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.