Remember the last election, when Florida played such a crucial role in assuring victory to George W. Bush? Back then, the Bushies hadn't quite worked out all the bugs of electioneering, but thanks to new legislation they pushed through Congress, the next election will be a lot easier to walk away with.
In October of 2002, President Bush signed the "Help America Vote Act," known as HAVA. If you're in on the joke, you know that George likes program names to describe their exact opposite effect. Hence, "The Clean Air Act" and "No Child Left Behind."
If you guessed that the "Help America Vote Act" will do everything but help Americans vote, you are correct. HAVA will reek havoc on our election system, which is, by the way, the cornerstone of our democracy, the very one we're exporting with so little success. Maybe if the Bushies renamed it a monarchy they'd have more success.
HAVA, according to Gregory Palast in The Nation, is a "nasty civil rights time bomb."
First, the purges. In the months leading up to the November 2000 presidential election, Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, in coordination with Governor Jeb Bush, ordered local election supervisors to purge 57,700 voters from the registries, supposedly ex-cons not allowed to vote in Florida. At least 90.2 percent of those on this "scrub" list, targeted to lose their civil rights, are innocent. Notably, more than half--about 54 percent--are black or Hispanic. You can argue all night about the number ultimately purged, but there's no argument that this electoral racial pogrom ordered by Jeb Bush's operatives gave the White House to his older brother. HAVA not only blesses such purges, it requires all fifty states to implement a similar search-and-destroy mission against vulnerable voters. Specifically, every state must, by the 2004 election, imitate Florida's system of computerizing voter files. The law then empowers fifty secretaries of state--fifty Katherine Harrises--to purge these lists of "suspect" voters.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 guarantees your rignt to vote but says nothing about your right to have it counted. If you're black, or even if you're suspected of having a criminal record, your ballot can be deliberately "spoiled." In the last election, you were one of seven whose vote was thrown out. In the next, the Bushies want to improve that number.
Oh, the things you can do when there's a war going on. Such a grand diversion, such lush, thick cover it offers the tinkerers of law.
If Bush "wins" again, don't blame it on African-Americans.
The time to overturn this law is now, rather than after the election. Outrage? Let's see some.