Posts Tagged 'disenfranchisement'

Jim Crow is alive and well

David sent me an e-mail this morning.

Hey, Dad, have you seen this Sarah Silverman thing on YouTube?  Funnier than hell.

So I watched it.  It’s about the voter ID laws that have been put in place in a bunch of states to put a stop to the most terrible thing that has ever happened to this country…voter fraud.

In search of a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist, states that have a predominantly pinkish cast have embraced voter ID laws as a way of ensuring that folks who might otherwise vote for a black guy are prevented from voting…period.

Law abiding patriots have seized on the need to have fair and square elections by reducing the number of crooks who, at the risk of incarceration, race to the polls by the busload, impersonate dead people, and cast their votes for black guys.  What’s in it for them, you say.  Hmmmm.

But the problem must be dealt with severely and order restored.  The nation’s very honor is at risk.  Fraud abounds.  Pro Publica reports that  A New York Times analysis from 2007 identified 120 cases filed by the Justice Department over five years.   An analysis by News21, a national investigative reporting project, identified  10 voter impersonation cases out of 2,068 alleged election fraud cases since 2000…or one out of every 15 million prospective voters.  In Pennsylvania where the problem is epidemic and where laws have been enacted to inoculate the population, there have been the incalculable total of zero cases of voter fraud.

 In July, Texas Attorney General Doug Abbott pointed to the alleged fifty cases of voter fraud prosecuted by his office, waived the Lone Star State’s flag, promised he would stamp fraudulent voting, and said “It’s time for politics to be put aside and allow the Texas voter ID law to be put into effect just like similar laws exist across the country. There is no valid proof that the law disproportionately affects minorities.”  

Scolding Mr. Abbott for his lapse of veracity, in August a three judge panel in the U.S. District Court unanimously struck down the Texas law.  The court said the law would hurt turnout among minority voters and impose “strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor” by charging those voters who lack proper documentation fees to obtain election ID cards.  That ruling came down two days after another three judge panel in the same court struck down the latest Texas redistricting because it intentionally discriminated against minority voters.

Harkening back to the days of Jim Crow, the newest voter ID laws promulgated in all but one red state are a fresh attempt to breathe life into an almost but not quite forgotten time when poll taxes were the weapon of choice to keep blacks and other undesirables from casting their vote.  But not everyone is saying ho-hum, that’s life, and then leaving it to the other guy to deal with this blatant attempt to disenfranchise voters.

 Judith Browne-Dianis, co-director of The Advancement Project, said black women showed in 2008 they can turn out in record numbers. But in 2010, “we sat home and while we were sitting at home, there were others that were plotting and what they decided to do was to change the rules of the game.”

Deidre Reese, coordinator of the Columbus-based Ohio Unity Coalition, an affiliate of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation was militant… “We are not going to give back one single inch. We have fought too long and too hard.”

What’s the big deal?  Those voter dis-enfranchisers can’t possibly be that successful.  It probably will only impact a few votes.  Surely justice will prevail.

 Well, here’s a thought.  The 2000 presidential election was decided by one vote.  By one Supreme Court vote, The Great Decider was seated in the Oval Office.  By one vote he sent us to war, turned surpluses into deficits and nearly destroyed this country’s financial system.

So go ahead, watch Sarah Silverman.  Really funny.  Really scary.


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