By Jessica Roy / current.com / @CurrentJess
Editor's note: This is the sixth article in our series on GOP tactics. For more information, see our overview of underhanded strategies used by Republicans. Yesterday we looked at their racially motivated criticism of the president. We've taken a closer look at each of these strategies and how the two parties use them differently.
Florida, Texas and many other states are in the process of enacting laws that openly disenfranchise voters. It’s all done under the pretense of preventing voter fraud. In reality, UFO sightings and shark attacks are both more common than voter fraud, which begs the question: Why is preventing it such a huge priority for the GOP? Because it will suppress and disenfranchise students, the elderly and people of color — all groups more likely to vote for President Barack Obama in this election.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott tried to purge roughly 180,000 suspected noncitizens from the state’s voter rolls. More than 60 percent of the people on the list were black or Latino. Through the course of his voter-fraud investigation, by his own admission, they turned up a grand total of 87 people who were registered to vote who should not have been. So 0.048 percent of the people they considered purging. Scott maintains that the purge had honorable intentions.
In 2008, more than 50,000 voters were removed from the rolls in Georgia. Citizens reported that they received letters giving them one week to prove their citizenship if they wanted to vote. Some people reported that their letters arrived just a day or two before the deadline.
Virginia, Texas, Pennsylvania, Illinois and New Hampshire are among the 26 states with pending voter ID legislation. Critics of these laws say they target the elderly, the disabled and college students. Voter ID laws have been blocked in several states because of the 24th Amendment, which abolished a poll tax. If you have to pay to get an ID in your state and you need an ID to vote, they are asking you to pay to vote, which is unconstitutional.
In 2011, former Arkansas governor and 2008 presidential primary candidate Mike Huckabee "joked" about blatant voter suppression on contentious issues:
"Make a list. … Call them and ask them, ‘Are you going to vote on Issue 2 and are you going to vote for it?’ If they say no, well, you just make sure that they don’t go vote. Let the air out of their tires on Election Day. Tell them the election has been moved to a different date. That’s up to you how you creatively get the job done."
And who's behind these voter suppression laws? The American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, a conservative group that drafts pro-corporation legislation and sends it to GOP politicians to introduce and approve. The Nation called ALEC a "collaboration between multinational corporations and conservative state legislators."
Cenk Uygur explored ALEC's anti-minority voter suppression efforts on "The Young Turks":
In total, more than 150 voter legislation laws have been introduced in 30 states. Jennifer Granholm has called this activity "treasonous" and took a look at some of the most egregious examples of voter suppression.
Voter suppression is the last line of defense for the GOP. If they can't win an honest election, they'll win a rigged one.
In most of our articles about GOP tactics, we've examined how the parties use them differently. In this election cycle, we've seen no evidence to suggest Democrats are stooping to this level of flagrant disregard for democracy. Republicans are just flat-out trying to deny people their right to vote because they might not vote Republican.