Vote suppression again
It's so reliable you can set your calendar by it. Every election year, and especially every presidential election, the Republican Party does its best to pervert the republican form of government required by our Constitution to ensure that the people do not have the chance to vote to protect their own interests. In addition, we know that the Republican dominance of the last forty years has been built on a foundation of racism and racial discrimination, primarily in the South, but really wherever they can gain control of the mechanisms of voting. See, for instance, the examples of Florida's fraudulent voter list purge in 2000 and Ohio's subversion of the voting system in 2004. Nevertheless, this week we have two particularly odious examples.
In Wisconsin, the attorney general, who also happens to be McCain's state campaign chair, has filed a suit designed to slow down voting lines and drive voters away from the polls.
"It's going to slow down the lines," she said. "And it will not only affect the people who have been flagged in the poll book, but the people who are standing behind that individual who have all come to the polls to vote."
I know, I know. You thought that people are supposed to vote, it's an aspect of good citizenship, and everyone's civic duty. The problem is, when "certain people" vote it's just a bit inconvenient for the Republicans. Keep them away from the polls, and problem solved!
Bad as that is, though, what they're doing in Michigan, where I used to live, is even more loathsome. Really, beneath contempt: they're making sure that people who have lost their homes through foreclosure will also lose the right to vote.Michigan Republicans plan to foreclose African-American voters
The chairman of the Republican Party in Macomb County, Michigan, a key swing county in a key swing state, is planning to use a list of foreclosed homes to block people from voting in the upcoming election as part of the state GOP’s effort to challenge some voters on Election Day.
“We will have a list of foreclosed homes and will make sure people aren’t voting from those addresses,” party chairman James Carabelli told Michigan Messenger in a telephone interview earlier this week. He said the local party wanted to make sure that proper electoral procedures were followed.
And how do they know people have lost their homes? Well, convenently for the Republicans
GOP ties to state’s largest foreclosure law firmThe Macomb GOP’s plans are another indication of how John McCain’s campaign stands to benefit from the burgeoning number of foreclosures in the state. McCain’s regional headquarters are housed in the office building of foreclosure specialists Trott & Trott. The firm’s founder, David A. Trott, has raised between $100,000 and $250,000 for the Republican nominee.
They're doing the same thing in Ohio:
Carabelli is not the only Republican Party official to suggest the targeting of foreclosed voters. In Ohio, Doug Preisse, director of elections in Franklin County (around the city of Columbus) and the chair of the local GOP, told The Columbus Dispatch that he has not ruled out challenging voters before the election due to foreclosure-related address issues.
UPDATE: As of late Thursday afternoon the Republicans claimed they had backed off this plan to block foreclosed homeowners from voting.
The Macomb County Republican Party chair who told Michigan Messenger earlier this week that Republicans planned to challenge voters at the polls using a list of foreclosed homes has changed his story.
Instead, they plan to use another sophisticated vote suppression technique called "voter caging".
Last week Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner acknowledged that the use of mail for vote caging has disproportionately affected poor and minority communities and she instructed that returned mail should not be considered reasonable evidence that someone has moved.
UPDATE: Having been caught in the act, the Michigan Republicans are trying to silence criticism by demanding a retraction. The Michigan Messenger, which reported the voter suppression story, has refused demands for a retraction and stands by its story.
Fortunately, there is a national campaign to protect voting rights, and they are actively seeking volunteers. Unfortunately, given the success of Republican vote suppression campaigns in recent years, it is entirely posible that these efforts will once again have an effect on this year's election.