“Block the Vote!” This is the latest battle cry of the Republican Party as its members strive to make President Barack Obama a one-term president. The Republicans are attacking the very states, such as Florida, where President Obama has the majority vote. New voting laws have been enacted, perhaps the worst of which is closing the polls on Sundays, because there was an effective campaign for African American Church voters called “Souls to the Polls” where church members actually marched to the polls after Sunday service to vote.
The GOP strategy is to manufacture the big lie, by stating “voter fraud” is a major problem and the reason for new voter legislation; that is simply not true. Nationwide, since October 2002, only 86 persons have been convicted of election fraud while 191,130,871 ballots have been cast, so clearly that is not the true motivation for creating these new restrictions.
The GOP’s solution is to mandate every voter have a state issued photo ID. To date, 14 states, including Georgia, have approved such radical legislation to discourage voter participation.
Approximately 34 other states intend to pass similar restrictive voter identification policies. These are really an update of the old poll tax laws popular during segregation. God help us if we go all the way back to those Jim Crow tactics used to deter voters. Let us not forget the “Grandfather Clause”, which stated that a man was only allowed to vote if his grandfather had voted. If your grandfather was a slave, naturally, that ruled you out. Also, requiring voters; to pass a written exam, accurately count the number of jellybeans in a jar or pay a poll tax to vote? Even more devastating, people were lynched for registering to vote or actually voting and many lost their jobs and homes because they wanted to exercise their right to vote.
In its press release dated October 3, 2011, the Brennan Center for Justice states these new voting restrictions may affect five million voters. This could disenfranchise African Americans, the elderly, Latinos and the poor, all of whom are less likely to have the necessary documentation to obtain a photo ID. In addition, college photo ID will no longer be accepted for voting.
Georgia has passed a compulsory voter ID law despite former Secretary of State Cathy Cox’s comment that she cannot recall one documented case of voter fraud during her ten years as an elected official.
The GOP’s myopic focus and refusal to work with President Obama, despite the unemployment crisis and the national debt during these critical times is criminal. It seems their attitude is getting rid of President Obama and the country be damned. The strength of a democracy is depending upon the full participation of its citizenry in the electoral process.
Wake up America!