Stealing Voter’s Rights …

Early voting has begun in some states, one of which is Georgia.  Georgia … part of the deep south that still hasn’t quite gotten over the Civil War … typically votes republican.  This election, however, might be different, but not if state officials can prevent it, and they are doing their best to try to.

Let’s start with Gwinnett County, where nearly 10% of mail-in ballots have been … simply thrown in the trash.  According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution …

The county rejected 390 absentee ballots through Sunday, which represents 8.5 percent of all mailed ballots received in Gwinnett so far, according to state figures. Across Georgia, less than 2 percent of absentee ballots have been rejected. Gwinnett accounts for about 37 percent of all rejected ballots in Georgia.

Problems with rejected ballots are a “red flag” for racial minorities in Gwinnett, where more than 60 percent of residents are Latino, black or Asian, said Jerry Gonzalez, executive director for the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials. It wasn’t clear Monday exactly how many of the rejected ballots came from voters who are minorities.

And then there is the registration problem.  Some 53,000 voter registrations have been “put on hold” because of the state’s ‘exact match’ protocol.  Under this ‘exact match’ protocol, the transposition of a single letter or number, deletion or addition of a hyphen or apostrophe, the accidental entry of an extra character or space, and the use of a familiar name like ‘Tom’ instead of ‘Thomas’ will cause a no match result.

Before I go any further, it is important to note just who is overseeing the election process in Georgia.  That would be Brian Kemp, the current Georgia Secretary of State, who just happens to also be the republican candidate for Governor, running against democrat Stacey Abrams.  Does anybody see a problem with this?  This is not the first time that Kemp has come under the microscope.

  • In 2015, Kemp’s office erroneously distributed the Social Security numbers and dates of birth of registered Georgia voters. This tends to make people leery of registering to vote.
  • During the 2016 election, Kemp was the only state official to reject help from the Department of Homeland Security to guard against Russian interference.
  • From 2012 to 2018, Kemp’s office cancelled more than 1.4 million voter registrations.

You may remember Kemp from a post I wrote in August about his campaign ad …

Last week, civil rights groups including the Georgia NAACP filed a joint lawsuit against Kemp alleging the exact-match policy, which was signed into law last year, has been “shown to disproportionately and negatively impact the ability of voting-eligible African-American, Latino and Asian-American applicants to register to vote.”Louisville Georgia seniorsAnd then there was the incident yesterday in Louisville, Georgia.  A non-partisan group, Black Voters Matter, was preparing to take a group of about 40 senior citizens from their senior center to the polling place on the day early voting began. The seniors were ecstatic, eager to cast their votes.  But before the bus could pull out of the parking lot, they were ordered off the bus.  It seems that somebody had called the county commissioner and complained that the bus should not be taking voters to the polls.

LaTosha Brown, Black Voters Matter’s other co-founder, said there was nothing illegal about the group’s activity. The organization is non-partisan and the bus doesn’t endorse any particular candidate. She called it a clear-cut case of “voter intimidation.”

But it isn’t only Georgia that is trying to make certain only lily-white citizens vote.  Take a look at North Dakota …north dakota voter suppression.pngNorth Dakota is the only state in the U.S. without voter registration. Instead, voters have historically been able to verify their identity at a polling station by presenting a subset of many different types of identification showing a date of birth and home address, as documented by the U.S. District Court for North Dakota. These forms of identification included driver’s licenses (in- or out-of-state), a U.S. passport, a tribal ID, a non-driver’s license ID, a federal agency ID, a student ID, a military ID, a recent utility bill, and the like.

Then beginning in 2013 a series of stricter laws were passed, and the end result was that only three forms of ID would be accepted, a valid unexpired driver’s license, a tribal ID, or a state-issued ID card.  But the kicker was that said ID must contain a ‘residential address’, in other words a street address.  A large proportion of Native Americans living in North Dakota live in rural areas where there are no street addresses, only P.O. boxes.

In 2016, a group of seven Native American voters sued the State of North Dakota and, long story short, the case ended up on the docket of the U.S. Supreme Court.  Earlier this month, the Court upheld the North Dakota law, effectively disenfranchising thousands of Native Americans in North Dakota.  Justices Ginsburg and Kagan dissented, saying “the risk of disfranchisement is large”.  Some 70,000 North Dakota residents will be unable to vote in the 2018 mid-terms simply because they do not have a street address.

The 2018 mid-term elections are the most important mid-terms of our lifetime, but the states are playing games … costly games that may actually turn our entire election process into nothing more than a sham.

24 thoughts on “Stealing Voter’s Rights …

  1. I understand your frustration about miscounts. Up here in MN, we’ve had elections go to the courts almost every cycle since Mark Ritchie was SOS!
    Whenever they slow walk the count in St Louis County, we count on the results to be flipped.
    However, in our case it’s almost always a Den win due to overvotes, or in Al Franken’s case, “finding” 1300 ballots in the trunk of an election official that pushed him over the top.
    May the process be fair and each legit vote counted.
    Take care!

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. We’ve been following this. I found it interesting to read today that Trump is already anticipating a lot of legal battles after the election. Makes me wonder if he’s talking about this sort of stuff. I sure hope Stacey Abrams wins that election!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Scare tactics, I suspect. He also said he anticipated great violence if the GOP lost control of the House. I think it is his attempt to lure every possible voter to the polls with threats of violence, lawsuits and chaos. I’m with you … I have my fingers crossed for Ms. Abrams!

