New Orleans Finally as the campaigns begin to grip the likely closeness of the election, there is some pushback against the massive state-by-state efforts to suppress or drive down the likely voters, especially among lower and minority citizens. Attorney General Eric Holder in triggering federal litigation in several states has correctly referred to such measures, especially the resistance to allow equity in voting in Texas, as equivalent to instituting a “poll tax.” I have to wonder though whether this is too little and too late with the election only months away.
The poll tax argument has arisen in Texas, given the costs and inaccessibility of trying to obtain the newly mandated picture identifications before voting. Distances are huge in Texas and many lack transportation. A number of counties have spotty hours for offices where IDs could be obtained. In South Carolina, Georgia, Texas and other states of the Old South, the Voting Rights Act barring racial discrimination bars such conduct and gives the Justice Department some handles in trying to suppress the vote, so we’ll have a cliffhanger running up to the election, as these efforts hopefully come to a cropper.
In what used to be known as fair minded, if not liberal, states, like Ohio and Pennsylvania, there is no such natural leverage so the pushback is harder to develop. It was heart rending to read the story in the Times of a 90+ year old Pennsylvanian who had never had a driver’s license, gone through various names due to marriage and adoption, and had her social security card and other IDs stolen at a grocery store last year, who has now reacquired a birth certificate, but still likely lacks enough to be able to vote in Pennsylvania. She is convinced that her problems are deliberately meant to strip votes away from Obama. No, duh? This has become too obvious.
Partially because Republicans who have been advancing this strategy, as we have frequently discussed, since 2008 can’t keep themselves from chortling, the transparency of the effort to disenfranchise voters has become crystal clear. Quoting the Times:
The argument by the Pennsylvania law’s proponents that it has nothing to do with partisan politics took a blow late last month when Mike Turzai, the majority leader of the state’s House of Representatives, addressed a group of fellow state Republicans. Listing the accomplishments of the Republican-controlled legislature, he said, ‘Voter ID – which is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania – done.
These are all real people with a real problem who are trying to access the voting booth but being denied. Meanwhile the Republicans keep harping about voter registration “fraud,” and waving their ACORN “bloody shirt” despite the frequently established fantasy of it all.
Somehow it is easy for both parties to join in chants of “let the people vote” when it comes to Egypt, Syria, Iran, and Russia, but here at home…silence reigns. Democracy is for someone else. Winning by any means necessary, fair or foul, is the current motto here.