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Posted by on Sep 7, 2011 in Politics | 25 comments

Courtesy Of The GOP, Jim Crow Is Back In A National Voter Suppression Campaign

Our democracy is under siege from an enemy so small
it could be hiding anywhere.

Having stolen the 2000 presidential election courtesy of the Supreme Court, the Republican Party is gearing up to try to steal the 2012 election by suppressing the voters who helped elect Barack Obama in 2008. They are, not coincidentally, the traditional enemies of the party and include minorities, the elderly, immigrants, college students and ex-convicts who represented an historic number of first-time voters in that watershed election.

Unlike past voter suppression efforts that were on a haphazard state-by-state basis, Rolling Stone and other media outlets are reporting that this campaign is being centrally coordinated.

Retaking the White House will be a long shot even with resorting to thuggery, although the GOP has shown in the new millennium that there is nothing it won’t do to further cheapen the brand of a once-proud party, most recently trying to hold hostage the victims of Hurricane Irene and other natural disasters. Tactics, you see, have trumped principles.

The big gun behind the campaign is the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization funded in part by David and Charles Koch, the billionaire brothers who have bankrolled the Tea Party.

With ALEC and party operatives pulling the strings, some 12 states have approved new obstacles to voting that are reminiscent of Jim Crow laws such as literacy tests and poll taxes that were used to keep black Southerners from voting. The efforts vary with the states. Texas, for example, has made it harder for the League of Women Voters to register new voters, while Maine has repealed Election Day voter registration and other states have cut short early voting periods that make it easier for the elderly and students to vote.

The typical Republican Party reply to criticism of its voter suppression efforts is that they are attempts to crack down on rampant voter fraud. The problem is that there is extremely little voter fraud, and from 2002 to 2007 the Bush Justice Department was unable to prosecute a single case. This has not stopped the GOP, and in 2006 the Justice Department fired two U.S. attorneys for refusing to pursue trumped-up voter fraud cases.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a former high-ranking Bush Justice Department adviser, is typical of the anti-voter zealots.

Kobach has adroitly played to anti-immigrant fears in successfully fighting for a new law requiring proof of citizenship in order to vote even though Kansas has prosecuted only a single voter fraud case in the last five years. He also has railed against dead people voting and cited a Kansan named Alfred K. Brewer as a typical culprit. There was only one problem: Brewer was alive and well, and the Wichita Eagle found him working in his front yard.

“I don’t think this is heaven,” Brewer told the paper. “Not when I’m raking leaves.”

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  • Allen

    I tell ya Bob Dole is doing back flips.

    If people knew what the Koch Nazis where doing, half would change party affiliation. Folks don’t even understand what they’re voting for when they vote Republican these days. They just get sucked right in. You can’t help but love those poor dumb flat-head Kansans. They lost their leader when Dole retired. Dole was so honest it’s just unfair sending domesticated Kansans into the wild untrained.

  • superdestroyer

    In an age when identity theft is rampant and many people feel compelled to hire private companies to protect their identities because the government refuses to adopt any mechanisms to limit identity theft, maybe it is reasonable to assume that voter fraud is occurring. Florida has 10,000’s of voters who are also registered in New York or New Jersey. 10,000’s of college kids are registered in two places and vote in both locations.

    Local and state governments have refused to coordiante voter register to limit fraud. If you have a system where it is impossible to detech voter fraud, then the claim that no one has been convicted of voter fraud.

    In a time where people are treated like criminals when they travel, enter a public meeting, or apply for job, it is that much to demand that state and local government follow the same procedures that privates businesses are forced to do?

  • Absalon

    So basically you don’t care that many are systematically punished for the non-systematic crimes of the few?

    I think democrats should start systematically cheating now. If these are the new terms of war, fine with me.

    The fact that republicans can’t conceive of a plan to fight fraud that doesn’t involve effectively inserting poll taxes and other “solutions” with suspiciously skewed impact shows that they don’t care about fraud – they are psychopaths that are using fraud (the deficit) as an excuse to disenfranchise their opponents (sabotage the entire new deal and government agencies).

  • The bottom line is that despite the rantings of some Republican bigs and draconian laws now on the books in several states, the instances of voter fraud are miniscule. Minute. Tiny. One in 500,000.

