Nothing Says “Freedom” Like Voter Suppression

Watched Rachel Maddow last night. Rachel is one of my personal heroes. Anyone who can get on TV and just talk for an hour and make so much sense and sound so interesting, is someone way up on the People I Most Admire scale. I couldn’t do it.

I’m sure she takes a lot of abuse from the Gay-Unfriendly Conservative Right Wingers but I refuse to listen to any of it. She laughingly refers to herself as “just a middle-aged lesbian in a cheap jacket.” She’s so much more than that.

She did a show on early voter suppression. Republicans naturally want to do this, because Democrats vote early in greater numbers. That’s because they (the Democrats) need flexibility, they can’t always bop down to the polling location on Election Day in their SUVs, fresh from Yoga, like the Republicans can.

Voter Fraud is a Felony! Billboards in Ohio and Wisconsin that went up in intercity and known student residential neighborhoods, which seemed to indicate that the act of merely voting could land you in jail. These billboards were paid for by an “unknown family”. I so wish I knew who that was. Eventually they were taken down and replaced with Voting is Your Right billboards, but who knows how many people were affected by that message?

Florida is required by the Voting Rights Act to offer  a set amount of hours for early voting so what did they do? They attempted to schedule early voting so that the polls would not be open on Sunday Nov. 4th because it is well known that this when churches encourage their members to vote (Souls to the Polls) and there is a huge African-American turnout after church. It didn’t work, the courts struck it down and the polls were opened, but still, they tried. And the lines! Six, seven, eight hours in line in some areas because the polling locations aren’t manned with enough people and the voting hours are structured in such a way that minority groups tend to show up at the same time, thus discouraging them from voting. You know, people who work for a living.

Back to Ohio, Jon Husted is playing the voter suppression card, this time at the eleventh hour, in a controversial new directive concerning provisional ballots. He ordered election officials (this past Friday) to shift the burden of filling out provisional ballots from the poll worker to the voter. Previously the recording of the voter’s form of ID was the poll worker’s responsibility, but not any longer. Doesn’t seem like a big deal? It is, actually. It has the potential to impact the count of thousands of votes. And, remembering 2000, we know how important thousands of votes can be.

I have been in both Ohio and Florida this election season. And while I am glad to be in a state that politicians consider vote-worthy, I am really tired of hearing about how Republicans continually try to get the vote to come out better for their side. If you can’t win with billions of dollars, then suppress the vote. It’s just disgusting.

I’ve been doing a little voter suppression of my own. Here’s how it goes:

I have a benign political discussion with someone (anyone).

Me: Who are you voting for?

They: Romney.

Me:(yawning) Well I’m voting for Obama. Hey, I hear those lines are hours long! What say both of us don’t bother to vote, we’ll just cancel each other out and we won’t have to go to the polls!

They: Okay.

Then I’m on to the next person, but then, of course, I vote anyway!

I doubt it will work but it’s worth a try.

Photo courtesy of Microsoft Clip Art.


12 thoughts on “Nothing Says “Freedom” Like Voter Suppression

  1. It’s very alarming when a political party’s ideas are so unpalatable that their strategy is built upon voter suppression. It’s the type of thing that should make the leaders and followers of the party ask, “Am I on the right side of history here?” I’m in Pennsylvania, where a repressive voter ID law almost went into effect in time for the general election (it has been enjoined), and so I take this type of suppression very personally and others should too.

    • You are so right about what the leaders and followers of the party should ask themselves, and why don’t they? Do they really believe the ends justify the means, or is it really just all about the political power. Get it any way you can. This election season has been a real eye-opener as to just what tactics some people will stoop to.

  2. Good luck on your voter suppression technique. It’s worth a shot, right? The tactics these folks resort to can be really low–like that Sunday thing.

    Living in Ohio is a bit rough come election time. I posted a picture on FB and Twitter of the ridiculous amount of glossy fliers I’ve accumulated in my mailbox over the past 4 days. What a waste of trees and dollars. I love following politics, and I’ll be glued to the TV tomorrow, but I’ll be relieved when it’s over.

    • I know about those flyers! I always donate online so why do they keep sending me stuff in the mail? I want to yell at them, save your postage and your paper! And the emails! Holy crap, I get hundreds daily from all sorts of famous people (I guess) and now they are promising me “this is the last email you will get about this” – yeah, I wish. Wednesday, on to Christmas ads!

  3. They ALL use their cunning tricks and there is nothing you can do about it except cast your vote. Here in Australia (I’ve lived in and followed politics in BOTH countries) if you DON’T vote you are fined $20. Not much of a deterrent. My gripe is the number of people who vote based on the candidates looks etc. with no knowledge of the issues. The privilege of citizenship should carry a measure of informed involvement.

    • Wow. Fined for not voting? If only we could have that in the US. But see, here it’s different. Here we want to suppress the vote. We (my husband and I) are very apprehensive about what will happen tomorrow and plan that our day will be nothing more than voting and then watching what happens.

      And yes! I am reading your book and enjoying it! Love how you go back and forth from the early days to the Viet Nam days. It is so interesting to me, wish I could have had all this knowledge before I wrote my first novel! I will let you know when I have finished and will write a review! Your book is so interesting, and well written.

      • Thanks Lynn. Your response means a lot to me because I really do admire your writing/thoughts. The elections are on TV all day here in Australia too. It does look like Obama is going to prevail so you can relax and lift a glass of wine pretty soon, I think.

  4. It scares me that people can want their guy to win so much that they do not want people to be able to cast a vote undermining the whole point of democracy. The UK voting isn’t brilliant, but it is a slightly better system than this one. I cannot vote, but my wife should be voting Obama. I’m of the opinion his policies are working (albeit slowly), are not destructive, and are better long term plans which is needed a whole lot.

    • If only you could vote! I know you would vote for Obama. He has had a very hard road and things are improving and yet (so the Repugs day) not enough. We will see, it will be an interesting day tomorrow and I wonder if we will know what the outcome will be at the “end of the day”. It may be 2000 all over again and weeks before we know the outcome.

      • For me it is a question of looking at the larger picture. However I can understand someone who might be in a bad financial place needing something to cling onto and therefore thinking Romney is a good option. If your own experience is not seeing change that you need then it is easier to believe the other guy.

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