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Challengers violate Voting Rights Act

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I don’t know the outcome of the presidential contest as I write this. But, I do know a matter has been raised that should not fade away whatever the result. That matter is permitting partisan challengers to confront voters and claim they should not be able to vote because of age, identity or residency. The practice violates the intent of the Voting Rights Act, which is that barriers not be erected to prevent people previously excluded from the electorate, racial minorities, from voting. The Republicans’ practice of having thousands of challengers descend on polling places in African-American communities came under national scrutiny during this election.

The Columbus Star reports.

COLUMBUS, Ohio: The Republican Party posted thousands of people inside Ohio polling places to challenge voters’ eligibility Tuesday after a dispute that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court just hours before the balloting began.

Republicans said they wanted challengers in precincts because of concerns about fraud, but Democrats filed lawsuits accusing the GOP of trying to suppress turnout and intimidate black voters.

But a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the orders of two federal judges and ruled 2-1 early Tuesday that the presence of challengers was permitted under state law. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to step in.

In their rulings, the lower courts identified using partisan poll challengers as a method of intimidation. The roots of that approach to preventing minority voting date back to Reconstruction. As conservative white Southerners convinced the federal government to look away, they mounted a campaign of violence to prevent the freedmen from voting, a practice still new to the former slaves. Within a few years, virtually all African-Americans were removed from electoral rolls. That was the status quo until after the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 — not yet forty years ago. The GOP’s Southern Strategy is partly a reaction to the VRA. The Republicans wooed white Southerners opposed to desegregation and particularly incensed that blacks would be allowed to vote. That resentment is still revealed today in the use of poll challengers. If the GOP were really concerned about voter fraud, their challenges would not be almost exclusively in minority neighborhoods. Nor are their allegations of massive voter fraud by minority voters legitimate. The most fraudulent elections in America were the result of machine politics, from which blacks and Hispanics were often excluded.

We have a very conservative Supreme Court. One of its jurists, Chief Justice William Rehnquist, (pictured) began his political career as a Republican challenger of black and Hispanic voters in Arizona. Some people who were there say he sometimes had to be physically removed from polling places to keep him from bullying voters. Still, I believe it is time for SCOTUS to consider state laws that allow partisan challengers to confront voters. If the Voting Rights Act is to have any meaning, it must be enforced. It cannot be enforced adequately as long as this practice is allowed.

Note 1: This entry also appeared at Silver Rights.

Note 2: Enjoy a mixed grille of fine blogging at Mac-a-ro-nies.

About The Diva

  • bhw

    Well, if Bush wins, you can forget about the Supreme Court defending the Voting Rights Act.

  • Mac Diva

    I know that. But, I want an explicit statement. If the VRA is no longer the law, then the Court should come out and say so.

  • bhw

    I know you know, MD. I was just lamenting out loud about yet another loss for civil rights that will occur under the next Bush watch. Sigh.

  • Mac Diva

    Americans have a history of deluding themselves when it comes to what they are up to in regard to civil rights issues.

    ~ They aren’t denying that homosexuality is part of human nature and here to stay by anti-gay legislation (now in an additional 10 states) they say, they are protecting heterosexual marriage.

    ~ The fact that nearly all efforts to suppress voting are by Republicans targeting minorities doesn’t mean there’s a continuation of ‘keeping them in their place,’ it means black voters must be doing something wrong. (I’m sure Redtard, Andy Marsh or Al Barger will be happy to supply a list of ‘its their fault’ pretexts for you.)

    ~ The more than eleven percent of Americans coping with hunger, according to reliable sources, either don’t exist or are lazy bastards who deserve a kick in the arse. (Never mind that children are a large percent of the total. I guess child labor laws need to be repealed.)

    When any progress is made on civil rights issues, it is usually for three reasons:

    ~ A strong national leader, or leaders, ignores the chorus of selfishness and bigotry.

    ~ People who go along to get along break with the chorus out of conscience or embarassment.

    ~ The inequality is starkly brought to the forefront by activists and/or the international community and will not go away.

    What progress was made in the civil rights movement did not occur because all most Americans are good people. Many Americans are horrible people. But the horrors they like to impose on their fellow Americans can be mitigated through a combination of the above. If we make it explicit that the U.S. government is reneging on a promise it made not yet 40 years ago, that process may begin.

  • andy marsh

    diva – if you hate this country and it’s people so much, why are you still here?

  • bhw

    Fuck THAT, Andy. Fuck THAT.

  • andy marsh

    such language!

  • Mac Diva

    “Go back to Africa!” Andy Marsh? I knew you would get around to that.

    As a mixed-race woman, if a general dispensation to ancestral stomping grounds occurs, I will not qualify. Many of my ancestors were already here when the Africans and Europeans arrived. But, even if that were not so, I would not be leaving. All of the people I’m descended from — Native American, West African and British — have earned their right to be Americans. In regard to the Africans, they probably earned it most.

    The U.S. military has chronic problems with hate groups among its enlisted people. It regularly has to discipline soldiers and try to exterminate chaptes of the Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations and similar groups within its population. Based on the ugly face you have revealed at Blogcritics, I can’t help but wonder if you are one of those people. This veteran has repented. But, I doubt you ever will.

  • andy marsh

    more race baiting diva? Did I say that? I asked a simple question. If you don’t like the people of this country or this country in general, why are you still here?

  • bhw

    I am sooooo sick of people who point out what’s wrong with the country — rather than gloss over it and claim “That makes me a patriot” — being told to leave if they don’t like it. Fuck THAT.

