Friday, June 23, 2006

GOP Launches Yet More Assaults on Minority (read: Democratic) Voters

Empty vessels ring deep, and empty and/or degraded seventeen-year-old mustard gas canisters make for some ear-splitting noise when a Republican on the way down decides it's time to Santorum.

[Santorum v.i. & t., i.e. to Santorum, Use national media to spew untrue, button-pushing and fearmongering assertions about WMD's in order to detract attention from the lousy job one is doing, from one's plummeting poll numbers, or both.]

Considering the racket that was going on, one could be forgiven for missing this unsavory little development: The Republican Party decided yesterday to delay the renewal of The Voting Rights Act. Writing for British newspaper The Guardian, Greg Palast reports:

This is a strategic stall — meant to de-criminalize the Republican Party’s new game of challenging voters of color by the hundreds of thousands.

In the 2004 Presidential race, the GOP ran a massive multi-state, multi-million-dollar operation to challenge the legitimacy of Black, Hispanic and Native-American voters. The methods used broke the law — the Voting Rights Act. And while the Bush Administration’s Civil Rights Division grinned and looked the other way, civil rights lawyers are circling, preparing to sue to stop the violations of the Act before the 2008 race.

Therefore, Republicans have promised to no longer break the law — not by going legit… but by eliminating the law.

That's right. The party in charge wants to de-criminalize actions they took in 2004, namely, challenging an unprecedented three million-plus voters at the polls by claiming their registrations had been removed or that their addresses were not legitimate, and then requiring these voters to submit "provisional" ballots. Over a million of these provisional ballots were never counted. And over 88% of them were cast by minority--read: Democratic--voters.

This isn’t a number dropped on me from a black helicopter. They come from the raw data of the US Election Assistance Commission in Washington, DC.

At the heart of the GOP’s mass challenge of voters were what the party’s top brass called, “caging lists” — secret files of hundreds of thousands of voters, almost every one from a Black-majority voting precinct.

When our investigations team, working for BBC TV, got our hands on these confidential files in October 2004, the Republicans told us the voters listed were their potential “donors.” Really? The sheets included pages of men from homeless shelters in Florida.

Donor lists, my ass. Every expert told us, these were “challenge lists,” meant to stop these Black voters from casting ballots.


Why didn’t the GOP honchos ‘fess up to challenging these allegedly illegal voters? Because targeting voters of color is AGAINST THE LAW. The law in question is the Voting Rights Act of 1965.


The Republicans target Black folk not because they don’t like the color of their skin. They don’t like the color of their vote: Democrat. For that reason, the GOP included on its hit list Jewish retirement homes in Florida. Apparently, the GOP was also gunning for the Elderly of Zion.

Again, if we don't have fair, transparent, and voter-verifiable elections, we have no democracy. I urge everyone to contact his Congresspersons and express his outrage. We can't rely on American mainstream media to report on this travesty; MSNBC's Keith Olbermann was the only newsperson who gave substantial airtime to reporting on the "irregularities" surrounding Ohio's part in the 2004 presidential election. It should alarm every single person in this country that the BBC and other European media have paid, and continue to pay, attention to the undermining of American democracy while our own media remain mute, or worse, ridicule anyone who speaks out on this (Robert Kennedy comes immediately to mind) by suggesting he is a tinfoil hat-wearing conspiracy theorist.

If you need further convincing as to the gravity of the situation, consider this:

Now that the GOP has been caught breaking the Voting Rights law, they have found a way to keep using their expensively obtained “caging” lists: let the law expire next year. If the Voting Rights Act dies in 2007, the 2008 race will be open season on dark-skinned voters. Only the renewal of the Voting Rights Act can prevent the planned racial wrecking of democracy.

UPDATE: Pam has also written an important post about the 17 states in the high-risk category for vote fraud because they use electronic voting machines (DRE's) with no paper trails.

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