The Myth of GOP Voter Suppression

The voter turnout for Democrat primaries and caucuses has dropped 32% since 2008 while Republicans have seen a 70% increase. Under Barack Obama Democrats have lost over nine hundred state legislature seats, twelve governors, sixty-nine house seats, and thirteen Senate seats. Is this the effect of eight years of failed left-wing policies? Yes, unless you’re speaking to a Democrat – then it’s “voter suppression.”

Elizabeth Macnamara, President of the League of Women Voters says:

“Today we are experiencing an unprecedented attack on voting rights. This assault on voters is sweeping across the country, state by state, and is on the greatest self-inflicted to our democracy – our way of governing – in our lifetimes. These new laws threaten to silence the voices of those least heard and rarely listened to in this country – the poor, the elderly, racial and ethnic minorities, the young and the differently abled. These new laws require photo ID and or proof of citizenship in order to vote…”

That’s right. Republican governors are putting forth bills that would require one to produce a photo i.d. or proof of citizenship in order to cast a vote.

From the LWV website:

In 2011 alone we have seen an exponential increase in the number of new voter suppression laws being implemented at the state level:

  • Eight states (AL, KY, MS, RI, SC, TN, TX and WI) have passed new restrictive photo ID laws.
  • Three states (AL, KS and TX) passed laws requiring proof of citizenship as a prerequisite to voting.
  • In addition, we could see new suppression laws passed in Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

These laws have added new bricks to the wall of obstacles some face on their way to the ballot box. These laws are confusing, time consuming and cost-prohibitive for many citizens.

Likewise, I can personally attest to the “wall of obstacles” we all all face on the way to the liquor store. Or when opening a bank account, signing a lease, or boarding an airplane.

Just this past summer the Hillary Clinton campaign filed a lawsuit challenging Wisconsin’s new voter-ID laws claiming that voter’s rights have been enduring a vicious attack at the hands of Republican governor Scott Walker. By twisting the perception of laws that are enacted to guard states from actual voter fraud, Clinton is counting on the reactionary impulses of an ill-informed electorate. Poll monitoring becomes “invasive”. ID requirements that prevent illegal immigrants from affecting the outcome of state and federal elections become evidence of “voter suppression.”

To quote White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest:

“President Barack Obama has been quite disappointed at the amount of energy and effort that’s been expended by Republicans to make it harder for eligible Americans to cast a vote. That’s in part why you’ve seen the Department of Justice go to such great lengths to try to protect the voting rights of veterans and Spanish speakers and elderly Americans who may not have driver’s licenses — and yes, even African-Americans.”  

Earnest has left out the fact that this past autumn, California Democrat governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that would automatically register people to vote when they are issued a driver’s license or state ID.

Brown’s proposal shifts voter registration from the individual to the government, expunging the responsibility required of individuals to take part in our sacrosanct election process while eroding the distinctions between state and federal roles in election management. Census reports show that a large majority of people who are not registered to vote have actively chosen not to register citing a lack of interest in politics – not because they are disenfranchised.

This highlights one of the great differences between Republicans and Democrats: Republicans believe in the individual; in personal responsibility. Democrats advocate the growth of the administrative state. Where Republicans seek to limit the involvement of the government in our affairs, the Democrats call for more government programs, initiatives and mandates.

But there is a much more significant problem with Governor Brown’s proposal: Half of the licenses issued in the state of California are given to illegal immigrants and at the current rate over two million licenses will be issued over the next two years. That’s nearly the population of Chicago.

Automatic registering might look good on paper but consider that research done by the journal Electoral Studies found that in 2008 & 2010 14% of “non-citizens” were able to vote in state and Presidential elections and that 80% of those votes went to Democrats. In the 2008 state senate race, Al Franken won his Senate seat in Minnesota by just over three hundred votes – or 0.65% of the “non-citizen” vote. As well, during the general election of 2008, North Carolina has subsequently been found to have tipped to Obama due in large part to non-citizens voting.

Among the tiny percentage of voters who said they did not vote because of “registration problems,” there was also almost no racial differential. For instance, the percentage of whites who claimed they did not vote because of a registration problem was 3.2 percent, compared to 3.3 percent of blacks and only 2.8 percent of Hispanics. There are also no discernable impact with regards to income. All income levels had the same minute percentage of people who failed to vote citing “difficulty” in registering.

Hillary Clinton says that “what is happening is a sweeping effort to disempower and disenfranchise people of color, poor people, and young people from one end of our country to the other.” She knows that most people are unaware that from 1888 to 1908, Southern Democrats legalized actual disenfranchisement by enacting the infamous Jim Crow laws by amended state constitutions and passing legislation to impose a slew of voting restrictions, including literacy tests, poll taxes, property-ownership requirements, and moral character tests. Indeed, it was the Democrats who poured enormous amounts of political capital into destroying the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Hillary Clinton surely recalls that her husband’s mentor, former Ku Klux Klan member J. William Fulbright, was a member of the ‘Dixiecrats’, a segregationist wing of the Democratic party responsible for filibustering the Civil Rights Act of 1957. Clinton no doubt understands that President Lyndon B. Johnson, another Democrat, spent his entire career in Congress voting against every civil rights bill that was proposed. When Johnson finally did decide to support civil rights legislation by signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965 he did it for purely political reasons. As presidential historian Ronald Kessler notes, when asked why the Civil Rights Bill had recently become so important to him, President Johnson said: “I’ll have them niggers voting Democratic for two hundred years.”

Ask yourself which political party seems more duplicitous. Is it truly more unreasonable to require an ID to cast a ballot or to automatically register millions of illegal immigrants and non-citizens to vote in U.S. elections?

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