  • andy marsh

    bhw – I never told anyone to leave. I asked why they were still here.

    If you were to visit someones house and you discovered that you didn’t really like that person or that persons friends, would you stay? Or would you leave and never visit again?

    I guess there is the third option, stick around and just complain about them.

    and on the same note, I’m sooooooo sick of people that turn EVERYTHING into a race issue.

    This country isn’t perfect, but it is the best place on this planet. And to spew shit about how intelligent bin laden is and how horrible the people of the country you are living in are and how stupid we are and all the other bullshit that she spews, just makes me wonder why she’s still here, she obviously hates this country!

  • Mac Diva

    Don’t even try to wiggle out of it, Marsh. The implications of urging a person of color to leave the country are clear. Most people know how to fill in the subtext.

  • andy marsh

    YOU obviously do…because EVERYTHING is a race issue with you!

  • Mac Diva

    I did not write this entry so you could come on it and try to divert attention away from the issue to yourself. So, I think it best you depart from it. Furthermore, stay off any thread I post from now on.

  • Mac Diva

    Back to the issue. It seems to me that we, meaning liberals and progressives, must now develop strategies for achieving the three effective ways to move America in regard to civil rights I described above. Making it clear what the status quo is is where we must start. A ruling that the VRA is no longer the law will make it clear that though discrimination against minority voters never stopped, the federal government is choosing to look the other way.

  • Eric Olsen

    however, subtext is not text, and to declare subtext as fact is disingenuous at best

  • bhw

    Or would you leave and never visit again?

    I guess there is the third option, stick around and just complain about them.

    No, Andy. The first option is to stick around and try to change it, which is what we’ve been doing.

    It’s funny. Libertarians are by far the ones who want to change this country the most. They want to downsize the federal government by at least 50%. But I have yet to see any Libertarians on Blogcritics be told they should leave [even if it's phrased as a question, which is just a semantic ploy]. That suggestion is exclusively saved for liberals, which says a lot about the people who make it: they wish we’d leave.

  • Mike Kole

    bhw- As this whole thread should indicate, there is a problem with painting with a broad brush. This Libertarian hasn’t told anyone to leave, and isn’t about to. Please do take care not to lump me into this nonsense via generality.

  • bhw

    No, no, that’s not what I said. I said that Libertarians, who want to change the government by 50% [reduction] are NOT asked to leave by other commenters. I was trying to say that only liberals are ever told/asked to leave when they say they’re unhappy with the way things are. Libertarians are, to me, clearly not happy with the way things are, but I never see anyone saying, “Why do you stay?” or “Why don’t you leave?”. I didn’t say — or mean to imply — that Libertarians are the ones doing that telling/asking.

    Am I making any more sense?

  • Joe

    Interesting point, bhw, I would imagine the reason for that might be that many percieve the changes/policies that most liberals desire are available in other countries, whereas the ones the Libertarians like have been framed as being possible only in America. Not saying that’s accurate, just taking a swag at your question.

  • Mac Diva

    I believe it is becoming more difficult for people with extreme Right views to identify an ideal country to live in. (Meaning First World countries. Most of them would not want to give up the creature comforts they left.) Here and Australia seem to be the major choices. The demise of Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and South Africa as havens for white far Right immigrants is oft lamented on some of the Neo-Confederate sites I monitor. Periodically, one will hear of the fringes left from their apartheid government or military trying to take over some island or small country. If I remember correctly, there was some scheme involving Margaret Thatcher’s son not all that long ago.

    But, I think the answer to why liberals and progressives are told to leave the country so often is that the Neanderthals making the remark now perceive themselves as powerful. So, they can’t wait to throw their perceived weight around.

  • The roots of racism

    Program on the emergence of civilization.

    “14 species of large animals capable of domesitcation in the history of mankind.
    13 from Europe, Asia and northern Africa.
    None from the sub-Saharan African continent. ”
    And disfavor.

    They point out Africans’ failed attempts to domesticate the elephant and zebra, the latter being an animal they illustrate that had utmost importance for it’s applicability in transformation from a hunting/gathering to agrarian-based civilization.

    The roots of racism are not of this earth.

    Austrailia, aboriginals:::No domesticable animals.

    The North American continent had none. Now 99% of that population is gone.

    AIDS in Africa.

    Organizational Heirarchy
    Heirarchical order, from top to bottom:

    1. MUCK – perhaps have experienced multiple universal contractions (have seen multiple big bangs), creator of the artificial intelligence humans ignorantly refer to as “god”
    2. Perhaps some mid-level alien management
    3. Mafia (evil) aliens – runs day-to-day operations here and perhaps elsewhere (On planets where they approved evil.)

    Terrestrial management:

    4. Chinese/egyptians – this may be separated into the eastern and western worlds
    5. Romans – they answer to the egyptians
    6. Mafia – the real-world interface that constantly turns over generationally so as to reinforce the widely-held notion of mortality
    7. Jews, corporation, women, politician – Evidence exisits to suggest mafia management over all these groups.

    Survival of the favored.

    Movies foreshadowing catastrophy
    1985 James Bond View to a Kill 1989 San Francisco Loma Prieta earthquake.

    Many Muslims are being used like the Germans and Japanese of wwii::being used to hurt others and envoke condemnation upon their people.

    I wish I could find a source to educate many Muslim fundamentalists. Muhammad is alive. He is a man chosen like Jesus Christ and, due to his historical status, will live forever.