Republican Campaign Strategy: Voter Supression
The Right to Vote
Through various articles and amendments in the United States Constitution every American citizen over the age of 18 generally has the right to vote in elections. Generally, voting rights are determined on a state to state level. The right to vote is one of the most sacred rights held by Americans and it is generally undisputed that nothing should be done to infringe on anybody's right to vote.
But with this being a Presidential election year that by all accounts will be very close, Republicans in power across the country are taking steps with the direct intent of keeping Americans from the polls. In Florida and Ohio for example, leaders there have taken steps to keep potential Democratic votes off the voting rolls and closing polling places in Democratic areas. These facts are not in dispute but instead being boasted about.
Florida Governor Rick Scott has sent a list of over 2,000 names to local election boards to determine whether the names on the list represent eligible to vote or not. Many of the local election boards have found that the lists are suspect at best and are refusing to continue with the voter purge. What makes the list suspect: the fact that the list contains eligible voters on it that are most likely to vote Democratic in November.
Instead of relenting, the Governor of Florida has sued the Justice Department to continue purging voters based on the list provided by Governor Scott. The motive according to the Governor: the get rid of voter fraud. The only problem is there is no evidence that there has been any election fraud that justifies the steps taken by the Governor of Florida. But that doesn't stop the Governor. Instead, the Governor demands that the list, which contains mostly hispanic names, be purged from the list. Hmm, a group of democratic voters being blocked from voting because they might vote for President Obama. The Republican message: we don't care about the right to vote for those who won't vote Republican. And the Republican candidates are really claiming that they want a return to Constitution principles? Please.
As un-American as the State of Florida trying to suppress democratic voters is, at least the State of Florida has tried to hide its illegal campaign strategy under the guise of trying to defend against voter fraud. Republicans in Ohio, led by the Ohio Secretary of State, are not even bothering to try hide its attempts to disenfranchise Democratic voters.
The State of Ohio allows for what is known as early voting. This is an attempt to allow voters more time to get to the polls as the one day approach tends to be very inconvenient for working people. In the counties that trend Republican, both Republicans and Democrats are in favor of keeping early voting open on nights and weekends, especially the last 3 days of early voting which is important because it occurs after Churches make a big push for voters to hit the polls. However, in counties that trend Democratic, Republicans refuse to agree thus creating a tie. Ties in these circumstances means the Secretary of State of the State of Ohio, Republican Jon Husted decides and he has decided to close Democratic leaning polling places early.
So in counties that tend to vote Democratic, such as the counties that are home to Cleveland, Columbus, Akron and Toledo, early voting hours will be limited to 8 am until 5 pm on weekdays beginning on October 1, with no voting at night or during the weekend. Yet in Republican counties, such restrictions do not exist. Restrictions for Democratic counties, no restrictions for Republican counties. Ya, nothing un-American going on there.
Really, this is your plan.
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has constantly stated that he has a plan to return the United States to greatness. Is voter suppression against younger voters and minorities what he has in mind? Are ID card laws (which are new) and discriminating against anyone who shows up to the polling place with brown skin what he has in mind? These are the tactics his party is using to get him into office.
Democrats and Republicans should have no debate about this. Every citizen is entitled to vote. Period. End of story. End of debate. Any move by either party to limit a citizen's right to vote should be met with criticism and angst. Most importantly, it should not be applauded. The leaders of these tactics should not be allowed to give interviews on Fox News and be told by Sean Hannity what heroes they are. Heroes are those who have died for this Country so that everyone has the right to vote, not the ones trying to win an election by denying access to the voting booths for no reason other than they don't like who that person will vote for.