Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rig The Vote

Charlie Pierce looks at the way the Republicans are doing everything they can to rig the election next year for their guys.

On Monday, the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU law school published an exhaustive study (short versions here and here) of the effect of these new laws and concluded that more than five million eligible voters will find it more difficult to vote in 2012. The political implications are so obvious as to beggar explanation. What’s more compelling is the hole in our soul.

How hard is it really? Our election laws should be such that as many people as absolutely possible are allowed to vote, and as conveniently as possible, and every damn vote should be counted fairly. Period. Full stop. How is there not a national consensus behind that?


The Brennan report is one of those things that ought to unite people on the right and left who realize that they’re getting played by the true centers of power in this country, and that laws are now being devised to prevent them even from having the ability to defend themselves in the most basic way possible — by voting the bastards out. But I doubt that it will be. Thirty years of effective rhetoric have convinced too many people in this country that “politics” are something practiced elsewhere, usually on behalf of people they don’t like, and that the “government” is an alien entity over which they have no control anyway, so what do they care that ex-felons, or poor people without cards, will find it so difficult to vote that they give up? What’s the point anyway? The whole thing’s a rigged game. Believe that long enough, and it will come true. Because there will always be people whose power depends on the rigging of the game.

The Republicans are counting on two things in this effort: first, that they can use the phony excuse of “voter fraud” to get the new laws passed by state legislatures, including Florida. It’s really easy to get all boogedy-boogedy about the massive hordes of illegal voters, including college students and poor people (who really shouldn’t be voting at all), storming the polling stations; scare tactics never fail. Second, they’re counting on voter apathy and the fact that “heavy” voter turn-out in an election is when fifty percent of the registered voters turn up. Asking them to procure and produce a photo ID or cutting back on early voting just makes it that much harder to get the marginally interested to vote and doubly hard for the folks who are already facing tough times to jump through more hoops.

It’s ironic that the election of the first black president would be at least part of the impetus to bring back Jim Crow.