion as to what MIGHT happen is only based upon your own conjecture and biased views of voting.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

  13. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Mod Hat — Splinter note

    Mod Hat — Splinter note

    Twelve posts arguing PPACA policies and implications have been moved to a new thread: "At least Republicans didn't support their own plan".

    Something goes here about staying on topic, but, you know, I get it. Every once in a while, something just comes up.

    All good. Carry on.
  14. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    Interesting point. I'm not sure it would apply to the scenario Fraggle mentioned since the third party guy didn't have much clout. In this case, though, his presence was enough to throw the odds because we were so close to a 50-50 split. What would be interesting is if America could ever open itself up to the possibility of multiple parties (like you may have seen in your country.) Either that, or a party that captured, say 75% of voters. Now that would be remarkable. I liked your comment though, because it reminds me of a lot of things that can be better than just "the American way". The sooner we shake off this idea that we're better than the rest of the world, the sooner we take some of the lessons learned from beyond our own borders.
  15. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    This mindset hearkens back to an era that crossed party lines, or at least encouraged the formation of the Blue Dog Democrats which was perhaps our most onerous attempt in recent memory at a 3rd party identification. That era was the one of the poll tax.

    Today those kinds of Byzantine tactics seem be almost entirely relegated to Republicans. And yet it doesn't phase them, like you say, to wrap themselves in the Constitution, or to brand themselves as the party of "values".
  16. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member



    I recently criticized the conservative tendency "to look at the ID question from a very narrow perspective", and reminded that the "question of election integrity versus voter suppression has several major components". For the most part, conservatives defending laws widely criticized as forms of voter suppression find themselves "responding to broad-spectrum concerns by reiterating a fairly narrow point of argument". This narrow point usually sounds something like this:

    "To function in society these days you need an ID. Anyone active enough to actually go to the trouble to vote almost certainly has an ID. Getting an ID is not much more difficult than registering to vote. If you can do one, why not the other?"​

    Setting aside the factual troubles, there is still the question of taking a narrow or broad view. This isn't just about identification. The Editorial Board of The Washington Post considered the situation in Florida:

    In 2011, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed into law a measure that imposed more than 75 restrictions on Florida voters, ostensibly to combat voter fraud. These included requirements that make it more difficult for third-party organizations to register voters, limits on early voting and a plan to purge voter rolls of non-citizens.

    As with many of the voter limitations imposed by Republican state governments since they won election in 2010, these measures are likely to favor Republican candidates — and Florida is the ultimate swing state. Thankfully, a federal judge in Florida has issued a preliminary injunction against the law, which would interfere with the ability of organizations like the League of Women Voters to register voters in time for the election. That's good for now, but any attempt to discourage participation at the polls should be struck down for good.

    Florida's promise to ban non-citizens from voting sounds benign, but the method behind its purges causes serious concern. In a preliminary drafting of a list, Florida's secretary of state, Ken Detzner, came up with some 2,600 possible names. When the list was shown to county election officials, a number of citizens were discovered on it, including war veterans and longtime voters. To correct these mistakes, state officials plan to use more comprehensive data from the Department of Homeland Security, but even so, some citizens may be denied the right to vote. It's good to see that pending lawsuits will challenge the dubious necessity of this measure.

    The situation in Florida seems to invite another debacle such as we saw in 2000; oft-forgotten in that mess are thousands of voters—more than enough to have changed the outcome—who were improperly kicked off the rolls.

    This is just one state. And this is the sort of fight Republicans are waging now. Concerns about election integrity are one thing, but driving legitimate voters away from the polls by force of law is, by the numbers, a greater problem than the vote and voter fraud such laws are ostensibly intended to prevent. It is difficult to watch this process taking place without feeling some degree of suspicion about Republican intentions. There is a difference between recognizing the fact that Americans don't trust their politicians and trying to exploit that fact.


    Editorial Board. "Florida election laws threaten the vote in a key swing state". The Washington Post. August 23, 2012. August 23, 2012.
  17. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    I do believe that.

