Working Hard To Take Away Our Vote

For a while over the last two years, our attention was focused on voting rights.  After the false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election, states – particularly predominantly Republican states – used the claims as an excuse to pass restrictive laws, allegedly to make elections more secure, but in reality, to disenfranchise the sort of voters who are more likely to vote for Democrats.  These groups include single working moms, Blacks & Hispanics, college students, and low-income families.

I’ve never heard of Robert Spindell before, and unless you live in the state of Wisconsin, you probably never have, either.  Spindell is a longtime GOP activist in Wisconsin, and also the chairman of the GOP’s 4th congressional district in Milwaukee.  He was one of the fake electors who claimed that Donald Trump won in Wisconsin, and he faces three lawsuits for his role in that attempted fraud.  But none of that is why he crossed my radar last night.  Here is what he said that brought him to my attention …

“In the City of Milwaukee, with the 4th Congressional District Republican Party working very closely with the RPW, RNC, Republican Assembly & Senate Campaign Committees, Statewide Campaigns and RPMC in the Black and Hispanic areas, we can be especially proud of the City of Milwaukee (80.2% Dem Vote) casting 37,000 less votes than cast in the 2018 election with the major reduction happening in the overwhelming Black and Hispanic areas.”

Bragging about disenfranchising some 37,000 Black and Hispanic voters!!!  WTF???

The information was verified by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel …

“Milwaukee had the biggest proportional decline of any municipality in the county… Some 17% fewer ballots were cast in the city than in 2018, a drop off bigger than other communities in the county.”

Spindell was so proud that he wanted to take sole credit for the decline in voters, claiming it was a result of his “well thought out multi-faceted plan,” that included …

“Biting Black Radio Negative Commercials run last few weeks of the election cycle straight at Dem Candidates, and a substantial & very effective Republican Coordinated Election Integrity program resulting with lots of Republican paid Election Judges & trained Observers & extremely significant continued Court Litigation.”

One conservative commentator, James Wigderson, says that …

“It’s as if the cruelty is the point. If Spindell had been in charge of elections during Jim Crow, he would’ve bragged about literacy tests and poll taxes suppressing the Black vote.”

But the fact is that what Spindell said was just saying what most Republicans were thinking but not saying. Voter suppression has rather fallen onto the back burner of our attention of late, but believe me, friends, it’s still very much alive and well.  In my own state, a new voter suppression bill was signed into law just last month that will make it harder for the disabled and the elderly to vote.  We have no excuse absentee voting, but they are limiting ballot drop boxes to one per county, and demanding a photo ID even from absentee voters, something that has never been required in all my years of voting in this state.  Until now, we’ve only had to provide a signature for comparison purposes and either a social security or driver’s license number to request a ballot.

And if 37,000 people were disenfranchised in Milwaukee alone, then …

Granted, mid-term elections typically draw fewer voters than presidential elections, but still … this one was more relevant than most mid-terms and more people understood the stakes, so … what did happen to those 46 million voters?  Suppressive voter laws, apathy, or something else?

Spindell isn’t the only one working hard to keep voters away from the polls.  The conservative Heritage Foundation based in Washington, D.C., spent more than $5 million in 2021 lobbying for laws to block voting rights.  The foundation has a two-year strategy to spend $24 million in just eight states to press Republican-controlled legislatures to impose strict restrictions on voting, including limits on mail-in voting and early voting days.

Numerous states have either passed or are pursuing even more restrictive measures to disenfranchise certain groups, mainly the poor, Blacks, Hispanics, and college students.  There are many members of Congress, primarily found in the Republican Party, who merely pretend to bend to the will of the people while working to replace democracy with autocracy.  The aforementioned Spindell is but one, and a minor player at that, as compared to the likes of Kevin McCarthy, Jim Jordan and others who wield some very real power.  Some of those even sit on the highest court in the land, the U.S. Supreme Court.

Last year, Congress had an opportunity to pass significant voting rights legislation, the Freedom to Vote Act and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, but both were blocked in the Senate last January.  I would say it’s time to try again, but with McCarthy et al having taken over control of the House and being genuinely afraid of losing at least 1/3 of their seats if every person 18 and older could vote, it would be a waste of time and money.  Any improvement in voting rights for the moment will have to come at the state level.

Meanwhile, let’s keep this at the forefront of our minds, let’s not miss any opportunity to let our elected officials at all levels know that this is important to us!  The right to vote was better protected 50 years ago than it is today!  And as for Mr. Spindell … the world really does not need people like him.

