Upcoming events set to discuss right to vote, barriers
Posted: March 28, 2017 at 1 a.m.
Anyone paying attention to the news during the last election must know there were reports of people not able to vote in numerous states for a variety of reasons. Too few and hard-to-locate polling places or multiple ID requirements, like producing birth certificates or passports, put up barriers to voting. In some locations poll hours were shortened, or ballots ran out, or voters just gave up after waiting hours in long lines.
Gerrymandering to enhance or suppress a targeted voting demographic may not be the world's oldest profession, but in politics, it ranks high in the tricks of the trade. In 2013 the feds tackled a different issue and struck down several of North Carolina's blatant laws that had voters jumping through hoops. The state's rules were described as being designed with "surgical precision" to suppress African-Americans from voting.
Creating a phantom problem called "voter fraud" in which people supposedly vote multiple times, even across state lines, was a genius move of political manipulation. Much like yelling, "squirrel!" so your dog goes nuts trying to chase a fake varmint, voter fraud is an invisible villain that rarely materializes in the real world. Yet it has been used to justify a nationwide distraction causing legislators to foam at the mouth as they, hell-bent on spending millions, chase down these duplicitous voting ghosts.
On the website "Health of State Democracies," maps highlighting specific voting problems in individual states are extremely helpful in understanding what is actually going on across our country. On this site, check out "Participation in the Interstate Crosscheck System." An article in FreePress called "Killing Democracy by a Thousand Cuts" expands the explanation of this so-called crosscheck of voters.
Developed by Kansas' Secretary of State Kris Kobach to search voter files, this program has now spread to over 30 states, including Arkansas. If things weren't bad enough, this maneuver has been responsible for purging and disenfranchising thousands of legitimate voters. According to The Voting News, "One tally found that while Interstate Crosscheck has flagged 7.2 million possible double registrants, no more than four have actually been charged with deliberate double registration or double voting." Squirrel!
The tired challenge, "If we can go to the moon, we can (do whatever), "should deeply embarrass our technically advanced country because we can't seem to figure out one consistent, logical, and clean way to vote on a national scale. Fair and just elections are at the core of keeping our republic truly functional, yet critics of voter suppression, who try to bring these issues into the sunshine, often become targets for criticism rather than being praised for exposing the dark underbelly of suppression schemes. Many folks probably just discount voting foul-ups as incompetence and par for a nation awash with non-standardized ways of casting and counting votes. We need instead to recognize chaos by design.