Voter suppression in all its awfulness

Just after I sickened you with the crazy shit the North Carolina GOP is still pulling to hang desperately onto power when it’s actually diminished as a power…

Emory Professor Carol Anderson published this, “The Republican Approach to Voter Fraud: Lie,” in today’s (digital) or maybe tomorrow’s New York Times Sunday Review. Hope you took some dramamine.

It begins:

He was a proud Korean War veteran. He was also black and lived in Texas. That meant that by 2013, Floyd Carrier, 86, was a prime target for the state’s voter suppression campaign, even though he was “Army strong.”

In an election that year, when he handed his Department of Veterans Affairs card to the registrar, he was turned away. No matter that he had used that ID for more than 50 years without a problem. Texas had recently passed a burdensome and unnecessary law that required voters to show a state-approved ID with a photo. His card didn’t have one.

The North Koreans couldn’t break Mr. Carrier, but voter suppression did. “I wasn’t a citizen no more,” he told a reporter last year. “I wasn’t.”

And she tells you how the GOP does it:

Demoralize people. Strip away their voting rights. Debase their citizenship. Dilute the diversity of voters until the electorate becomes homogeneous. Lie and say it’s because of voter fraud. But most important, do all of this in the name of saving democracy.

Rampant voter fraud does not exist. There is no epidemic of illegal voting. But the lie is so mesmerizing, it takes off like a wildfire, so that the irrational fear that someone might vote who shouldn’t means that hundreds of thousands who should can’t cast ballots, in part because of the increase in voter ID laws across the country in recent years.

The best way to understand the lie is to understand how it began: on Election Day in 2000. What happened then affects who will show up to vote in less than two months, and how confident they’ll feel when they get to the polls.

Election Day, 2000. Florida. Hanging chads. She tells you what happened, how it happened. And once again I became furious. So will you.

P.S. I read some of the early comments to Prof. Anderson’s article. One woman or man from Columbus, Ohio, wrote this:

I work as a poll worker in Ohio, where many options for ID are acceptable including bank statements and utility bills as long as they have the correct name and address. My location is in an assisted living community where many residents no longer drive, and all bills are sent to a son or daughter who manages their finances, so they have no valid ID. They can still vote absentee without any ID, but some like to vote in person. I obtained approval for a workaround that involved obtaining a current list of all residents of the facility from management.

This is evidence that a lack of ID is a legitimate issue.

A “legitimate issue”???

Message to this person: In New York, I go to my local precinct, an elementary school, to vote. I head toward the table marked with my district number. I tell the polling person my name and spell it. Polling person goes through a large, bound book until she finds my name, right next to which is my signature, right next to a blank space for this year’s signature.

I sign my name. I get my ballot and go to a booth. I vote. I deliver my ballot into a scanner. The paper ballot zips out the back for corroboration, just in case there’s a question about the scanners.

I am not asked for I.D. I do not present I.D. I could show up at the school without my pocketbook, if I so chose.

What “legitimate issue” is there for I.D? I am a registered voter, my name is on the voting roll, along with my authentic signature, and I sign. Is this too simple for Ohio?

You can hear me growling, can’t you? Many things in our current political horror drive me nuts. The one thing driving me nuttier than anything is that some of my fellow American citizens are prevented from voting.

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