I'm a lifelong registered Democrat. So I reflexively think of the GOP when someone brings up the subject of voter suppression.
But a recent article by Greg Palast, an investigative journalist and author, expanded my perspective.
Democrats also suppress the right of eligible citizens to vote, I learned after reading a Palast article. Click Here
Most of the piece I linked above is about Georgia, a state run by Republicans. That part of the story didn't surprise me. The GOP lives to fight another day by creating new ways to make it more difficult to register and to vote in our country. Some call it voter suppression; others voter subtraction, or even theft of a sacred American right. click here
At the end of the Palast article, though, Michigan residents learned about the last day to register to vote in their state. The writer encouraged readers to go to his voter-support website, SaveMyVote2020.org, to determine whether officials had purged them from the voter rolls. The Save My Vote site also lets people register again.
Palast, a powerful story-teller, grabbed me by the throat with this warning: "The Palast team wants to thank Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib for contacting us with an offer to try to convince the Michigan Secretary of State to return 313,000 purged voters to the rolls. Good luck with that, Congresswoman. While Democrats have recently taken over that office, the Jim Crow systems put in place by the previous Secretary of State remain in force.
"There's a lesson in that: Don't expect a party to save your vote. You must save your own vote."
These are powerful words from a powerful writer. I wanted to learn more.
That's why I sent an email to the spokeswoman for the Democratic Secretary of State in Michigan. Jocelyn Benson took office on Jan. 1, 2019, replacing a Republican Secretary of State.
Aneta Kiersnowski, Benson's spokeswoman, wrote back, saying, "The subjects you are asking about are the topic of pending litigation, and we will not comment on them specifically at this time. Secretary Benson continues to maintain the state's qualified voter file in accordance with the National Voter Registration Act, which states the process by which voter registrations may be cancelled nationwide. Michigan uses the Social Security Master Death Index to remove voters who have died, and is a participant in the Electronic Registration Information Center, which tracks when voters move out of state."
The general response to my questions give me more questions for Secretary Benson and other Democratic election chiefs in the states.
For starters, the National Voter Registration Act was passed in 1993 by a Democratic Congress and signed by Bill Clinton, a Democratic president.
Is this law clear enough for state election officials to protect registered voters? Or is there leeway in interpretation, which lets states wipe away registered voters from the voter rolls? If so, what do you want the Congress and president to do next year if voters paint D.C. entirely blue? What legal language must be passed and signed into law to limit or eliminate voter-roll purges?
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