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Too Fat To Vote

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Greg Palast       (Page 3 of 3 pages) Become a premium member to see this article and all articles as one long page.     Permalink

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Answer: Florida lied. The state used a loophole in the Voting Rights Act, claiming the purge was not a change in rules, just a clerical clean-up of the voting lists.

What's the solution to the new trickery? Not, as Justice Roberts suggests, to eliminate Section 5, but to expand it.

Indeed, the reach of the Voting Rights Act was massively expanded by presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. Reagan!

As a result of their changes, states designated officially racist include the Confederate states of ... California, Arizona, New York, New Mexico, South Dakota and Alaska. Alaska? You betcha!

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And for good reason. Take California -- under a Republican Secretary of State, Bruce McPherson, 42 percent of voter registration forms were rejected, an overwhelming amount of those Hispanic, Arab-American and Asian. Jim Crow, it seems, became a surfer dude.

In 2004, in McKinley County, New Mexico, only one in 10 voters cast a ballot for President -- at least, that's what the machines said. In fact, the voting machines simply disappeared the vote -- almost all cast by Navajo Natives. Unfortunately McKinley was, by that time, "bailed out" of the Voting Rights Act, which any state can do by proving it no longer discriminates. (Apparently there's not much you have to prove.)

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And those lines I filmed of black voters standing for hours and white voters waltzing in for a ballot without a wait? That was in Ohio, with arguably the most racially bent voting system in America. (When the black voters finally made it to the voting station, I discovered they'd been given "absentee" ballots, subject to challenge, rather than the regular ballots given to the white voters.)

The horror show in Ohio does not absolve the racist voting systems of Florida, it merely calls for another expansion of the pre-clearance list to reflect a new reality. Jim Crow voting games are more widespread and far more sophisticated today than in 2000 when I first uncovered the Florida black-out.

That's because Jim Crow is now Dr James Crow, database analyst, a hired gun who knows it's easier to win elections by blocking voters rather than winning their votes. Identifying and challenging "suspect" voters is far more effective in chasing away blacks than burning crosses.

In 2012, cyber-guru Karl Rove created a massive voter profiling system called Data Trust. Rove stated then that, for example, "Even a small drop in the share of black voters would wipe out [Obama's] winning margin in North Carolina. If [black voters'] share of turnout drops just one point in North Carolina, Mr Obama's winning margin there is wiped out two and a half times over."

A little purge goes a long way. Add in a requirement of voter IDs with photos (which Indiana used to bar about 72,000 black voters this year), and voting games, not voters, will pick our government.

The solution is not for the Supreme Court to let Jim Crow ride again through the Southland, but another expansion of pre-clearance scrutiny to Ohio and those states that need a little Reconstruction.

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Greg Palast's investigative reports appear in Rolling Stone, the Guardian and on BBC Television. His latest film, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, on how Donald Trump stole the 2016 election, is available on Amazon. Palast is Patron of the Trinity (more...)

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