If you enjoyed the presidential election of 2000, you’ll have a great time with what’s coming in 2012. Governors and state legislatures around the nation — color them red states — are taking mighty efforts to further gerrymander the people’s right to vote.
Led by Florida and Texas, Republican-dominated state legislatures are seeking to demand picture IDs and positive proof of citizenship before people can vote. The decision will certainly curtail the voting ability of the poor and undereducated. All will be forced to pass a litmus test before they can vote.
This amounts to little more than a poll tax, papered over with blather about non-existent dangers of fraud– a further attempt to stop voting by the underclasses. It is nothing new in Florida, which decided the 2000 election, and where unseen hands wrongly expunged thousands from the electoral rolls as possible convicted felons. Leaving hanging chads aside, reports in the Sunshine State showed the tendency to find more faulty voting machines and systematic intimidation at minority polling places than elsewhere.
The Brennan Center for Justice
reports that 21 million American citizens do not have picture IDs, although there is no constitutional reason why that should stop them from voting.
“Spreading fear of a nonexistent flood of voter fraud,” writes The New York Times, Republican legislators “are demanding that citizens be required to show a government-issued identification before they are allowed to vote. Republicans have been pushing these changes for years, but now more than two-thirds of the states have adopted or are considering such laws. The Advancement Project, an advocacy group of civil rights lawyers, correctly describes the push as ‘the largest legislative effort to scale back voting rights in a century.’ “
Are you paying attention? In the United States –where a coalition of working class African-Americans and Hispanics tipped the scales to elect Barack Obama in 2008 — state legislatures are about to restrict voting rights. Who do you think this organized Republican campaign is intended to benefit?
First came a landmark, highly partisan and criticized 5-4 Supreme Court decision in 2010 that allows unregulated corporate financing of elections, the work of a conservative bloc that also decided the outcome of the 2000 election. With this latest decision, the wealthiest can spend as much money as they want to sway the minds of the collective electorate. We will see a personality-driven, lie-besmirched campaign for the presidency and Congress in which untold billions — six or seven billion it is estimated — will be spent in the battle for victory.
If you’re not fired up about the problem, try some quotations over history about democracy: one of my favorites is from John Adams [to get even more passionate about our democracy, watch or watch again the HBO TV miniseries about John Adams. Next go see the current film, The Conspirator, a well-wrought film about the rule of law.]
Here’s what Adams said:
“Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”
Get fired up and prove that John Adams was wrong. Fight laws that will restrict voting rights.