    This is nothing but an attempt to suppress the vote because the lower the turnout the better the GOP usually does. Democracy yeah!

  • There is no question that Kennedy won in Illinois thanks to dead Chicago voters. Today, the students do vote in 2 places and same day registration is rife with fraud.

    We are supposed to be a nation of laws,and the liberals who oppose this are condoning behavior that leads to further disrespect for the law.

    No one has come forward and said they were unlawfully stopped from voting. And equating a lawful system to Jim Crow is hysteria.

  • JSpencer

    “We are supposed to be a nation of laws” – DW

    As if today’s GOP cares whether or not we are a nation of laws. Open eyes wider please. Supression has always been the greater problem, all revisionist history (and ignorance of history) aside.

  • I find it comical that people think there’s no voter fraud out there. People not only that it’s going on around here (mostly with absentee ballots), but they (both Democrats and Republicans) know who’s doing it. The problem is, there’s no way to find out who turned in what ballots, nor is there legal authority to investigate them. And since both parties engage in it, to different extents, neither really wants it investigated.

    Just because it can’t be prosecuted doesn’t mean that it’s not happening.

  • Dr. J

    It’s hard to get excited about either side of this issue, because the respective “anti-fraud” and “pro-justice” positions simply don’t ring true. I find it more plausible that Democrats favor more lenient election rules because they’ll tend to produce more votes for Democrats, and Republicans oppose them for the same reason. It’s the eternal struggle for more power, trying to pass itself off as responsibility and altruism.

  • dduck

    Solve the problem by having mandatory voting just like jury duty. After all they both involve a form of justice and fairness.

  • Allen


    We already have mandatory voting. It’s called the electoral college. You voted for every elected President since you were born. What, don’t you remember?

  • dduck

    I attended RCA Institutes is that like the Electoral College. BTW: How are the women there.

  • Allen


    That’s not what they are saying. They are saying that it don’t happen enough to have any real affect on election outcomes nationally. Now your local area may be a cesspool of corruption and that needs to be straightened out, but they can’t do it if the funds aren’t there…which brings us back to the Republicans…..

  • rudi

    Care to show any valid studies which back up your false claim of current voter fraud.

    Here’s a few link which debunk any voter fraud at the national level.

    Based on the research and analysis conducted for Securing the Vote, we offer several conclusions about
    election fraud in the United States today:

    Voter fraud appears to be very rare in the 12 states examined in that report. Legal and news records
    turned up little evidence of significant fraud in these states or any indication that fraud is more than a
    minor problem. Interviews with state officials further confirmed this impression.

    Notable election reforms of the past 10 to 15 years—such as the NVRA, more permissive absentee
    balloting rules, all mail-in voting in Oregon, and the enactment of Election Day Registration in several
    more states—have not facilitated voter fraud.

    Analysis of several cases of election fraud that have received significant attention in recent years suggests
    that some of the most notable allegations of fraud have proved to be baseless. While the 1997
    mayoral primary election in Miami, Florida, was one of the most egregious election fraud cases in recent
    memory, there are other noted cases where charges of significant vote fraud have been disproved,
    such as the 1996 Dornan/Sanchez contest for the U.S. House of Representatives in Orange County,
    California. There are yet other cases, such as the 2000 election in St. Louis, Missouri, in which politicians
    have made great hay, but charges of widespread fraud have not been substantiated. A new Demos
    report on voter fraud in states offering Election Day Registration finds that despite the hundreds
    of news stories reporting on allegations of voter fraud in Wisconsin in the 2004 presidential election,
    practically no fraud has ever been proven. An intensive effort on the part of the federal government to
    uncover and prosecute voter fraud in Wisconsin resulted in only 14 indictments and five convictions
    or guilty pleas for illegal voting in an election in which over 3 million ballots were cast.16

  • Thank you, Rudi. If this was a real issue, Republicans would be filing lawsuits and demanding prosecutions. With very few exceptions, they aren’t.

  • DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

    Thanks Rudi for this list, thanks Shaun for this article. As I lay dying in hospital, hearing/seeing the 2000 elections on the cell, I mean, hospital roomate’s tv, about the nonsense that went on in Florida closing polls where black voters lived, putting up road blocks, diverting traffic so traffic was jammed … not able to get to polls on time. Saw it. Cant ‘un-see’ it. CNN has the film. Jeb Bush had the controls of the roads.

