Saturday, October 30, 2010

Right Wing Extremists Seek to Suppress the Black and Latino Vote

On October 28, 2010, Project Vote issued a press release detailing nationwide efforts by members of the Tea Party and Republican Party to suppress minority voters.  The Brennan Center has a page on its website tracking right wing so-called "ballot security" operations.  Under the guise of promoting so-called "ballot security" and "voter integrity", right wing activists are using various suppression tactics against black and Latino voters.  Here are a few examples cited in Project Vote's report:

In Houston, Texas, someone sent fake and deceptive fliers to African Americans to discourage them from voting a straight Democratic ticket. 

In Nevada, a political television ad actually urged Latinos not to vote.

As reported in the Houston Chronicle, in Harris County, Texas, early voters in predominantly minority districts complained to the County Attorney Vince Ryan about Tea Party activists" "hovering over" voters, "getting into election workers' faces" and blocking or disrupting lines of voters waiting to cast their ballots."

Finally, in Illinois, Republican Senate candidate Mark Kirk was recorded saying, "I have now funded the largest voter integrity program for 15 years in the state of Illinois.  These are lawyers and other people that will be deployed in key vulnerable precincts.  For example: South and West side of Chicago, Rockford, Metro East, where the other side might be tempted to jigger the numbers somewhat."  Those precincts are predominately African American. 

As noted on the Keith Olbermann show and in the Huffington Post, "Hans von Spakovsky was in Chicago.....recruiting Republican attorneys for "voter integrity" efforts. In 2006, von Spakovsky, according to the Washington Post, pushed to require Georgia voters to provide photo identification that had to be purchased--basically creating a poll tax that disproportionately affected the black community." For more information, watch the Keith Olbermann video below.

Voter suppression is a modern form of oppression. Such despicable racist strategies are contrary to this nation's ideals and values.  Voting is the essence of American democracy. Those schemes are analogous to poll taxes, literacy tests and other repressive Jim Crow era strategies to prevent black people from voting. The opposition understands the importance of our vote. Otherwise, they would not work so hard to suppress it.  We must exercise and defend our right to vote. 

On November 2, 2010, I will be working with fellow NAACP staff attorneys and the Election Protection coalition to assist voters.  If you experience any problems voting, please contact 1-866-OUR-VOTE for assistance.  For more information, visit

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