Your Rights Are On The Chopping Block

Today, the Supreme Court is hearing a case, Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, that could determine what becomes of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  The case could give state legislatures a green light to change voting laws, making it more difficult for some, notably non-whites and the poor, to vote.  Currently, some 43 states have more than 250 bills pending that would make it harder for Blacks, Hispanics, and the poor to vote in future elections.  The right to vote is the only thing, the single thing, that separates this nation from third-world dictatorships.  It is the only voice we have that carries any weight.  And now, they are trying to take that away from us.  Charles M. Blow’s column in Sunday’s Washington Post should be required reading for every Justice sitting on the Court today, and every lawmaker in Congress and state legislatures.

Voter Suppression Is Grand Larceny

We are watching another theft of power.

Charles BlowCharles M. Blow

By Charles M. Blow

Opinion Columnist

Feb. 28, 2021

In 1890, Mississippi became one of the first states in the country to call a constitutional convention for the express purpose of writing white supremacy into the DNA of the state.

At the time, a majority of the registered voters in the state were Black men.

The lone Black delegate to the convention, Isaiah Montgomery, participated in openly suppressing the voting eligibility of most of those Black men, in the hope that this would reduce the terror, intimidation and hostility that white supremacists aimed at Black people.

The committee on which he sat went even further. As he said at the convention:

“As a further precaution to secure unquestioned white supremacy the committee have fixed an arbitrary appointment of the state, which fixes the legislative branch of the government at 130 members and the senatorial branch at 45 members.” The majority of the seats in both branches were “from white constituencies.”

Speaking to the Black people he was disenfranchising, Montgomery said:

“I wish to tell them that the sacrifice has been made to restore confidence, the great missing link between the two races, to restore honesty and purity to the ballot-box and to confer the great boon of political liberty upon the Commonwealth of Mississippi.”

That sacrifice backfired horribly, as states across the South followed the Mississippi example, suppressing the Black vote, and Jim Crow reigned.

That same sort of language is being used today to prevent people from voting, because when it comes to voter suppression, ignoble intentions are always draped in noble language. Those who seek to impede others from voting, in some cases to strip them of the right, often say that they are doing so to ensure the sanctity, integrity or purity of the vote.

However, when the truth is laid bare, the defilement against which they rail is the voting power of the racial minority, the young — in their eyes, naïve and liberally indoctrinated — and the dyed-in-the-wool Democrats.

In early February, a Brennan Center for Justice report detailed:

“Thus far this year, thirty-three states have introduced, prefiled, or carried over 165 bills to restrict voting access. These proposals primarily seek to: (1) limit mail voting access; (2) impose stricter voter ID requirements; (3) slash voter registration opportunities; and (4) enable more aggressive voter roll purges. These bills are an unmistakable response to the unfounded and dangerous lies about fraud that followed the 2020 election.”

On Feb. 24, the center updated its account to reveal that “as of February 19, 2021, state lawmakers have carried over, prefiled, or introduced 253 bills with provisions that restrict voting access in 43 states.”

But it is the coded language that harkens to the post-Reconstruction era racism that strikes me.

In Georgia, which went for a Democrat for the first time since Bill Clinton in 1992 and just elected two Democratic senators — one Black and one Jewish — there have been a raft of proposed voter restrictions. As State Representative Barry Fleming, a Republican and chair of the newly formed Special Committee on Election Integrity, put it recently, according to The Washington Post, “Our due diligence in this legislature [is] to constantly update our laws to try to protect the sanctity of the vote.”

Kelly Loeffler, who lost her Senate bid in the state, has launched a voter organization because, as she said, “for too many in our state, the importance — and even the sanctity of their vote — is in question.” She continued, “That’s why we’re rolling up our sleeves to register conservative-leaning voters who have been overlooked, to regularly engage more communities, and to strengthen election integrity across our state.”

Senator Rick Scott and other Republicans on Feb. 25 introduced the Save Democracy Act in what they said was an effort to “restore confidence in our elections.”

Jessica Anderson of the conservative lobbying organization Heritage Action for America said of the legislation: “I applaud Senator Scott for putting forward common-sense, targeted reforms to help protect the integrity of our federal elections and the sanctity of the vote. The Save Democracy Act will protect against fraud and restore American’s confidence in our election systems while respecting the state’s sovereignty.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida is pushing a slate of restrictive voter laws that would make it harder for Democrats to win in the state. On his website, the announcement read this way: “Today, Governor Ron DeSantis proposed new measures to safeguard the sanctity of Florida elections. The Governor’s announcement reaffirms his commitment to the integrity of every vote and the importance of transparency in Florida elections.”

