Monday, June 13, 2011
Countering the Conspiracy to Disenfranchise Black Voters
Sadly, in this modern era, the Republican Party is continuing that racist legacy. In some respects, the Republican Party is today's version of the White Citizens' Council. Similar to the Council, the Republican Party is a predominately Southern, white male organization. It opposes issues that are important to minorities such as affirmative action, immigration rights, health care reform, workers' rights, social programs, etc.
To make matters worst, as reported in the New York Times, the GOP is even attempting to disenfranchise African Americans, Latinos, the elderly and the poor.
"Less than 18 months before the next presidential election, Republican-controlled statehouses around the country are rewriting voting laws to require photo identification at the polls, reduce the number of days of early voting or tighten registration rules.
Republican legislators say the new rules, which have advanced in 13 states in the past two months, offer a practical way to weed out fraudulent votes and preserve the integrity of the ballot box. Democrats say the changes have little to do with fraud prevention and more to do with placing obstacles in the way of possible Democratic voters, including young people and minorities.
Democrats, who point to scant evidence of voter-impersonation fraud, say the unified Republican push for photo identification cards carries echoes of the Jim Crow laws — with their poll taxes and literacy tests — that inhibited black voters in the South from Reconstruction through the 1960s. Election experts say minorities, poor people and students — who tend to skew Democratic — are among those least likely to have valid driver’s licenses, the most prevalent form of identification. Older people, another group less likely to have licenses, are swing voters.
Changes to voter law tend to flow and ebb with election cycles as both Democrats and Republicans scramble to gain the upper hand when they hold power. The 2010 midterm election was a boon to Republicans, who now control 59 chambers of state legislatures and 29 governorships. In some states, like Florida and Texas, Republicans hold overwhelming majorities. This has allowed the bills to move forward."
The 2000 Presidential Election taught us that every single vote is crucial. Similar to the Jim Crow era voting restrictions, the Republican Party's covert goal is to discourage minorities and poor people from voting. Unnecessary and burdensome registration requirements may have a decisive impact on the 2012 Presidential Election. By disenfranchising a few, a whole race of people may be prevented from electing their candidates of choice.
We must counter this massive conspiracy to disenfranchise black, Latino, poor and elderly voters. We must intensify our voter registration and education efforts. We must pressure politicians to repeal those restrictive laws by launching online petition drives and, if necessary, by engaging in organized acts of civil disobedience. Finally, advocacy groups must continue to use the courts to fight against this type of injustice.
There is far too much at stake for us to remain silent. Too many people died so that we can exercise our right to vote. We cannot allow anyone to take us backward. We must march forward.
This article is cross-posted on Jack and Jill Politics.