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Friday, August 10, 2012

Working Minds Essay #100: Voter Suppression 2012

The vote of each and every citizen of New Mexico and across America is so important that the fascist Republican Party is spending millions of taxpayer dollars to take away the rights of enough voters in this critical Election 2012 to ensure that the Republicans can steal the elections in states and districts that they will not otherwise win.

The 2000 presidential election was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in their egregious Bush v. Gore decision of December 2000. Skipping all those 'hanging chads', George W. Bush was allotted 537 more votes than Al Gore, Jr., giving Bush 271 electoral votes and Gore 266 – quite a squeaker. Had the Supreme Court not delivered their unconstitutional decision, Gore would have won Florida by a tiny several hundred votes and the electoral count would have jumped the other way: 293 for Gore and 244 for Bush.

That Florida election was already skewed by the 12,000 voters wrongly categorized as convicted felons and prevented from voting.

Here in New Mexico, our Secretary of State Dianna J. Duran has recently mailed out 178,000 postcards to potential expired voters. Her office made a really big mistake though in targeting Democratic voter Diane Wood, who happens to be a local officer in Common Cause, and a few other outspoken victims. Luckily for New Mexico voters, the New Mexico Legislature (Thank you, Michael Sanchez!) made the process harder to corrupt – our state procedure is notification by postcard, status change if postcard is returned by the U.S.P.S., and then removal does not occur unless the citizen does not vote in any election in the next two years.

Ohio has been suppressing early voting by having polling locations in highly-Democratic urban precincts open only from 8am to 5pm Monday thru Friday, thus preventing working citizens from voting.

In Florida, the corruption goes much deeper. The Florida Legislature cancelled the right to vote for 100,000 convicted felons this year. Republican Gov. Rick Scott ordered Secretary of State Ken Browning to compile a list of 'non-citizen voters' to be purged; Browning resigned, stating that the database was not reliable in that area. Browning's successor compiled a list of 182,000 potential non-citizens registered to vote, along with a list of 50,000 supposed dead registered voters.

A lawsuit against the Secretary of State from plaintiffs that included the non-partisan League of Women Voters asked for a temporary injunction; that filing in a Florida district court was denied; they were told to just file a lawsuit for a permanent decision. Another district court judge then issued the permanent injunction against the state's plan to remove voters who did not reply within 48 hours under threat of a $1,000 fine. The Department of Justice also issued a letter to the State of Florida declaring them in violation of federal law and demanding a halt to the biased voter purge.

Further evidence of the fascist corruption of American politics soon followed. The Republican-owned national media reported that Florida WON twice in court and skipped the federal block of further action. So naturally, Republican governors used the false news reports to justify similar voter suppression action – at taxpayer expense – in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Iowa, and Colorado.

On the good news side, the governors of New Hampshire and Michigan vetoed similar voter suppression laws passed by their legislatures. (These laws were modelled after unconstitutional text written by Koch Brothers-funded lobbyist A.L.E.C., who are adept at purchasing state and federal politicians, including several in New Mexico.)

What can you do?
1) Read your mail closely.
2) Vote early.
3) Work locally to bring out local voters (any party) – call it anti-suppression.
4) Raise hell via the media if you are wrongly targeted.

If the fascist Republican Party had anything of value to offer the American voter they would not have to lie and cheat and steal to win elections.

Copyright 2012 by G.E. Nordell, all rights reserved

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