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GOP Voter Suppression Continues

Memo Pad

GOP Voter Suppression Continues


It really is no secret that Republicans want to make it harder for people to vote. Some are even upfront about it.

In 2011, Mike Bennett, then a Republican senator from Bradenton, Fla., told his colleagues during a debate on an elections bill that voting shouldn’t be easy: “The [African] people in the desert, who literally walk two and three hundred miles so they can have the opportunity to do what we do, and we want to make it more convenient?” (His Africa comments were rated a “Pants on Fire” falsehood by PolitiFact.)

Well, Bennett got his wish. In 2012, Florida voters resembled those in the Third World. In a disastrous election that caused President Barack Obama to remark that, “we have to fix that,” people in Miami-Dade County waited up to seven hours to vote during a contracted early-voting period prescribed by that 2011 election bill that became law. On Election Day, some voters were in line past midnight. And get this, Bennett is the newly elected supervisor of elections in Manatee County and has since defended the law.

Then there’s Charlie Webster, who was Maine’s GOP chairman when he made the paranoid charge last year that the state should repeal Maine’s same-day registration because it’s “how the Democrats have managed to steal elections.” Webster’s deluded assertion to the Portland Press Herald was that Maine’s same-day voter registration allowed Democrats to bus in “Job Corps people,” referring to a federal job training program for low-income young people. “[Democrats] move ’em around to wherever they have a tough seat,” Webster claimed.

Equal frankness came from New Hampshire Republican lawmaker William O’Brien, who, as state House Speaker last year, pushed for a law to end the state’s same-day voter registration and prohibit most college students from using their school addresses to vote. He was caught on tape telling a Tea Party group that the change was needed because young people end up “voting as a liberal.” The effort failed.

Since the midterm elections of 2010, almost every state where Republicans took political control made a concerted push to make voting harder for groups whose demographics lean Democratic, such as minorities and college students. Republicans publicly claim the rules are to prevent voter fraud — a problem that essentially does not exist for in-person voting. But Jim Greer, the disgraced and indicted former Florida Republican Party chairman, admitted that Florida’s early voting limits were to tamp down Democratic votes, not due to any problem of voter fraud.

According to the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonprofit group specializing in election issues, no fewer than 25 new laws and two executive actions were passed in 19 states over the last two years to make it more difficult for eligible Americans to vote. Courts came to the rescue by blocking many of the most restrictive laws. But these aggressive state efforts to reduce voter registration, contract early voting and raise burdensome voter ID requirements show the states can’t be trusted. For the integrity of America’s democratic process, these efforts warrant a national response.

America needs to modernize and standardize elections by passing a new “motor voter”-type law. That law passed in 1993 to expand the franchise by telling states to make voter registration available in DMV and social services offices.

Currently in the U.S. Congress, the Voter Empowerment Act is a 21st-century fix to our election mess. Among other advances, the VEA would automate voter registration in a way that could bring more than 50 million additional eligible voters onto the rolls, while saving millions of dollars and reducing opportunities for fraud, mistakes and manipulation. Voters would stay registered even if they moved, since registration updates could be instantaneous.

But with Republicans committed to blocking efforts to make voting easier, the VEA is DOA. Unless Democrats regain control of the House of Representatives and retain the Senate, there is no reason to hope that our elections will improve.

(You can respond to Robyn’s column at blumner@sptimes.com.)

(c) 2012 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Photo credit: AP/J. Pat Carter, File


  1. KnowDTruth44 December 11, 2012

    Wow, democracy GOP-Taliban style. How is this not a form of fascism from Republicans. God, GOP party are truly evil devils and those who really believe and want to live free must stay vigilant to fight for our rights…. including the right to vote..

    1. Ed December 12, 2012

      Well, yes. Of course they are fascists. Always have been since 1917

  2. Jim Lou December 12, 2012

    You will always have problems when you have the state system. Voting is determined by states and their legislatures. It comes down to whomever controls power in a particular state.