They can use all manner of euphemism to make it sound honorable, but it is not. This is an electoral fleecing in plain sight, one targeting people of color. We are watching another of history’s racist robberies. It’s grand larceny and, as usual, what is being stolen is power.

18 thoughts on “Your Rights Are On The Chopping Block

  1. I’ve taken part in 17 general elections and 17 local elections and a number of referenda, and in all that time I have never needed to queue, nor present an ID, nor have I had to register apart from the very first time way back in 1970.

    In Aotearoa New Zealand, every resident over the age of 18, whether or not they are a citizen can register and vote. Even if you are not on an electoral roll, you can register at a polling place on polling day when you go to vote. The electoral commission that manages and oversees voting in this country have made it so easy to enroll that you almost need to make an effort to avoid enrolling.

    We have a much higher voter turnout than the US, and despite of the ease of registration, there’s no evidence of voter fraud. I don’t see why fraud would be any more significant in the US. It seems to be a total red herring with one purpose in mind: to prevent sections of the community from have a say at election time.

    And on a related matter, why on earth should politicians play any part in deciding voting district boundaries? Gerrymandering seems to be part of the political structure in America. To maintain political advantage? Here the representation commission, not politicians, determine the number and boundaries of electorates (voting districts), and revise them after every 5-yearly census.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Like you, I have been lucky and lived in an area that I’ve never had to wait more than 5-10 minutes in line, but in the inner cities where the majority of the Blacks, Hispanics and poor live, it’s an entirely different story. During last year’s election, there were some who waited as long as 16 hours in line to vote! I have long said that both New Zealand and Australia have much more sane voter laws than our own. In truth, voter fraud on any large scale is a myth here, but one that is perpetuated by the Republican Party in order to explain their losses. You are so right about gerrymandering and re-drawing district maps … it should absolutely be done by independent, non-partisan groups, not by elected officials who tend to be hyper-partisan. But, this is the U.S. where people’s loyalty to party outweighs their ability to think with their brains. Sigh.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Hello Jill. The Republicans often shout and proclaim loudly how much they love the USA. They adore the founding fathers, and they salute the constitution as the greatest document written. Yet all they do is try to undo everything the founding fathers vison created and to deny ever right given in that constitution they claim to love. I am tired of the gaslighting done so openly since tRump. They use to try to hide what they were about. Now they say the quiet part loudly and proudly, figuring no one can stop them as they have rigged the system well. How can they be proud of that? How can they even desire the result from that? But they claim any not as corrupt and craving of power as they are are not patriots who should leave what they feel is their country. There are clearly far more of us than them, but how to win when it take 3/4 of us voting to match only 1/2 of their votes? Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Court has not issued a ruling, but from what I’ve read, they seem prepared to allow Arizona’s restrictive (read racist) voting laws. If they do, then it’s likely that many others will follow. By 2024, the only people allowed to vote will be wealthy white assholes. Forgive me … I’m angry.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. And they call themselves Americans?
    Apparently there are two Americas, or more. Most if the Americans I know want to make it easier for people to vote, not harder. As I said somewhere yesterday, if you have to lie, cheat and steal to win an election, you do not deserve to even be allowed to run.
    If these State bills get passed, Biden us going to have to pass a bill to take control of federal elections away from State governments, especially regarding who can vote, when and where they can vote, and taking away those laws that allow for gerrymandering.
    But what bothers me most, there are more than 7 states with Democrat government ments, aren’t there? How the hell are bills like that even being brought to the floor? Another reason to not believe in democracy, or democratic republicacy.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Actually, if people in this country call themselves “Americans”, it’s a misnomer, but I’ll save that topic for another day and time.

      I fear what this country is becoming, my friend. Far too many seem to believe that their skin colour or gender or religion make them somehow superior, and they have elected bigots to Congress who will destroy what this nation was once trying to be. I hope I don’t live to see it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. oklahoma is in on the voter suppression crap. We have 42 “bills” in house now, most of them to make sure that a vote from brown or black people is harder to complete. So, if ya don’t hear from me very often it’s because OKC state house is within an hour’s drive and the morons who serve are busily learning what a pain in the ass I, and others like me, can be.

    Liked by 5 people

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