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A Philosophy of Voter Suppression

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Message Stephen Crockett
A Philosophy of Voter Suppression

The most alarming thing I learned about American politics in the past decade is that one powerful group of political leaders is dedicated to keeping American citizens from voting. This group is the leadership of the modern Republican Party. This fact is carefully hidden from the average republican voter who clearly does not support this approach to politics.

My first real clue about the opposition to a real, working democratic process by the powerbrokers of the Republican Party occurred during the 2000 Presidential Election Florida Recount effort. The national Republican Spin Machine went into overdrive to prevent an honest count of the ballots. Eventually, the Republicans had to use their overwhelming majority on the US Supreme Court to stop a statewide manual recount ordered by the Florida Supreme Court. Ironically, the Bush campaign had for weeks been demanding a statewide recount instead of the few counties requested by the Gore campaign.

Long after the election, a consortium of major US newspapers did a recount and discovered that Al Gore did win the vote although he lost the vote count. This assault on American Democracy has resulted in policies that made the wealthiest of the wealthy much wealthier, curbed civil liberties for all Americans, created huge government budget deficits, cut government services for most middle-class or poor Americans, gave us a disastrous war in Iraq and put a culture of corruption in charge of our federal government. American Democracy and all citizens lost in Florida when Gore unjustly lost the vote count.

The great investigative journalist Greg Palast discovered that then Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris had used her office to deny voting rights to tens of thousands of voters by unjustly accusing them of being former felons in the months before the 2000 General Election. She should have been placed on public trial for her actions. However because of her position as co-Chair of the Bush campaign in Florida while acting as chief election official in the state, she was rewarded with a safe seat in Congress.

Harris does fit in well with the rest of the Republicans in Congress. Her ambition pushed her to seek a seat in the US Senate. Florida voters are sounding rejecting her campaign. If Florida Democracy is permitted to work she will be retired by the voters. It is an open question if she will ever be tried in a court of law for her role in denying voting rights or proper vote counting in 2000. My sincere hope is that the rule of law will eventually be applied in her case and others were government officials thwarted the functioning of our democratic processes.

Voter suppression tactics were expanded in 2002 and 2004 by Republican leaders in almost every state. Laws were passed to make voting more difficult and vote recounts almost impossible. Voting machine, produced by private companies closely tied to the Republicans, were required to be used in most state by newly passed laws. These machines are subject to tampering and usually provide no paper trail.
In Maryland, Republicans with the support of Republican Governor Bob Ehrlich, who had earlier vetoed the law, ran to the courts to block early voting. Early voting makes it possible for working class people to get to the polls. It greatly increases vote turn-out. Republicans in Maryland want to make voting difficult for working Marylanders.

Voter ID laws that are biased against the poor (Democrats) were pushed into law in places like Georgia and Ohio. During this election, Republican poll watchers are prepared to challenge Democratic voters in places like Ohio where ID's like US passports, military ID's, etc. will not be accepted at the polls. Republicans want to control who gets to vote instead of developing policies that will win the allegiance of a majority of citizens. This approach to voting has been used along with crooked vote counts to keep tyrants and dictators in power all over the world for generations.

It shames the Republican Party that under the leadership of the Bush Republicans they have resorted to similar tactics. It comes as no surprise to informed observers that leaders who endorse imprisonment without trial, torture and lying about reasons for launching a war would not feel shame about rigging the vote. Average Republicans would be shamed but not leaders like Bush, Cheney, Rove, Delay, Frist, Taft, Lott and Hastert.

Our nation deserves a clean, honest vote. All citizens should be allowed to vote. We need a Constitutional Amendment to guarantee our right to have our votes honestly counted. This November, all Americans including Republicans should vote out of office all Bush Republicans to preserve American Democracy. If my Democratic Party ever goes down the same path, they should also be voted out of office.

Written by Stephen Crockett (co-host of Democratic Talk Radio ). Mail: P.O. Box 283, Earleville, Maryland 21919. Email: . Phone: 443-907-2367.

Feel free to publish at no charge without prior approval.


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Stephen Crockett is co-host of Democratic Talk Radio and author of the Democratic Voices opinion column.
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