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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/3/14

Republicans Tearing Down America's Democracy With Massive Voter Suppression

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Message Michael Payne

To be fair, Democrats have actually been challenging these suppression laws in these rogue Republican-controlled states by taking the issue before the courts to try to reverse them; and, while that is commendable, it's a long and difficult process and far more needs to done. The national Democratic organization needs to pour funds into defeating these suppression efforts in the key states right now rather than saving them for the campaigns leading up to the November elections when it will be too late to reverse the damage that will already have been done.


So here's the strategy that Democrats should use to prevent this catastrophe from happening. They have to realize that they will never be able to match the monumental amounts of money that the GOP candidates will secure from billionaires such as the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson. So they need a completely different strategy to address voter suppression; one aimed directly at minorities.


This must entail an aggressive national movement to educate millions upon millions of Americans on the most pressing issues facing this country and warn them of these voter suppression tactics; to facilitate voter registration, to help them obtain appropriate voter ID's, and then use every means to get them to turn out en masse in the November elections.


What is the potential for substantially increasing this voter turnout, does it even exist and, if so, to what degree? The answer is that the potential is there and all that is needed is for the Democratic Party to tap into it. Here are the statistics to support that conclusion:


The current U.S. population is approximately 315 million people. Let's call this the gross eligibility of voters. Now from that number let's subtract the number of minors (76 million) to get a subtotal of 239 million adult Americans. Then let's subtract approximately 20 million felons and non-citizens, and we arrive at a net total of approximately 219 million eligible voters.


Now let's compare those 219 million eligible (not registered or likely) voters with the typical number that show up for a presidential election -- about 118 million. That amounts to no more than 49% of eligible voters who typically vote. When 51% or about 100 million Americans sit out the elections and don't vote, that's pathetic, that's ludicrous and a disgrace to this democracy. And that's exactly what Republicans want.


Want to know how bad America's voter turnout actually is, what a disgrace to this democracy it has become? Let's compare it to the turnout that is found in various other countries around the world. This article indicates that there are 58 other countries that have a far greater voter turnout than that of America. There is Uzbekistan , Turkmenistan , Venezuela , East Timor and even Iran; as well as 53 others. Unbelievable! America, the nation that likes to proclaim itself as the world's greatest democracy has a voter turnout that ranks below many third world countries.


The Democrats must target those millions of Hispanics and African Americans who want nothing to do with the GOP and its twisted ideology and convince them that their vote is crucial in defeating the devious plans of these agents of suppression. The same is true for the women of America who have been, in so many ways, belittled and insulted by these macho Republicans who think that they can control their bodies and their thinking. The women of this nation should turn out in record numbers to drive these tormentors out of office.


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