Wednesday, September 22

Voter suppression tactics for Bigots, a primer.

For nearly a hundred years the south flaunted the 14th ammendment, requiring the passage of the 24th ammendment abolishing various means southerners had continued to violate the rights of black people to vote including the poll tax. Well the Party of Lincoln Racsists, continue to find creative ways to suppress the vote. After this primer, we'll take a look at a one time bigoted thug who is now the chief justice (Ha fucking Ha) of the supreme court of the USA.

"There are individuals and officials who are actively trying to stop people from voting who they think will vote against their party and that nearly always means stopping black people from voting Democratic," said Mary Frances Berry, head of the U.S. Commission on Human Rights.

Vicky Beasley, a field officer for People for the American Way, listed some of the ways voters have been "discouraged" from voting.

"In elections in Baltimore in 2002 and in Georgia last year, black voters were sent fliers saying anyone who hadn't paid utility bills or had outstanding parking tickets or were behind on their rent would be arrested at polling stations. It happens in every election cycle," she said.

In a mayoral election in Philadelphia last year, people pretending to be plainclothes police officers stood outside some polling stations asking people to identify themselves. There have also been reports of mysterious people videotaping people waiting in line to vote in black neighborhoods.

Minority voters may be deterred from voting simply by election officials demanding to see drivers' licenses before handing them a ballot, according to Spencer Overton, who teaches law at George Washington University. The federal government does not require people to produce a photo identification unless they are first-time voters who registered by mail.

"African Americans are four to five times less likely than whites to have a photo ID," Overton said at a recent briefing on minority disenfranchisement.

Courtenay Strickland of the Americans Civil Liberties Union testified to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights last week that at a primary election in Florida last month, many people were wrongly turned away when they could not produce identification.

People often wonder why blacks vote against the republican party. Its simple really. The Republicans cowtow to racists, many of them are themselves racists.
People of color can smell a bigot a mile away, and we can also cypher the fancy code words you use to pander to the white southern bigot. It is exactly the southern strategy that cost you the black vote, the pandering to "states rights".

Lets take a look at young Billy Rehnquist, who as a young man was involved in voter suppression activies at a polling station in Phoenix in 1962. Ten years later, the notorious bigot Nixon, rewarded the Bills loyalty with a seat in the supreme court.

But underneath that robe hides the same little scamp, Billy Rehnquist, who used to run around the neighborhood terrorizing minority voters forty years ago.

Return with me now to those innocent days of yesteryear.

It is election day in November of 1962. We are in Phoenix, Arizona, where a young former Supreme Court clerk is doing his unlevel best to see that Barry Goldwater is elected president. The young man, William H. Rehnquist, Esq., has been director of “ballot security” operations for the local Republican Party since 1958. On this day he is the sole Republican official at a polling station in south Phoenix, which is overwhelmingly African-American, Hispanic, and Democratic.
Complaints of voter harassment are pouring in from precincts in south Phoenix. Republican challengers are said to be breaking the federal law which makes it a crime to “intimidate, threaten, or coerce . . . for the purpose of interfering with the right to vote.”

“The complaints we received alleged in various forms that the Republican challengers were aggressively challenging many voters without having a basis for that challenge . . .

“Based on my interviews with others, polling officials, and my fellow assistant U.S. attorneys, it was my opinion in 1962 that the challenging effort was designed to reduce the number of black and Hispanic voters by confrontation and intimidation . . .

“When we arrived, the situation was tense. At that precinct I saw William Rehnquist, who was serving as the only Republican challenger (emphasis added). The FBI agent and I both showed our identifications to those concerned, including Mr. Rehnquist . . . The complaints did involve Mr. Rehnquist’s conduct. Our arrival and the showing of our identifications had a quieting effect on the situation and after interviewing several witnesses, we left. Criminal prosecution was declined as a matter of prosecutorial discretion . . .

“I have read the testimony and letter supplied by Justice Designate William Rehnquist to this committee in 1971 . . . He describes his role in the early 1960s as trying to arbitrate disputes at polling places. That is not what Mr. Rehnquist was doing when I saw him on Election Day in 1962.

Oh and there is more, about a little thing called "Operation Eagle Eye". For his loyalty to the republican cause, he was rewarded by that notorious bigot Nixon, with an appointment to the supreme court. As we shall see, this episode turns full circle as another member of the SCOTUS, got her start, with a republican that did not wish to participate in "Operation Eagle Eye" How the worm turns.

Lito Pena is sure of his memory. Thirty-six years ago he, then a Democratic Party poll watcher, got into a shoving match with a Republican who had spent the opening hours of the 1964 election doing his damnedest to keep people from voting in south Phoenix.

"He was holding up minority voters because he knew they were going to vote Democratic," said Pena.

The guy called himself Bill. He knew the law and applied it with the precision of a swordsman. He sat at the table at the Bethune School, a polling place brimming with black citizens, and quizzed voters ad nauseam about where they were from, how long they'd lived there -- every question in the book. A passage of the Constitution was read and people who spoke broken English were ordered to interpret it to prove they had the language skills to vote.

By the time Pena arrived at Bethune, he said, the line to vote was four abreast and a block long. People were giving up and going home.

Pena told the guy to leave. They got into an argument. Shoving followed. Arizona politics can be raw.

Finally, Pena said, the guy raised a fist as if he was fixing to throw a punch.

"I said 'If that's what you want, I'll get someone to take you out of here' "

Others in Phoenix remember Operation Eagle Eye, too.

Charlie Stevens, then the head of the local Young Republicans, said he got a phone call from the same lawyer Pena remembered throwing out of Bethune School. The guy wanted to know why Charlie hadn't joined Operation Eagle Eye.

"I think they called them flying squads," Stevens said. "It was perfectly legal. The law at the time was that you had to be able to read English and interpret what you read."

But he didn't like the idea and he told Bill this.

"My parents were immigrants," Stevens said. They'd settled in Cleveland, Ohio, a pair of Greeks driven out of Turkey who arrived in the United States with broken English and a desire to be American. After their son went to law school and settled in Phoenix, he even Americanized the name. Charlie Tsoukalas became Charlie Stevens.

"I didn't think it was proper to challenge my dad or my mother to interpret the Constitution," Stevens said. "Even people who are born here have trouble interpreting the Constitution. Lawyers have trouble interpreting it."

The guy told Stevens that if he felt that way about it, then he could take a pass.

Operation Eagle Eye had a two-year run. Eventually, Arizona changed the laws that had allowed the kind of challenges that had devolved into bullying.

Pena went on to serve 30 years in the Arizona State Legislature. Stevens became a prosperous and well-regarded lawyer in Phoenix and helped Sandra Day O'Connor get her start in law.

The guy Pena remembers tossing out of Bethune School prospered, too. Bill Rehnquist, now better known as William H. Rehnquist, chief justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, presided yesterday over a case that centers on whether every vote for president was properly recorded in the state of Florida.

Those pesky nigras and wetbacked savages really should not have the right to vote, unless they cast a vote for the loyalty oath party. That we trust this bastard and his cronies to uphold the law of the land, is shamefull at best. But then I have these naive notions of what the constitution stands for and am only an armchair pundit, and not a towering legal mind. It sure is a good thing that the 14th ammendment rights of george bush took precedent over the 14th ammendment rights of pesky negroes in florida - a very good thing - (please don't send me into the corn field)