  • IndyGuy

    My state of Indiana has enacted some of these types of election laws. It’s bad enough the polls close here by 6PM, now there are voter ID laws which disenfranchise students and older voters. I had to take my mother in law to get a state ID because she cannot drive. What would happen if she didn’t have someone to take her? If you look at the new laws in Wisconsin they are clearly engineered to disenfranchise as may possible Democratic voters as possible–and right before a recall election challenge to Gov. Walker.

  • The Republicans have made no secret of the fact they want to deny people the right to vote. Paul Weyrich:

    Paul Weyrich, “father” of the right-wing movement and co-founder of the Heritage Foundation, Moral Majority and various other groups tells his flock that he doesn’t want people to vote. He complains that fellow Christians have “Goo-Goo Syndrome”: Good Government. Classic clip from 1980. This guy still gives weekly strategy sessions to Republicans nowadays. The entire dialog from the clip:

    “Now many of our Christians have what I call the goo-goo syndrome — good government. They want everybody to vote. I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people, they never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

    As the demographics change this becomes even more important to the Republicans.

  • rudi

    Let me say that I have one problem with the “motor voter laws.” I don’t think ANYONE should register and then vote on an election day. I fear this voter would be stupid and lazy. I want voters to research their politicians. Not register and make random selections. Let everyone vote, but think a little about their choices.

  • rudi

    Another point to the partisan Right: this was done before on your side for Reagan and W 41. Falwell and Robertson registered voters through fundamentalist churches.

  • Rudi:

    Let me say that I have one problem with the “motor voter laws.” I don’t think ANYONE should register and then vote on an election day. I fear this voter would be stupid and lazy.

    Yes, this would apply to FOX news viewers.

  • EEllis

    I believe the posted stats about voter fraud are more than a little misleading. They are giving stats about convictions when, even if discovered, the odds are that nothing happens. Now it has been said that any fraud most likely cancels out and I wouldn’t be surprised if that were true but there is something to be said for having confidence in the process. Maybe Repub lawmakers are just cynically trying to deter people who vote Dem but most of the people supporting voter ID and other laws do so not to disenfranchise but because they want to be sure and want more security in these elections. By ignoring what the voters want because some politicians may take advantage of it, people are doing a disservice to themselves and those that want more secure voting. By condemning any and all attempts to do anything about it does two things. People look like they do not care if fraud occurs and by attaching sinister motives to the general public I think they tend to get a negative reaction from those who honestly believe and get upset at being attacked because of their honest concerns. By the way fraud does happen.

    Judge Newcomer ruled that the Democratic campaign of William G. Stinson had stolen the election from Bruce S. Marks in North Philadelphia’s Second Senatorial District through an elaborate fraud in which hundreds of residents were encouraged to vote by absentee ballot even though they had no legal reason — like a physical disability or a scheduled trip outside the city — to do so.

    1994 in Philadelphia

  • superdestroyer

    I find it humorous that after reading all of the progressive justifications of not enforcing voter registration laws and in favor of having a voting system that is incapable of detecting voter fraud that the Chief of Staff of the Washington DC mayor has had to resign due to committing voter fraud. See

    If the Democrats will commit voter fraud in the bluest city in the U.S., then what kind of fraud will they commit if it means taking a seat away from a Republican.

    I guess that since Ms. Pringle has not been criminally convicted of voter fraud, that the fraud did not really occur.

  • Absalon

    “If the Democrats will commit voter fraud in the bluest city in the U.S., then what kind of fraud will they commit if it means taking a seat away from a Republican.”

    “the Democrats”
    “All Democrats”

    Look at this *thing* using his marketing language at every opportunity.

  • Allen


    Yes SD, we are laughing at you too.

  • superdestroyer


    People are laughing at you with the constant chant that Republicns are corrupt when they see Democratic politicians in cities like DC, Baltimore, Detroit, etc are arrested and convicted routinely for corruption.

    Of course, when the U.S. has a culture that what one Republican does appllies to all Republicans but what Democrats does not reflect on other Democrats, I can understand your confusion.

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