    A stupid electorate is just that and get what they deserve.

  3. rl December 12, 2012

    All voting laws should be in accordance with Federal Laws. All voting laws should be the same from state to state. It is well known and has been for at least my voting liffe time (6 decades) that the right wing does not even want to try to convince and win. They wish to disqualify and win.

  4. nobsartist December 12, 2012

    First off, bennet needs his ass kicked. Then we need new federal guidelines. States should have no say in voting rules.

  5. coliwabl December 12, 2012

    The GOP and their Tea Party extremists are the most vile group to inflict themselves on the USA in since the McCarthy era. They should be viewed as a “clear and present danger” to the USA and dealt with accordingly. They have infiltrated the halls of congress, the supreme court, state county and town government. Their goal is to wipe out anything that is for the good of the people, i.e., social security, medicare, and more recently, health care. There are some that should be tried for treason and/or crimes against humanity. Among these individuals are Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh, George Bush Jr, etc.

    They were stopped again in 2012 and must be further removed in 2014.

    1. William Michael January 22, 2013

      You hit the nail on the head and just to add they make money off of wars we do not need and want everything for the military industrial complex; anything for the people is a budget buster. They want war forever!

  6. ste December 12, 2012


    1. Ed December 12, 2012

      You guys already do.

      1. Bill December 13, 2012


        Thanks for the comment. Right wingers seem to forget that they have call Democrats – bleeding heart liberals. socialist (though I believe most of them would be hard pressed to explain what socialism is), leftists, etc. I guess ste thinks writing in CAPITALS makes the statement more forceful.

    2. WhutHeSaid December 12, 2012

      Seeing how you redneck, bigoted yahoos actually suck up the most money in government benefits from the LIBERAL states, I’d say you should give the name to yourself. Losing an election can be fixed with enough common sense, but stupid is forever.

    3. oldtack December 12, 2012

      Do you ever check what you write before posting? Apparently not.
      But then again – South Carolina? Myrtle Beach? That could explain you lack of proper usage in sentence structure. Is it just you -or is it the whole State?

      1. oldtack December 12, 2012

        Oh my. I failed to check before posting didn’t I. But then again you probably would not have caught it would you.

        Did you ever run a survey on the where the bulk of welfare assistance goes? Do you know what States receive the largest amount of welfare assistance? Do you know where those States are located? Do you really want to face reality?

      2. S-3 December 12, 2012

        As a South Carolinian, I am embarrassed to know clearly blind/dying/retarded people like “ste” – people like him are the reason we will have nothing for our current and future citizens in this dirty, polluted, and backward-as-fuck shitstain of a state. People like him are the reason we need violent revolt and anarchy in the US to solve simple problems like this – that of stupidity!!

        Th people of South Carolina are begging for free healthcare and benefits, yet don’t want to pay the dues necessary to have these blessings. This is why states like ours suck ass, people!

  7. Richie T December 12, 2012

    They’re at it again.
    SHREDDING the Constitution

    The 26 Amendment;

    1. The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.

    2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

    Old English
    “Abridge” = “LIMIT”
    Shall not be denied “OR LIMITED”

    Congress DOES have the Constitutional authority to stop this B#

    They can claim it’s State jurisdiction as much as they want, if you screw with the Constitution it’s Federal

    They keep claiming the Democrats are ignoring it it
    They’re destroying it.

    The problem is, because the people that are getting screwed by the Republicans the most, keep putting them back in office. it won’t happen.
    Look up the numbers, There are more people in the “Red”” states on welfare, then in the “Blue” Sates, and they want to destroy it.

    Article V
    “The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate”.

    “OR”, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States
    The states can add amendments to the Constitution without Congress having anything to do with it.

    They set it up that way for a reason. They knew Congress would eventually get out of control, we can reign them in.

    Congress term limits

    Federal NOT State jurisdiction over Voter ID Requirements. Federal Elections should be Federal.

