Monday, October 22, 2012

Vote Suppression

Perhaps you have seen the news of a young political operative in Virginia named Colin Small who was caught dumping completed voter registration forms in a dumpster. You can see his picture, and the story, here. He looks like a surly, sullen little prick, doesn't he? But who knows? Maybe he was just having a bad day. After all, when you work for Republicans and are caught in a criminal act, and then find your mug plastered on national media, you wouldn't feel like smiling either.

Virginia's Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli will not investigate Small's attempted destruction of voter registration forms because the State Board of Elections doesn't recommend one. Virginia Registrar Brandi Lilly says, “There’s no way to tell by party when people fill out these forms, what party they’re affiliated with, so I don’t think there’s any political motivation.”

Ferchristssake, Brandi, give your brain a chance. How can you know there was no political motivation if you don't bother to even investigate? Note we are not talking prosecution; that is difficult decision and prosecutors will often decide to not file charges because a provable case is just not there. Fine, but you are not even going to investigate? I can think of many reasons why a politically motivated and partisan operative, which Small is, would dump the forms. He may have identified the registrants as black, or they appeared to be students, or they were young women. And if that doesn't make sense to you, you haven't been paying attention to Republican voter suppression in Virginia and elsewhere.

I can understand the Republican party doesn't want any more of this kind of news. All the same, the word now is that the local sheriff's office has indeed arrested Small and is considering prosecution. I'm guessing that sheriff is going to hear from Republicans much higher up than Colin Small, and they won't be asking if he is registered to vote.

I have a big problem with all of this, aside from the likelihood, despite Ms. Lilly's inane observation, that Small's action is not isolated. And that is the casual way the media is playing this. That may change of course, as events unfold. But I am not counting on it. Recall, in contrast, the orgy that concern trolls had over ACORN, especially after Republicans, including those in Congress, beat them over the head with it. Republicans wanted ACORN to be a story. Never mind that ACORN followed the letter of the law and reported the registration irregularities, as required. That is a shameful story I should revisit sometime.

Here's a picture of Small's page. He looks a little happier in this one. 

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