As election fever hots up in the US of A the Republican attempt at vote manipulation has begun in earnest.
For those of us this side of the pond, American politics may not seem to be of that much importance or interest to we Brits, dealing as we are with our own financial pressures and revelations of serious corruption in the wake of the independant Hillsborough report. For those who have any interest whatsoever in freedom or fairness, however, it does and should concern you. At this very moment a concerted effort is being made to deny basic voting rights to scores of American citizens, primarily because they fall into the groups most likely to vote Democrat. This insidious push to topple Obama by unscrupulous means has been well documented, however still has the power to shock and awe.
There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax…My job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
Romney has not apologised for these comments, although he has conceded they were not elegantly stated, but the worrying element is not purely that this man could potentially be the next leader of the ‘free world’. What is of greater concern are the tactics that have been employed in order to ensure that these “victims”, who by his own admission he cares not a jot for, are being blocked from their inalienable right to vote by introducing a new voter ID system that is intended to prevent them.
In a surprisingly guileless admission in June of this year, Mike Turzai (the Pennsylvania state House Republican leader) stated:
“Pro-Second Amendment? The Castle Doctrine, it’s done. First pro-life legislation – abortion facility regulations – in 22 years, done. Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.”
Feel free to draw your own conclusions by watching the video of said statement here, although in all honesty the intention is not really in dispute.
Essentially the new voter ID rules mean that those who do not have a driving license or, hilariously, a firearms license, are all but exempt from voting. This is allegedly to prevent voter fraud, but the real fraud is in the targeting of this policy as it disenfranchises the core Democrat voters – namely people who are poor, elderly, young, disabled, and/or non-white. Sarah Silverman, who was the spokeswoman for the Jewish Council for Education and Research’s ‘The Great Schlep‘ at the last election has again starred in an entertaining and educational short film detailing the underhand tactics of this latest attempt at winning by obstruction rather than via support – watch it here. Unfortunately there is little anyone can do about this new system as it is now in place and will be the one used for the November elections, however what the citizens of America certainly can do is ensure they have secured the right ID to make sure their vote will count, and with any luck block the election of Romney and his undemocratic party once more.
These are not bipartisan efforts. They are initiated by Republicans, passed by Republicans, and signed into law by Republicans. The State House Majority Leader in PA asserted that these voter restrictions would allow Mitt Romney to win the state.
The voters most likely to be burdened by these new voting restrictions are Democrats. Consider which voters don’t have ID. Among seniors and young voters, 18% don’t have valid ID. Among African Americans, 25% don’t have valid ID.
Restrictions on voting, like poll taxes and “literacy” tests, have a long history. They are used by one party to prevent supporters of another party from voting.
If someone were trying to steal an election, in person voter fraud, where a voter pretends to be someone they are not at the polls, is the last method anyone would chose. Absentee ballot stuffing is much easier. But more Republicans vote by absentee ballot. So no new restrictions on absentee voting.
The Brennan Center has estimated that as many as 3.2 million citizens could find it harder to vote because of new voter ID laws.