    Well, I'd add a couple more categories: peons who imagine that they are/will be fascist aristocrats, and some amount of sensible conservatives who are hold-overs from the days when the party was still respectable and who haven't yet realized that the party they think they are voting for ceased to exist years ago. It can take a long time for settled party voters to wake up and smell the coffee - multiple election cycles at a minimum, and some just never come around to admitting that they've been left behind. Upshot is that it's only a matter of time until those types all either convert or die off.

    I'm actually getting to the point where I don't think "the Right" is an accurate way to refer to the GOP. People have long noted the rightward shift in the Democratic party for decades now, often to the chagrin of its liberal wing. But lately I've become convinced that what has happened is not so much that the Democratic party is moving to the right per se, but that it has broadened to encompass the entire spectrum of reasonable, adult political belief. The GOP has curdled into an extreme reactionary party, and the bulk of the traditional left-right spectrum (excluding the nutcase fringes) is now represented by the Democratic party. The scary part is that the GOP remains an electoral force worth mentioning despite this headlong rush into extremism.
  18. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    That is the best and most accurate assessment I have seen.
  19. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    One further thing: the trajectory of the GOP/conservative movement has everything to do with racial equality and the erosion of white supremacy. It all began when the Democrats dumped the Jim Crow South in favor of the Civil Rights Movement, and the GOP rushed in to lock it up. Since then, the steady progression of racial equality has been mirrored by increasingly hysterical, reactionary politics in the GOP. Now that we have a black President it is extremely difficult for white supremacists to tell themselves that they are destined for ascendancy or at least have limited the march of racial equality to the point of preserving some level of white privilege indefinitely, and this process has reached fever pitch. The hold-outs are threatening revolution and uprising, trying to prevent minorities from voting, driving their party into disarray, and generally not going down quietly. It will take many more years for this process to play out, probably generations. It is unclear whether the GOP will remain a serious national party, if it continues on its current trajectory.
  20. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    No true Republican, eh?
  21. Balerion Banned Banned

    What even is a true Republican anymore? This stuff isn't coming from the fringe, it's coming from the mainstream.

    This doesn't mean that all Republicans are monsters, of course. Broad generalizations like that don't help anything.
  22. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    I think once they cluster as a party and pool their ideals there are many appropriate generalizations that characterize the personality disorder required to sustain a loyalty to their causes. The best grouping of traits I can think of comes from the standardized psychopathy checklist:

    Glibness/superficial charm
    Grandiose sense of self-worth
    Pathological lying
    Lack of remorse or guilt
    Emotionally shallow
    Callous/lack of empathy
    Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
    Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
    Parasitic lifestyle
    Lack of realistic, long-term goals
    Poor behavioral controls
    Early behavioral problems; juvenile delinquency
    Revocation of conditional release; criminal versatility
    Many short-term marital relationships; promiscuous sexual behavior.

    It's not only their politicians and media goons who come to mind here, but the voters who respect, appreciate and/or idealize psychopathic traits as the mark of effective leadership. I believe Republican voters are engaging in vicarious self-gratification in one or more of the syndromes above by and through their surrogate politicians.

    There are countless examples.
  23. Balerion Banned Banned

    A lot of those things can be said about anyone in politics. I've always been of the opinion that it takes a certain kind of narcissism to run for office, and probably an even more special breed to be successful in it. Where I see some difference in the parties is simply how these traits manifest themselves. You see the Republicans feeding on bigotry by saying that Obama is secretly Muslim, but you see Democrats attempting to silence any criticism of Obama by calling it racism. Most of these dirty tricks go both ways. There's no doubt that the Republicans are worse, but I don't think that has as much to do with their psyches as human beings as it does with the fact that Republican ideologies are regressive rather than progressive and lend themselves to restriction rather than liberation. Consider the voter suppression topic at hand. Do you really doubt that the Democrats wouldn't do the same thing if the poor vote tended to go to the Republicans? Look, I'm not trying to say we should condemn liberals in absence of wrongdoing, I'm just trying to say that there doesn't seem to be much of a difference between the parties in terms of the character of the human beings populating them.

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