    We HAVE to deal with Corporations owning this country, there’s a couple of ways to do it, which just need to figure which one would be the most effective, and that they couldn’t weasel their way around.

    1. katie anderson December 12, 2012

      Congressional trem linits are a red herring at best and destructive in worse cases.

      Democracy wouldn’t have taken a trouncing and there wouldn’t be an ALEC template right to work (for less benefits, less job security, less pay) bill shoved down Michigan’s throat completely out of the blue, in a single day, but for a term limit.

  8. howa4x December 12, 2012

    Teh GOP has looked at the demographics and realized that people who identify themselves as republican make up only 28% of the electorate nationally. Regionally this number changes in the red states, but that isn’t where the electoral college votes are. Calif, NY and other blue states dominate the numbers. This is the reason the republicans(the party of god) need to supress the rights of people to vote. They tried it and Obama still won even with all the tricks they pulled. The attorney general should be investigating this as a violation of the voting rights act and hold governors, and secrataries of state accountable. This is the voter fraud that republicans always talk about. This is shamefull. I can see it in the south where people of color were historically denied but Ohio? It is so blantant too. The republicans actually have come out and said this is the only way they can win. I guess they realize their ideas are very unpopular and have to resort to these measures rather than win hearts and minds.

  9. daniel bostdorf December 12, 2012

    Just a reminder too all.

    One of the greatest GOP thefts of an election occurred 12 years ago today….
    On Dec. 12, 2000, a divided U.S. Supreme Court halted the presidential recount in Florida, effectively making Republican George W. Bush the winner.

    Talk about institutionalized GOP voter suppression at the GOP controlled Supreme Court level!

    Subsequent studies show that Gore probably would have won if recount had been allowed to go forward.

    This planet would have been so much better off with Al Gore.

    Instead….8 years of fascism, war, and destroyed economy with Bush Jr league as president.

    Blumner states it best:

    “According to the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonprofit group specializing in election issues, no fewer than 25 new laws and two executive actions were passed in 19 states over the last two years to make it more difficult for eligible Americans to vote. Courts came to the rescue by blocking many of the most restrictive laws. But these aggressive state efforts to reduce voter registration, contract early voting and raise burdensome voter ID requirements show the states can’t be trusted. For the integrity of America’s democratic process, these efforts warrant a national response.”

  10. JOAQUIM December 12, 2012

    How can you be civil to a republican?

  11. JOAQUIM December 12, 2012

    We need to get rid of the electoral college. Its purpose was simply to change the will of the “mob”. And do like other european countries, POPULAR VOTE. Don’t you think it’s shity to say a presendent won the election by electoral votes, BUT not the popular vote (people’s choice). Besides this system degradates and corrupts the election system. The electoral law also needs to be rewriten. Right now only milionaires can run for political office. You see the result!

    1. johninPCFL December 12, 2012

      That requires a Constitutional amendment. Just have the states, one at a time, change their electoral rules so that they commit by ratio the same as the popular vote in their state. That would get you 90% of the way there witout the decades an amendment would require.

  12. Jack Wormer December 12, 2012

    Voter-suppression…….the GOP’s Sissyphian Addiction!

  13. oldtack December 12, 2012

    Glad to know South Carolina still has some sane citizens. Served a short time in the Military with some boys from Myrtle Beach – Vann, Land and Richardson – hope their offspring aren’t like ste.

  14. onedonewong December 14, 2012

    Hmmm over 10 million illegals voted and 0 American troops in Afghanistan and its Republicans trying to steal elections???

  15. William Michael January 22, 2013

    We must be on guard to preserve all our liberties. Big brother watches everyone. They can do whatever they please and claim they are fighting terror. We work all our lives and want to grow old with dignity; when it is our time to collect on the contract they say there are too many takers; yet they took from us all our lives. They have plenty of money for the Empire we do not need; the people should be first not this exceptionalism bullshit. Go back to the Monroe doctrine. We are stretched too thin all over the world; it will eventually snap like a rubber band stretched too far!


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