Thursday, July 28, 2011

Voter Suppression Heading Your Way

On Sunday, July 24 I wrote about voter suppression, specifically as it relates to denial of voting rights for ex-felons. I also said that I would revisit the numerous state bills currently under consideration that are intended to make it harder to vote. 

Unfortunately they are not hard to find. One excellent summary comes from Sarah Jaffe who captures the intent of these state bills in her article, 11 States Trying Really Hard to Keep Poor, Black, and Student Voters From Voting. Her list is as follows: Kansas, Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio, Missouri, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, Texas, Maine, and Rhode Island

First, Jaffe cautions, this list is far from complete; it is only the 11 worst offenders in an even longer list. Second, these states are fairly or deeply red. No surprise, except for Rhode Island. Jaffe provides some background on how that came about.

Wisconsin, home of the great progressive, Bob La Follette, continues to disappoint. Despite a long blue tradition, Republicans in the state legislature keep pushing an anti-middle class agenda. 

Now, despite the strong and encouraging push-back from unions, teachers, and working families, and despite his own dismal approval ratings, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is aggressively pursuing the only tactic that can work; make it harder for your enemies to vote you out of office. Read Meredith Clark's analysis on this at Seven Ways Scott Walker and the GOP are Still Trying to Screw Wisconsin's Poor, Working Class, and Just About Everyone Else. 

Wisconsin has just passed a voter ID law. Most of us in the middle class might not object to laws requiring a photo ID in order to vote. We do not appreciate how and why such laws can be relatively onerous and expensive for society's poor, elderly, handicapped or otherwise marginalized. Americans have a hard time turning out to vote under the best of circumstances, which is why Wisconsin's restrictive voting law matters, and why Republicans push for such legislation in the first place; they know exactly what the impact will be. 

So now, just to show us what a mean-spirited prick he really is, Governor Walker is working on a plan to shut down multiple DMV offices around the state. Not only does this come right after requiring voters to get official state ID's if they want to vote, it appears the closures are concentrated in Democratic strongholds.

What kind of Kafkaesque crap is that?     
I hope they recall his sorry ass.

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