17 thoughts on “Working Hard To Take Away Our Vote

  1. Pingback: Working Hard To Take Away Our Vote — Filosofa’s Word | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

  2. Jill, thanks for the post. Our biggest voting problem has never been fraud, while a little bit does happen. Our voting problem is not enough people voting. Full stop. It amazes me how other countries dwarf our voting percentages through various means.

    As for the fraud part, the 2020 presidential vote was the most secure election in our history says Christopher Krebs, the head of election security, who was fired by Trump because his truth was at odds with Trump’s Big Lie. Krebs noted this election had a better electronic audit trail to match up with the ballots than any election before it.

    Yet, many Republicans seized on Trump’s BS, as his Attorney General William Barr called it to his face and he, of course, was fired. They used Trump’s BS to limit voting further as. that was the best chance for them to win. Some of it is Jim Crow-like. But, this voter suppression strategy predates Trump. The Voter ID bills that were ALEC cookie cutter based were passed in some Republican led states. Many were ruled unconstitutional and should have been.

    By the way, a question that is not asked enough is why are so many people fired by Donald Trump? Whether it is these two or inspector generals or people who chose not to lie for him under oath, he has a Queen of Hearts habit of saying “off with their heads.” In fact, I alternate between a little girl pitching a hissy fit when her dress gets stuck on head and Alice’s Queen of Hearts when I think of Trump having yet another melt down.

    Keith

    If people tout this, one question is what are you afraid of? What will this law accomplish? Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are spot on in your first paragraph! Voter apathy, combined with disenfranchisement, leads to far too few people using their voices in November. I’ve long thought mandatory voting is a good idea, but I’ve got a feeling it would lead to mass chaos here, where people do not wish to be told they must do something (think masks, vaccines, etc.)

      You and I both know the 2020 election was the most secure, and most likely at least half the people claiming to believe the Big Lie know the truth, but since they couldn’t win fair and square, they have to do something to justify their continued existence in the political sphere, so they claim there was massive voter fraud. Did you see Mick Canning’s comment … in the UK they are doing the same, even though they found only 4 cases of voter fraud in the last election! They must’ve taken a page out of our book!

      To answer your question, because he is by nature an autocrat, and autocrats fire (or imprison or execute, as in Putin’s case) those who disagree with them. He never quite got the hang of this democracy thing.

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  3. Maybe I suggested things the wrong way for Americans, but my post of Oct. 15, 2022 went to the heart of this matter just 3 weeks before your election. (IF THEY CAN’T VOTE, I CAN’T VOTE, SO YOU CAN’T VOTE EITHER!) I thought a show of solidarity would be a good thing, but no one else seemed to. So possibly 46,000,000 were disenfranchised. That seems to me a significant number.

    Liked by 1 person

      • As I said, maybe my suggestion wouldn’t have worked for Americans, but there are nations where it might have.
        My concern was for the people who were first disenfranchised by their own government, then further disenfranchised by other voters. Do you know how it feels to have something unfairly or even illegally taken away from you while other people do not lose what you did? It feels very lonely and forgotten about. The people who needed to stand up for the disenfranchised did not do that! You all went on as if nothing had changed. But something had changed for up to 46,000,000 people. You suffered somewhat for losing their votes if you are a Democrat. They lost by losing their right to vote while you got to use yours. That is pitiful!

        Liked by 1 person

        • We should all be raising hell over it. The only reason the maga bunch love it is because it is done to give their own party an unfair advantage … if the tables were turned and it was white people being kept away from the polls, they’d be rioting!

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  4. And, surprise, surprise, they’re at it over here, too. They’ve just brought in a law requiring voter photo i.d. in future, although at the last general election there were only four reported cases of voter fraud out of the thirty two million cast.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Because the Republicans know, that they can’t win using the RIGHT methods, that’s why, they’re, manipulating the systems, so that the votes would, work in their, favors, that just showed that, the Republican Party had, fallen to, debauchery, and that, the party will, eventually, lose, everything that they are, aiming for…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly. They know full well that in a free and fair election, one where every person over 18 voted, they would lose, for they have no platform, no real goals other than to obstruct, destroy, and retaliate against Democrats for slights real or imagined. So … they must find a way to keep the people who would most likely vote for Democrats away from the polls by making it harder for them to vote.

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