Monday, November 5, 2012

Republican minority voting suppression tactics will hopefully end after 2012...

Further to recent revelations about forcing voters to show government issued photo ID in certain Republican-controlled U.S. states this election, let's look at another Republican tactic in this campaign: cancelling or cutting down on early voting, taking away opportunities to vote ahead of election day.

In Florida, where the race is currently neck and neck and every vote counts, in the last election, voters had 14 days to cast ballots before voting day. Not so this year. The Republican governor and legislature has seen fit to reduce those voting days to 8. See more below:

"With complaints streaming in from angry voters, the Florida Democratic Party and the League of Women Voters asked Gov. Rick Scott and state election officials on Thursday to extend early voting. They argued that some voters were leaving without voting because they did not have all day to wait in line. The Monroe County election supervisor, Harry Sawyer, also asked Mr. Scott to use his emergency powers to extend early voting. But the governor and state elections officials turned down the request, saying that the process was running smoothly and that the move was unnecessary. Last year, Mr. Scott and the Republican-controlled Legislature pushed through a measure to cut early voting from 14 days to 8 days and to cancel voting on the final Sunday before Election Day."

It had been an electoral tradition in Florida for blacks in various Florida churches to conduct "Souls to the Polls" trips to the early voting booths on the Sunday before elections as a way to promote voter turnout. This year, that tradition is cancelled by the Republicans.

How is this making voting accessible or encouraging people to vote? By cancelling opportunities they've always had to vote early? The agenda by the Republicans here is pretty clear.

I read some commentary recently that 2012 will be the last Republican year in which they attempt to suppress or crush the votes of Latinos, blacks and other minorities. Instead of doing what the Canadian Conservatives have done by reaching out to ethnic communities and tap into and grow support for the party, the largely white Republican party under the control of the racist Tea Party movement this election has taken a different tact: try to suppress minority votes, take away opportunities for them to vote and hope that the white vote will carry the day for Mitt Romney.

By 2016, the Latino vote will have grown so large in the U.S. that any party that ignores it will simply never win. The Republicans will be reaching out to them, not trying to shut down their voting stations. These tactics by the Republicans this year are so odious and are reason alone for me to hope for a just defeat for their presidential candidate. I don't believe for a second that Romney will do anything much different than Obama on the debt except irresponsibly lower taxes on the richest of Americans and create even more debt for that country. Obama will tackle the debt by bringing in tax reform that asks the richest to pay a bit more, while working hard for the middle class which is the engine of any economic recovery. Obama will govern to get 100% of America moving again, Romney was pretty clear he's only concerned about what he called the "53%".

I'll be hoping and praying that despite Republican attempts to suppress their opponents, all Americans who want to vote will still make their way to the polls and the democratic voice of America will reject these despicable voter suppression tactics.

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