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After the 2010 elections, more than 12 US states attempted to implement laws that would stop voters rather than encourage it. (AAP)
US voter suppression is now a real thing
27 November 2012 | 9:45 | Source:
As we are frequently reminded, the United States is apparently the home of the free. Well, sort of.
While one of its unofficial reasons for existence is to promote the spread of democracy around the world, at home it’s a very different story.
One issue that needs serious follow up amid the fall out from the 2012 election is the anti-democracy peddled by the right wing – now the Republican Party is apparently doing this blatantly so.
The Palm Beach Post does not carry the same weight of investigative journalism as perhaps the New York Times, the Washington Post, or even the Miami Herald but this weekend it unveiled something of a scoop.
Hold the front page - former Republican leaders from Florida admitted that voter suppression was the driving force behind legislation that demanded voter ID at polling booths, shortened voting hours, and curtailed early voting opportunities.
Voter fraud was given as the reason for the changes to these Election Day laws but these one-time Republican high flyers claimed that manufactured reason was a front for the real purpose – attempting to ensure a Republican victory.
“The Republican Party, the strategists, the consultants, they firmly believe that early voting is bad for Republican Party candidates,” former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer admitted.
“They never came in to see me and tell me we had a (voter) fraud issue,” Greer said. “It’s all a marketing ploy.”
“The sad thing about that is… there is prejudice and racism in the party but the real prevailing thought is that they don’t think minorities will ever vote Republican,” he added.
“It’s not really a broad-based racist issue. It’s simply that the Republican Party gave up a long time ago ever believing that anything they did would get minorities to vote for them.”
It should be noted that Greer is under indictment, accused of stealing party funds. These are charges he is fighting. But his claims were backed by former Florida Governor Charlie Crist, also on the outer of the Republican Party, as well as two Republican election consultants.
The strong allegations remain clear and add to the post-election mess the Republican Party finds itself in. Rather than engage the electorate, a Republican strategy is to simply shut it down.
After the 2010 elections, more than 12 states attempted to implement laws that would stop voters rather than encourage it. The targets were young voters, Hispanics, and African-Americans, many of whom would vote for President Obama or Democrat candidates.
Here’s a now infamous video of a Pennsylvania Republican claiming voter ID would assist Mitt Romney’s election (although, in the end, that didn’t work out too well).
In his election night victory speech President Obama gave a nod to those voters who lined up for hours for the opportunity to mark their ballot, saying the ridiculously difficult voting processes need to be fixed.
He’s right but the problem is deeper than a throwaway line in a speech. As the allegations in the Palm Beach Post suggest, the promise of power can corrupt far deeper than many might like to admit.