Good Guys FIGHTING BACK On Voter Suppression. (But Lord There Is So Much Of It.)
The weekend brought new developments in a couple of stories of heinous vote-suppression fuckery we covered last week. In North Dakota, Native American voting rights activists have announced plans to ensure people can vote even after a Supreme Court decision upholding a law aimed at reducing Native American voting, with elders with laptops to the rescue. And in Georgia, where the state's "exact match" voter registration law has led Secretary of State Brian Kemp to hold over 53,000 voter registration forms, state and national voting-rights groups have sued Kemp to demand the registrations be processed. (Those affected by Kemp's hold can legally vote -- with proper ID -- but Kemp's action could cause confusion and delays at the polls.)
North Dakota: Tech To The Rescue
In North Dakota, you may recall, the Supreme Court last week upheld a state Voter-ID law that seemed (because it was) perfectly designed to dampen Democratic turnout. You see, Democrat Heidi Heitkamp won election -- by fewer than 3,000 votes -- to the US Senate in 2012 with huge support from Native American voters. Naturally enough, Republicans in the state legislature then passed a 2013 law tightening voter ID restrictions, claiming there was HUGE potential for voting fraud. (As far as actual fraud, only nine potential cases were identified in the 2012 vote.)
Legislators banned alternatives for those without ID, including affidavits signed under penalty of perjury or tribal officials testifying that a voter was a local resident. They then removed college and military cards from the list of acceptable documents and passed another law requiring that a person's ID contain a current residential address.
Jim Silrum, North Dakota's deputy secretary of state, a proponent of the efforts to tighten voter rules, said at the time the measure was drafted after "concerned citizens" and state representatives raised fears about the possibility of voter fraud.
Yes, military ID cards. Love the troops, but don't let them vote because what if they're secretly Mexican? We suppose some of those "concerned citizens" may have included people who were as dumb as shitcanned Gateway Pundit writer Lucian Wintrich, who assumed Native people were actually illegal immigrants, because brown. The resulting laws were bad news for a bunch of Native voters in North Dakota, because in some reservation communities, people just plain don't have street addresses -- there aren't street numbers even, and everyone just gets their mail at the Post Office. Not surprisingly, the law specifically bans PO boxes as an acceptable address on ID cards. The Supreme Court decision was a nice little gift to Republicans, just in time for the midterms.
But now, even though there's no further recourse in the courts, Native American activists have a cunning plan to harness the internet and mapping technology to ensure anyone who wants to vote, can.
Tribal officials will stand outside polling stations on Nov. 6 with laptops and access to rural addressing software and a shared database of voter names. North Dakota is the only state that does not require voter registration, meaning eligible voters can generally show up at the polls and cast a ballot so long as they have proper identification.
O.J. Semans, chief executive of Four Directions, a national Native American voting rights group, said the strategy was "legally watertight" and necessary to counter the "devastating" court ruling.
"Even if it doesn't change the overall result, it's about fighting back," Semans said. "We have to fight back."
North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger wouldn't respond directly to WaPo, but he did grumble at Four Directions that their plan could "cause confusion" among voters. We assume he means Native voters might mistakenly think they had rights a white man was bound to respect or something. WaPo also notes Jaeger had complained to Donald Trump's fraudulent voting commission (before it was disbanded) that North Dakota's show-up-and-vote system was just a big barrel of fraud waiting to happen, because it was too easy for people to exercise their rights:
"While some individuals argue that there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud, there are others who argue the exact opposite," Jaeger wrote. "Regardless, the truth is that under the current forms of election administration, it is not possible to establish whether widespread voter fraud does or does not exist because it is difficult to determine either way when proof is not required of voters when registering or before voting."
There are many opinions. What is truth, even? Best to make voting as hard as possible, just to be sure.
Georgia: This Fuckery Will Not Stand, Man
A group of voting rights groups is also suing Georgia's Secretary of State Brian Kemp over that state's "exact match" voting registration system, which flags voter registration applications if there are even the slightest differences between names on the application and in state and federal records. That includes differences in punctuation, like a missing hyphen or apostrophe. Last week, investigative journalists found over 53,000 applications were held up by Kemp's office. Oh, yes, and Kemp is also the Republican candidate for governor, and he's running against the wonderful Stacey Abrams, who could well become Georgia's first African-American governor -- if people are allowed to vote. Now, it turns out that a whopping 70 percent of applications being held up were from black voters, imagine that, although legally, those flagged by the "exact match" system can still vote -- they just may think they can't, and isn't that fun?
After Abrams called on Kemp to resign as secretary of state Friday, Kemp issued a very nice Good Ol' Boy statement accusing "outside agitators" of trying to stir up trouble -- presumably he means people like the black Georgian lady running for governor, and now also the "Georgia Coalition of the People's Agenda, the local NAACP and other civil rights groups" involved in the lawsuit because at least some of them have national connections.
In addition, rightwing media have twisted a remark Abrams made last Tuesday to claim she wants undocumented people to do vote fraud, because obviously all Democrats want that, don't they? Abrams, speaking of the "Blue Wave" of popular opposition to Trump and Republicans, OBVIOUSLY said undocumented people should vote, although she never actually said that. Hey, look, a video that suddenly ends right after the most seemingly-objectionable line!
The thing of it is, the blue wave is African American. It's white it's Latino, it's Asian-Pacific Islander. It is disabled. It is differently abled. It is LGBTQ. It is law enforcement! It is veterans! It is made up of those who've been told that they are not worthy of being here. It is comprised of those who are documented and undocumented.
See? To us, that sounds like the usual catalog of people for whom Democrats say they want to fight, and you'll notice she nowhere says anything about telling ineligible people to vote, but that HAS to be what she really means, it just HAS TO.
Kemp piled on today, of course, because JUST LOOK AT THE OPEN CALL FOR FRAUD!!!!
That's sort of a funny take, since Kemp has also been bragging his wonderful voter-ID system makes it UNPOSSIBLE for ineligible people to cast a ballot. Sure wish he'd make up his mind.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.