My Monday column. Voter suppression and Voting Rights Act violations in Florida and Ohio:
For the last year or so, I’ve been tracking the Republican effort to suppress voting rights by passing various Jim Crow style “Voter ID” laws. The latest round of laws in Pennsylvania, Alabama, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin and so forth is a direct consequence of the 2010 tea party ascension to various state-level positions and practically every governor who was elected in that pivotal midterm campaign has in some way attempted to disenfranchise Democratic voters under the false flag excuse of “voter fraud.”
No such fraud exists, of course, and various studies from the Bush Justice Department to conservative reviews of election law violations found that there were as many as 80 successful prosecutions of voter fraud cases out of hundreds of millions of votes cast since 2000, and as few as zero. This isn’t news to us. If there’s no voter fraud, why are the Republicans so feverishly attempting to pass laws that make it more difficult to vote? It has nothing to do with upholding the law and everything to do with making sure poor people, young people and a considerable portion of seniors can’t vote.
Yesterday, there was chaos in Miami-Dade County, Florida where Governor Rick Scott suspended in-person absentee voting because too many people were waiting to vote. And that was only after early voting lines lasted upwards of six hours and were shut down at the designated 1 p.m. closing time. A six hour long line in the hot Miami sun just to cast a ballot. After social media exploded in protest, Scott allowed the in-person absentee vote to continue. But this only a cursory victory for voting rights because absentee ballots, unlike the early votes during normal polling hours, are too often rejected for errors.
And here’s a shocker. The Miami Herald reported on Saturday that 187,000 more Democrats than Republicans had voted. If you’re Rick Scott, there’s a clear political motivation to block that progress. [continued]