Monday, September 13

Herbert on voter disenfanchisement, again

Bob Herbert NYT columnist is staying on top of efforts to supress the African American vote. Another in the never ending trail of outrageous behavior. One of these days we'll take a well deserved look at little Billy Renquists voter suppression history, but for now, some of the column.

The attempt to prevent blacks from voting has been a staple of America's political history, like long-winded speeches and balloons. I wrote three columns last month about a situation in Orlando, Fla., in which armed state police officers went into the homes of elderly black voters to question them as part of a so-called criminal investigation involving absentee ballots. This tactic sent a definite chill through voters who were old enough to remember the torment inflicted on Southern blacks who tried to vote in the 1950's and 60's.

A new study by the People for the American Way Foundation and the N.A.A.C.P. describes many recent examples of voter harassment and intimidation - the latest entries in the long and sordid history of disenfranchisement in the U.S. The study, called "The Long Shadow of Jim Crow," noted:

"Voter intimidation and suppression efforts have not been limited to a single party, but have in fact shifted over time as voting allegiances have shifted. In recent decades, African-American voters have largely been loyal to the Democratic Party, resulting in the prevalence of Republican efforts to suppress minority turnout."

In Texas, students at the predominantly black Prairie View A&M University were threatened with arrest by the local district attorney, a Republican, who suggested they were not eligible to vote in the county in which the school was located. This was nonsense. Students can vote in their college towns if they designate the campus as their home address. The whole point, of course, was intimidation. The threat of arrest is an excellent way of deterring someone from voting.

There are endless stories of attempts to discourage blacks from voting. Few get substantial publicity, so this is not seen as a big national problem. It deserves a brighter spotlight. When duly registered blacks are improperly challenged at the polls, or Florida tries to use a patently discriminatory voter felons list, or black votes are criminally tampered with or simply not counted at all - something should be done.

The number to call is 1-866-OUR VOTE.

All kinds of wonderful tactics in the war against democratic expression. Can't we just have our aristocracy all ready. The rich are afterall our betters and the sooner we come to terms with the divine rights of the upper class, we shall continue to toil in misery. Sorry outrage fatigue is like a punch in the solar plexus.