Originally written 12/6/2016
Thanks to everyone who read my last bit about taking Trump seriously and not literally. That was mainly about interpretation, but I wrote a bit in there about the danger his administration represents to voting rights for Americans. This threat is not “imminent”. It is already being carried out at the state level, now further emboldened by Trump’s accusations of voter fraud.
“Gerrymandering”, or the practice of drawing a congressional district in such a way as to ensure a majority of voters from one party or another, is a pretty common word these days in political circles, because the practice is pervasive. In North Carolina and Wisconsin, courts have found that the gerrymandering of certain districts was unconstitutional. Both cases are likely to go to the Supreme Court for a ruling, and their decision could set precedent on these matters indefinitely and have an effect on many cases yet to be heard.
How many cases? It will be many more than there were before. Their decision in Shelby County Vs Holder enabled state governments to attack voting rights at will. The spirit has always been willing in GOP-led states, but since their attacks are always based on specious claims of widespread in-person voter fraud which have always been easily discredited in the past, they’ve been especially emboldened by the President-elect’s attack on the fairness of our elections. As reported today in The Nation, GOP lawmakers in Michigan have filed a new voter-ID law, even before they have finished counting the votes from the last election.
“Donald Trump tweeted that millions had voted illegally and 48 hours later this bill popped up out of nowhere,” says Dan Korobkin, deputy legal director for the Michigan ACLU. “That’s either a giant coincidence or a very concerted effort to disenfranchise people at the state and local level based on lies.”
“millions” voted illegally in 2016 seems to be impacting Republican actions. “A multitude of candidates have raised the concerns about the integrity of elections,” said GOP Representative Lisa Lyons, who sponsored the bill. “We need to respond to those questions. We are going to make sure that we’re protecting you—all voters—and the integrity of the election.”Already, Trump’s discredited lie that
It’s worth noting that despite alleging concerns about the integrity of their elections while sponsoring voter ID laws, MI GOP lawmakers are suing to block Jill Stein’s attempt to have their Presdential vote recounted because, “she cited no evidence of fraud or mistake in the canvass of votes.” So the MI GOP believes that you need evidence to count votes again, but not to disenfranchise voters.
In addition to the ongoing battles in NC and WI, the Nation references a new voter ID law being proposed by newly elected NH Governor Chris Sununu, and Texas’ ongoing attempt to revive a voter ID law struck down as unconstitutional 10 years ago.
These voter ID laws are discriminatory, but even if you are not a minority, you should be opposed to them. According to the ACLU, they also hinder students, the elderly, and disabled voters, who are among the groups that may not have a valid driver’s license in state or other required ID.
Voter ID laws also cost you money. They represent a tax on every citizen for the right to vote, for which no American should have to pay.
Requiring voters to obtain an ID in order to vote is tantamount to a poll tax. Although some states issue IDs for free, the birth certificates, passports, or other documents required to obtain a government-issued ID cost money, and many Americans simply cannot afford to pay for them
In addition, states incur sizable costs when providing IDs to voters who do not have them. Given the financial strain many states already are experiencing, this is an unnecessary allocation of taxpayer dollars.
What’s at stake? Well, Republicans control 33 state legislatures right now. If they get to 34 they will have the amount they need to force a Constitutional convention in order to attempt to amend the Constitution. If they get to 38 they will be able to ratify amendments on their own. Then the GOP, which right now is under the spell and control of a con man, his white supremacist chief strategist, his Islamophobic conspiracy-minded National Security Adviser, and a host of opportunistic power brokers with the ethics of a crocodile and empathy to match will have the power to shift and shape our laws to their liking. It should go without saying that protecting voting rights is important. Right now, it’s crucial.
Please pay attention!
Thanks for reading – see you soon.