Many of you know I have been a field operative in about 40 states and often spend Election Day in some of the biggest cities in our country. I have seen these efforts up close and they fall into four categories:
1.Misinformation – mail, soundtracks, flyers and posters that tell people the wrong time date or place to vote or lying about requirements to vote
The classic example was MD where inner cities voters were told if you knew you owed taxes or had unpaid tickets you had to pay them first! Not true needless to say.
2. Slow down– challenge voters to produce ID’s or information needed to vote greater than required by law, increase the number of challenges of voters to slow down the process and increase the lines which will make people wait longer to vote and adversely effect folks who have time constrictions.
3. Direct Confrontation– verbal or physical confrontation outside of polling places yelling soundtracks folks dressed in camo or klan robes or racist tee shirts or holding posters sometimes holding weapons trying to intimidate voters not to vote. We have seen this in many ways and in many places. My worst case was in Texas in 96 runoff election; where a guy on the back of a pickup with an American Flag, shotgun and sigh that said “niggers don’t you dare vote here!” The cops would not do anything about it and took us 6 hours to get a court order to get him removed. Or a woman yelling only at black elderly voters as they walked into polls “you got your papers, you got your papers, you can’t vote if you don’t got your papers” this went on until a very old woman shakes her walker at the lady and said no but I got my granddaughter and she just got out of jail and she’s gonea kick your honky ass if you don’t shut the fuck up, her granddaughter all tatted up and with lots of gold on got out of her car and said that woman bothering you – the woman left and the grandmother started laughing turning to her granddaughter and said I know you never went to jail honey but I grew up in Georgia and no one’s stopping me from voting ever!
This type of suppression effort has some potential for violence. If so that will also slow down and disrupt the process as well as scare folks from coming out.
4. Government control of process using it in a partisan manner to tilt advantage to one side or the other. In all fairness this has been done by both sides! The number of machines at each poll the conduct of officials conducting the elections the use of sheriffs or police to enforce laws and the laws passed by the lawmakers regarding registration, AB or early vote and requirements for IDs are all examples of that. I understand from two republicans that the McMahon campaign has done suppression training last Saturday if that is true watch out New Haven,Hartford, Bpt & and other cities better have riot police ready because citizens are not going to let folks intimidate or hassle them outside polls!!
Two thoughts – it should be against the law to vote fraudulently an people who do and people who engage it efforts to conspire to aid that effort should go to jail! Their fraud is a crime against every voter. But likewise anyone who makes an organized effort to deny an citizen of our country their right to vote in any way should also go to jail. Our Government to a great extent is based on the consent of the governed. That consent is based on having a voice at the polls they view as a fair processIf the system stops voters from voting or there is violence at the polls it will be hard to put the genie of trust in the process back in the bottle and I am afraid that that some of the voter suppression efforts might lead to that, please dear God we will have a fair open election election with a very large turnout everywhere in the country and a process that make folks feel the democratic system works regardless of weather their candidates win or lose. A big fair vote makes for a strong country!