The War Against Voters

As noted in earlier blog posts–especially my review of Keeping Down the Black Vote originally published in Z magazine (May, 2009)–the Republican efforts to suppress voting by the wrong kind of voters are continuing

Even with the election of Barack Obama, the threat to votng rights remains very real and very menacing. Some 25 states have passed restrictive "voter ID" laws that require the presentation of drivers’ licenses or other official documentation that the poor, people of color, and senior citizens are unlikely to posses.

This latest step by arch-reactionary Rick Perry of Texas, as reported in the always-indispensable Progressive Populist published biweekly in the Austin area, reflects the desperation of Republic moves to keep the electorate as small (and as white and as wealthy) as possible:

"VETO THWARTS TYPO’D VOTERS. Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) vetoed a bill (6/19) that would have allowed the secretary of state to allow correction of obvious typographical errors by voter registration clerks when matching voter registrations to the state drivers license file. Last year 70,000 applications were denied because of clerical errors, and Rep. Scott Hochberg (D-Houston)’s bill, which passed the House 144-1 and he Senate 31-0, was designed to clear up honest errors, but some Republicans have resisted making it easier to register to vote and Perry is among that number. Since he vetoed the bill after the Legislature adjourned, the Legislature cannot override it. Ironically, Karl-Thomas Musselman of BurntOrangeReport.com noted (7/3), Perry’s veto message contains a clerical error, as it misspells "identifying" as "indentifying," causing some to wonder if a veto message containing a typographical error is valid"

While large-scale Republican efforts to suppress the vote go back to former Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s "Operation Eagle Eye" in Phoenix to intimidate minority voters, rarely have GOP lawbreakers been punished. I fact, US proescutors were fired by the Bush Admnistration for refusing to engage in voter suppression or to falsely prosecute Democrats for such crimes. So it was most gratifying to see this item, again from the The Progressive Populist Aug. 1

"GOP ACTIVIST CONVICTED OF VOTE FRAUD. Republicans spent the better part of last fall raising fears of "voter registration fraud," and the GOP and the right-wing media machine continue to raise the specter of voter registration shenanigans that undermine the integrity of US elections, Michael McDunnah of Project Vote noted (6/18). In June someone finally was convicted of voter registration fraud — and it turns out the fraud was conducted for, and paid by, the Republican Party!

The Los Angeles Times reported (6/16) that Mark Anthony Jacoby, owner of Young Political Majors, pled guilty in Los Angeles to lying on his own voter registration form in order to collect petitions, a misdemeanor. Brad Friedman of BradBlog.com noted (6/17) that the Times failed to report that Jacoby and Young Political Majors were hired by the California Republican Party to head up voter registration efforts in the state. Jacoby was arrested for voter registration fraud last October, even as the GOP was pushing the ACORN "voter fraud" hoax and Fox News and other news outlets were pushing insinuations about voter fraud by ACORN, Democrats and Obama.

Friedman noted that in the cases involving ACORN, workers were accused of defrauding ACORN and the offenders were turned in to authorities by ACORN officials. There are no allegations of voter fraud having been committed by, or at the behest of, ACORN, Friedman noted.

According to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office, two felony counts of perjury and one felony count of voter registration fraud were dismissed in a plea deal with Jacoby, who was sentenced to three years probation and 30 days of community service. Jacoby’s company was alleged to have changed thousands of registrations from Democratic to Republican, preventing those voters from voting in the California Democratic primary. Officials also are reportedly investigating YPM activities in Florida and Massachusetts.

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