OPINION: Stop Voter Suppression
Stop Voter Suppression
Election Subversion & Suppression: dilution of voter’s Influence
By William Jones and D. S. Mitchell
Look to the Constitution
The U.S. Constitution defines who is eligible to vote. For example, you must be a U.S. citizen over 18 years of age to vote. Each person can vote only once in a given election. Pretty straight forward stuff.
Voter fraud means ineligible votes get counted (ex. husband votes for Trump using dead wife’s mail-in ballot.) Voter suppression refers to any effort to prevent eligible voters from being allowed to vote.(ex. politicians divide up congressional districts to benefit their own political party, diluting the opponents impact at the ballot box.) Any manipulation of the vote goes against the democratic ideal.
Good ID vs Bad ID
Our friends on the right often cite inadequate or insufficient identification as a major election problem. They suggest that all array of people are voting illegally (fraudulently). Particularly they complain there is no ID required when voting by mail. These are the same folks who have claimed millions of votes were FedEx’ed in from China. Furthermore Republicans complain about ‘poor drop box security,’ while at the same time deciding 2 drop boxes in all of Houston’s Harris county is adequate. This is where I say, no fraudulent ballots were imported from China, and add, Harris county needs a lot more than two ballot drop boxes. Come on. . . Stop, the crap.
Bottom of Form
Republicans use intentional misinformation to create a false narrative that more and more restrictive voting laws are needed to protect our democracy. This is a case where they are using the term voter fraud to create voter suppression. All to keep themselves in power, and undermine the trust in the election process. Voter suppression occurs when people who are legitimately eligible to vote are discouraged or prevented from casting their ballot. Gerrymandering is one powerful technique that politicians use to dilute the power of those that vote, for the other side.
“Packing” and “Cracking”
Gerrymandering allows politicians to pick their voters rather than allowing voters to select their representatives. The standard tools of gerrymandering, “packing” and “cracking,” facilitate preordained outcomes in elections. These techniques, effectively dilute the value of votes in elections, to a much more provable degree than claims of voter fraud.
It can be Legal
Both gerrymandering and restricting voting rights threaten the nation’s democracy as they restrict voters from having a say in their representation. Both are political lightning rods of controversy, affecting local, state and federal elections. “Two principal tactics are used in gerrymandering: “cracking” (i.e. diluting the voting power of the opposing party’s supporters across many districts) and “packing” (concentrating the opposing party’s voting power in one district to reduce their voting power in other districts).” Wikipedia. This is akin to preventing legitimate voters from influencing the outcome of elections, in much the same way as voter suppression. Ironically, majority–minority districts, those designed with one or more racial minority voters to ensure their representation, are a legal form of packing, with over one-quarter of congressional districts classified as such.
Gerrymandering and restricting voting rights are contributing to dysfunctional governments at the local, state, and federal levels. When members of both parties cannot even agree on who should vote, how to validate voter eligibility, who counts the votes, and how districts should be mapped to empower voters, we have a big problem.
Threats and Intimidation
Remember the Tea Party? The founding funder of that made up faux grassroots movement was rumored to be Charles Koch. Now in 2020 it is said he is paying instigators to front a new movement. Now it’s ‘concerned voters’ and ‘concerned parents.’ These screaming anti-CRT’ers and anti-vaxxers are threatening voting officials, school board members, and even governors. Local school board meetings have been turned upside down by these fake protesters fighting Koch’s newest culture war. The results have been fist fights in parking lots and death threats directed at elected officials. Violence and disorder the seemingly new normal.
The DOJ Raises Its Head
Attorney General Merrick Garland directed the FBI and U.S. attorney’s offices to hold meetings with federal, state and local law enforcement leaders over the next 30 days. The intent being to discuss ways to combat what the DOJ has called a “disturbing trend” of harassment and threats against elected officials across the spectrum from the president to local school board officials.
We Can Solve This
Gerrymandering is a solvable problem, and the solution is relatively simple: Do not let politicians draw their own districts and require districts to represent the views of the public as accurately as possible.
Hand it Over to a Commission
The first step is to require independent commissions to draw the districts, free from the influence of political officeholders. Whenever politicians are involved in the redistricting process, they have a strong incentive to distort that process to their advantage. The easiest way to remove that temptation is to take redistricting entirely out of their hands of politicians and instead give that power to a nonpartisan entity without a vested interest in particular districts. Gerrymandering frustrates the will of the people.
Communities of color have been underrepresented throughout American history. Nothing has changed. POC continue to be severely underrepresented in both state and federal legislatures. This underrepresentation is a result of gerrymandering, voter suppression, and a long history of overt actions that intimidate voters such as gun toting poll watchers.
Voting rights is meant to insure that every person eligible to vote can access the ballot and express their constitutional right to have their vote counted. Let’s stop the b.s. and just let people vote. Urge congress to pass the Freedom to Vote Act, it could solve a lot of these issues.