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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Suppressing The Vote ... Jim Crow's Last Loud Hurrah

Facing the real threat of demographic extinction, the Republican Party is resorting to measures long condemned by no less an authority than the Constitution of the United States Of America to suppress the vote of Blacks and Hispanic voters. The 24th Ammendment states:
"The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax."
Some members of the Supreme Court would argue that requiring voters to purchase state and federal IDs for the purpose of participating in elections is not a form of poll tax. While there may be some vague CommonSense appeal to that objection the facts on the ground speak a different truth, one articulated clearly by Justice Ginsburg in her dissent on the Texas Voter ID Law. The startling reality is that any economic burden that places an obstacle in the path of anyone desiring to exercise their sacred franchise amounts to, and qualifies as a "poll tax". There is a terrible history of voter obstruction that is in and of itself the only definition we need to qualify these actions as such.  

Justice Ginsburg was joined in her dissent by Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. She wrote:

"The greatest threat to public confidence in elections in this case is the prospect of enforcing a purposefully discriminatory law, one that likely imposes an unconstitutional poll tax and risks denying the right to vote to hundreds of thousands of eligible voters, ... Senate Bill 14 may prevent more than 600,000 registered Texas voters (about 4.5% of all registered voters) from voting in person for lack of compliant identification. A sharply disproportionate percentage of those voters are African-American or Hispanic."

An examination of the tendency to impose voter ID requirements will show that this is a trend among Republican governors in the states that they govern. Never mind the fact that there has been no proven proliferation of voter fraud. The intent is clearly not to prevent voter fraud. Indeed this, by all accounts, is an attempt by a certain political group to perpetuate a fraud upon the electorate. A few simple unanswered questions are : Who would have an interest in voter suppression in our democracy? Why would our "elected" representatives want to limit the ability of citizens to vote? The simple answer is ... Those who realize that they and their policies have no future where the people have a vote...and a voice.


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