Don’t Let it Happen Again…

Beyond this, there could be November 4th surprise: the Republicans may try to steal the election. Again. They loudly claim to be concerned about voter fraud, even though a New York University study recently found that it “is more likely an individual will be struck by lightning than that he will impersonate another voter at the polls.” But in the name of this paltry risk, they are effectively stripping millions of people – overwhelmingly black and Democrats – of their vote.

Their first vote-stripping tactic is to require elaborate voter I.D. that black people disproportionately lack. For example, in Indiana – a crucial swing state – Republicans have passed a law requiring voters to bring an official government document bearing their photograph to the polling station. But a study by the University of Wisconsin found that 53 percent of black adults didn’t have a passport or driving license, compared to 15 percent of white people. So they can’t vote unless they travel for hours (often without a car) to a sparse government registry and queue for half a day to get the correct the correct documentation. The former political director of the Texas Republican Party, Royal Masset, explains: “Requiring photo IDs could cause enough of a drop-off in legitimate Democratic voting to add 3 percent to the Republican vote.”

Their second tactic is to strip the electoral rolls of black names. In almost all US states, criminals lose their vote for life. This is shocking in itself – it disenfranchises a quarter of all black men in Kentucky, for one. But many states have a sloppy process where they simply scrub anyone with the same name as a criminal off the list. So if there is a criminal called ‘Chris Wayne’ in a county, every black man called ‘Chris Wayne’ loses their vote. That’s a lot of Democrats. In Florida in 2000, black voters made up 13 percent of the electorate yet they were 26 percent of the people wrongly disenfranchised.

When a judge ordered the release of the paper-work, he found out why. The team under Florida governor Jeb Bush had ordered that black criminal names had to go – but Hispanic names were not to be touched. Black Floridians overwhelmingly vote Democrat, while Hispanics lean towards the Republicans. The Bush team said this was “absolutely unintentional” and “a coincidence.”

This time, the Republicans have added another group to strip from the rolls. James Carabelli, a Republican Party chairman in Michigan, says: “We have a list of foreclosed homes and will make sure people aren’t voting from those addresses.” These voters are supposed to register from their new addresses – but many are out of time, or too stressed to do it. So the Republicans have launched a national “voter challenge campaign” against honest people who have lost their homes. They know that 60 percent of sub-prime mortgages went to black voters, and virtually everyone who lost their home is angry with the Republicans.

October Surprises

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