Voter suppression is a political tactic, in vogue among today’s Republicans, designed to discourage left-leaning voters from exercising their right to vote. Under the guise of combating voter fraud–of which, after more than 5 years of investigation, there is almost no evidence–Republicans have enacted draconian voter identification laws specifically designed to impact seniors, blacks, Latinos, and college students (In Virginia, a concealed gun permit is considered acceptable for a voter to cast a ballot but a student I.D. is not).
Republicans have utilized several tactics to try to prevent people from voting:
- Caging, in which direct mail is sent to addresses of registered Democrats then a list is compiled of all the voters whose letters are returned as undeliverable or forwarded. Those voters are then challenged at the polls by Republican agents when they show up to vote.
- Impeding voter registration, by imposing strict regulations on voter registration and even penalizing late registration. A popular way to do this is by attacking organizations that specialize in registering voters such as the League of Women Voters who ended their registration program in Florida after 91-years due to oppressive legislation, and the successful but unfounded defamation of Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now(ACORN) which led to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing after being defunded by congress.
- Denial of voting rights to convicted felons,which I can kinda understand for rapists and murderers–although it’s a total revenge move–but you rob a convenience store and you can never vote again? While they’re in jail, I agree, no voting; on probation, I get the argument, but once someone has served their debt to society, they should have their full rights returned to them. I could even understand if this was honestly in the interest of protecting victims, but truth is the majority of ex-cons won’t be voting Republican, so the Republicans have them removed from the picture.
- Purging of voter rolls is another way of suppressing votes. In 2008 50,000 voters were purged from the Georgia rolls due to a “mismatch” in their identification. According to CNN:
Two weeks ago, [college senior Kyla] Berry got disturbing news from local election officials. “This office has received notification from the state of Georgia indicating that you are not a citizen of the United States and therefore, not eligible to vote,” a letter from the Fulton County Department of Registration and Elections said. But Berry is a U.S. citizen, born in Boston, Massachusetts. She has a passport and a birth certificate to prove it. The letter, which was dated October 2, gave her a week from the time it was dated to prove her citizenship. There was a problem, though — the letter was postmarked October 9.
- That same year, more than 15,000 Florida voters were also made ineligible due to another mismatch.
- Misinformation about voting procedure–as happened with the 2011 Wisconsin recall election–to keep people from voting. As Politico reports:
Mailers have now turned up from Americans For Prosperity Wisconsin, addressed to voters in two of the Republican-held recall districts, where the elections will be held on August 9. The mailers ask recipients to fill out an absentee ballot application, and send it in — by August 11, after Election Day for the majority of these races.
They are fully aware of this and admitted as much waaayyyy back in 1980: