The Republican Voter Suppression Scheme Must be stopped

President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are planning to deprive millions of Americans of the vote in an effort to keep Republicans in office.

A presidential commission to investigate charges of vote fraud is really a front for a scheme to implement Republican voter suppression tactics nationwide, critics charged. Scathing media coverage indicates that the Republicans’ charges of widespread vote fraud and illegal voting are lies.

News articles; and op-ed pieces, indicate that the Commission might propose legislation that would threaten many Americans’ right to vote to Congress. Some of the harshest criticism includes:

  • There were just four documented cases of vote fraud in the United States in 2016 despite 135 million votes cast, The Washington Post reported.

 

  • A survey of 23.5 million voters in 2016 found that only 30 undocumented aliens had cast ballots, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported. The survey was conducted by the Brenan Center at the New York University School of Law.

 

  • There was no evidence to support president Trump’s allegations that millions of illegal aliens voted, Dartmouth College researchers David Cottrell, Michael C. Herron and Sean J. Westwood concluded; in a research paper.

 

  • The vice chairman of the commission will be Kansas Secretary of State Kris W. Kobach; who championed the strictest voter ID laws in the country, The New York Times reported. Kobach was the chief author of Kansas law that required people to produce a passport, birth certificate or naturalization papers in order to register to vote. Kobach also tried to remove thousands of people from Kansas’s voter rolls.

 

  • The New York Times Editorial Board labeled the panel “Trump’s Fraudulent Voter-Fraud Commission.”

 

  • Guardian writer Steven W. Thrasher went farther and called the commission a “Shameless White Power Grab.” Thrasher is afraid the commission would propose legislation that would disenfranchise millions; or tens of millions, of Latinos and African-Americans.

 

Did Voter Suppression Help Trump Win?

There is a good reason why Trump and Pence; the vice chairman of the commission, are so anxious to implement voter suppression nationwide. It may have taken them to the White House.

A strict voter ID law passed by Republican legislators might have reduced voter turnout by 200,000 in Wisconsin between 2012 and 2016, a survey by a Democratic group called Priorities USA and Civis Analysis found. Trump won Wisconsin by just 22,748 votes - meaning voter ID laws might have been gotten him elected.

Disturbingly, Priorities might be underestimating the amount of voter suppression in Wisconsin. Federal court records indicate that around 300,000 registered voters in that state; or 9% of the electorate, lack the strict forms of ID needed to comply with the new law, The Nation reported.

The Priorities survey found that voter turnout increased by 1.3% in states where voting was made easier, and fell by 1.7% in states that adopted strict new ID requirements. This might have decreased voter turnout by 400,000 nationwide.

How to Stop Republican Voter Suppression

There is only one effective way to stop Republican voter suppression efforts - elect a Democratic majority to Congress in 2018.

Democratic candidates like Austin Songer want to expand the vote by implementing early voting, mail in voting and universal automatic voter registration nationwide. Songer; a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in Illinois’s Sixth district, is dedicated to fighting discriminatory voter identification laws.

He also wants to restore the full protections of the Voting Rights Act, and fully fund the Help America Vote Act. Help America is designed to end long lines at the polls by providing local governments with all the voting equipment; and election funding, they need.

A Congress led by people like Songer would be in a position to block or overturn Republican voter ID laws. It would also be able to pass a new Voting Rights Act that would ban strict voter ID requirements; like those championed by Kobach, and restore voting rights to millions of Americans.

Songer; a veteran who fought for the vote in Navy uniform, understands that the ability to vote is the most important right that we have. We must stop career Republican politicians; like U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Illinois), Kris W. Kobach and Mike Pence, from suppressing the vote in order to keep their high-paying jobs. 

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