      Liked by 1 person

    • What we have is no longer a democracy. Well, in truth it was never a pure democracy, but rather a democratic republic. But it is no longer even that. It is now an oligarchical plutocracy. Rule by a few of the wealthiest. And on our way to becoming a theocracy, as well. I don’t recognize the country anymore … not the government nor the people. I often think I will be glad to depart this world. 😥

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  5. Jill, dating back to the end of the 1990s according to former Republican strategist Steve Schmidt, the Koch Brothers looked at demographic projections and saw s huge problem for the GOP, the white majority will eventually become a plurality. As a result, a long term plan has been developed consisting of trying to woo new swaths of voting groups to restricting the voting rights of others to limiting the influx of non-white immigrants. This plan includes through ALEC a plan to gerrymander, take control of state houses, introduce voter restrictions, and control public universities where possible.

    But it goes beyond that with an eye toward calling a constitutional convention to go back to states appointing senators. I would like to steer people to a word I have been thinking of lately as a long term goal of this effort – Apartheid. Tell me if you think this idea is off base. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, Keith, your idea is not at all off-base and is one that has lingered in the back of my mind for a while … ever since Trayvon Martin, Freddie Gray and the rest who were unarmed, killed by white cops who went free and clear. The more I look around, the more I smell the racism … yes, smell … it leaves a bad odour. I feel us sliding backward in terms of both minority rights AND women’s rights. One can point the finger at Trump, and rightly so, but one must also look to those who voted for him and continue to support him despite his lies, despite his vulgarity, despite his abominable choices and blatant disregard for the people of this nation. I have long believed, as I told another reader a few minutes ago, that Trump’s election was a push-back for having 8 years of an African-American president. So no, you are not off base, but … I wish you were.

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      • Jill, if John McCain won, would we have had Trump? If McCain had picked a better running mate, he might have. Picking Palin brought his age into question. It is push back as we cannot forget how Trump launched himself into the political arena – continually attacking Obama’s birth in the US. As a former GOPer, I have felt that the rise of Trump is the Phoenix from the ashes of Fox and the GOP’s spin-doctoring and even disinformation. Both sides lie, but it is not even close to a normal distribution. Trump saw this and knew he was made for this – a man who won’t be held into account is he lies. As a former Democrat, I believe Trump ran as a GOP candidate as he saw the stars aligning.

        I have been saying for years over half of the GOP is voting against their economic interests. Then along comes Trump, who took advantage of the disenfranchisement and blamed someone else. A friend pushes back on me when I say we need better immigration laws, but feels I am too soft on illegals. He said they are committing a crime. My push back on him is so are the folks who purposefully hire them to keep costs down. If you punish the illegals, then put a few employers in jail – that will stop it. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

        • If McCain had chosen a better running mate, I think he would have had a better chance, although I don’t know even so if he would have been able to beat Trump in the primaries, for Trump came on strong … too strong to suit me, but the pack ate it up. And I had a horrid thought, on reading your comment … what if McCain had won WITH Sarah P as a running mate? We would now be saying President Palin! Then again … perhaps it wouldn’t be any worse than what we have.

          My pushback against people like your friend is usually that people in this country aren’t even willing to do the jobs the immigrants take.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Disenfranchisement is so unamerican, or it should be! That the Supreme Court upheld the North Dakota law against the Native Americans is surely an ominous sign of things to come. One person one vote should mean every single person, not certain chosen ones. It would seem that we need to worry about inside election interference as much as foreign interference. Thank-you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am most concerned that the Supreme Court upheld this abomination … and Kavanaugh wasn’t even in on this vote, but he surely would have voted to uphold it also. To an extent, it is the belief that states have the right to control certain things. But to me, this violates federal law, is unconstitutional. Where, I ask myself, are we headed? I don’t much like the answer.

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    • You got that right, my friend! For many years, living in rural Virginia, we had only a P.O. Box, but it never kept us from voting! That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard, and for the Supreme Court to endorse it is a complete abomination!

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  7. It’s disgusting that the Supreme Court should disenfranchise Native Americans from the vote. Since when would it be the business of the County Commissioner who takes people to the polls, a public service like that should be applauded. The Republicans are doing all the can to ensure a win by foul means and any politician who gets in like that shouldn’t be given an easy ride in post.
    Cwtch

    Liked by 3 people

    • It is beyond disgusting … I’m not sure there is even a single word to describe what is happening in the U.S., but I see us losing ground, sliding toward our past every day. The most frustrating thing is the rather large contingent who see no problem with it, who are willing to accept it as ‘normal’, as ‘acceptable’. Those are the ones allowing it to happen. They live in their little jelly-filled worlds where everything works itself out for the best in the long run and … why worry? They say that those like me are tilting at windmills. What could possibly go wrong, eh? Keith made a reference to Apartheid and I have had the same thought more than once. You Brits should have fought harder to keep us from gaining our independence, for obviously it went to our heads. Sigh.
      Cwtch

      Liked by 1 person

  8. It sounds like it is already a sham. I’m sure the above examples are just the tip of the iceberg, leaving “cold” voters to be frozen. Gerrymandering, voter registration, whatever other tactics are used to supppress eligible voters, the US is the laughingstock of all the world’s democracies.
    How this ever came to pass, I do not know. But one voter–one vote certainly does not apply. And why are mail-in votes already being looked at? They shouldn’t even be opened until voting day. No, you do not have a democracy, but whatever you have can only be described in one word–RIGGED.

    Liked by 3 people

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