Tuesday, August 21, 2018

When all else fails, purge the voter rolls

One thing about the Trump era is that Republicans don't have to even pretend they aren't racial motives behind more restrictive voting laws and procedures.

The latest example is in southern Georgia. Randolph County is 61% black - double the statewide average. The Randolph County Board of Supervisors voted last week to close down 75% of the polling stations in Randolph County.

The Board will argue that they are making the move for financial reasons but that excuse doesn't hold any water because the real effect is to close as many polling stations in the black sections of the county as possible in order to aid Republican office seekers. If it costs more than the county wishes to pay to keep the stations open there is a perfectly fair solution -- raise the filing fee for running for office.

With the US Supreme Court's gutting of the Voting Rights Act, white Republicans have been knocking each other down to see who can pass the more restrictive voting laws and who can make it more difficult for the poor and minorities to vote. And the reason is clear -- as I've pointed out before, the old white power structure knows that due to demographic changes, its days of holding power are limited and they are doing everything they can to prolong the inevitable.

As white America showed that it is not afraid to vote for an outwardly racist candidate for president, these moves are to be expected. Those who vote Republican are supporting these efforts whether they wish to admit it or not. It would appear that no Republican candidate running for office has the guts to challenge the overt bigotry of Donald Trump and his administration. Their silence is affirmation of their support.

And, lest you think these shenanigans are used only in the Deep South, it's going on in Houston, too.  Residents of the Third Ward, a mostly black area of Houston just east of downtown, received letters from the County's voter registrar, Ann Harris Bennett, informing them that they had but 30 days to return a letter confirming their address to her office in order to avoid being removed from the voter rolls. The letters were sent out to folks who hadn't moved and who had been living at their current address for years.

“If you do not respond at all to this notice, your registration will be canceled if you have not confirmed your address either by completing the response form or confirming your address when voting before November 30 following the second general election for state and county officers that occurs after the date the confirmation notice is mailed.”

The letters were the result of challenges made by Republicans to voters in predominately minority parts of Houston. You see, Republican candidates will win the majority of votes in the suburbs since most of the residents moved away from Houston to get away from darker skinned folks. But elections in Harris County center on the turnout within the city limits of Houston. If there is a large turnout in the city, it will cancel out the Republican voters in the suburbs. And Republicans are anticipating that will be the case come November.

No comments: