Voter Suppression Is Not the Answer

“If we truly believe in a vibrant Democracy, then we must have the highest voter turnout in the world.” – US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

For over a week now I’ve been stewing on the voter suppression effort currently underway in Georgia. If you haven’t been following it, last Thursday Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (R) signed sweeping election law changes that make it harder for targeted groups to vote while also giving officials the ability to potentially change the outcome of elections if they don’t like the results. You can read more about the changes here, and please do, but that isn’t the point of my blog today.

As always, let’s take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Georgia played the role of unlikely hero in the 2020 election, not only helping President Joe Biden defeat Donald Trump in the presidential race, but also swinging control of the US Senate with two Democratic candidates, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, defeating incumbent Republicans. I didn’t know anything about Warnock and Ossoff, not being from Georgia, but I do know that the incumbents must have done something really bad to lose their seats to Democrats in the Deep South.

Trump famously called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and asked him to overturn the results of the election, a conversation the latter recorded and then made public. Raffensperger and Fulton County prosecutors subsequently opened up a criminal investigation into the Trump campaign’s efforts to illegally influence the election, an investigation which is ongoing as of this writing.

What are we to make of this? The spin machine is in full cycle, with Republicans claiming various things up to and including it was voter fraud that turned Georgia blue. There is, to date, zero evidence of this. Democrats are calling the new election law something akin to “modern Jim Crow,” with minorities unfairly targeted by the legislation. Neither of these arguments are of concern to my own interior monlogue.

Are we, as a country, really going to start letting elected officials decide whether or not they like the way voters voted and give them the power to influence/change the outcome if they don’t? Granted, I just finished rereading George Orwell’s 1984, but this sounds an awful lot like the Ministry of Truth, where reality is created by those in charge and anyone who protests is tortured and killed. Americans already have very few choices when it comes to Presidential elections. Two corporate clones are typically rolled out and we choose the one whose rhetoric most closely aligns with our worldviews, or we vote against the one whose rhetoric is so objectionable that we can’t stand the thought of listening to that person for four (more) years. It’s rare, indeed, when we get a candidate we actually believe in, and even when we do the System makes sure that candidate doesn’t change too much.

Yes, I know there are third party candidates and I have friends who are vehemently in favor of voting Green or whatever. Sounds great, but it’s a little bit like wearing a Sacramento Kings t-shirt to an NBA Finals game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets. You think you’re making a point, but the NBA could care less. They’re cashing in on their biggest stars. It’s a business, after all, and so is government. You still bought a ticket.

Full disclosure, I’m a middle-aged white male. I was born in Spain, but only because my dad was in the US Air Force and we were stationed in Madrid. There is absolutely no one trying to limit MY vote. Quite the opposite. There is an early voting location within 5 minutes of my house – I usually do it in the middle of the day on a week day, as the lines are shortest when the typical middle class person is at work. I’m never harassed in line, no one tries to keep me from voting – piece of cake. I even bring my own bottle of water, you know, in case it becomes illegal for someone to offer me one.

I’m definitely not trying to “make America great again,” because I think the only time it was truly great was before we kicked the indigenous people off of their lands. They were living sustainably, giving off pretty much zero carbon, and respected the world that made their lives possible. Sounds pretty great to me! But I do long for the ideals upon which America was founded. Let’s get together as human beings, talk about potential solutions to our mutual problems, and work together to implement those solutions. Our politicians should run for office because they are passionate and want to help their communities and our country. They should have big ideas and plans to carry out those ideas. They should present them during a SHORT, publicly funded campaign, try to convince the most folks, and hey, best ideas win.

At no time should anyone be trying to prevent American citizens from voting, and look it up, election fraud is nothing more than a scare tactic. Even as Donald Trump screamed that the election was stolen from him, his own Department of Homeland Security called the 2020 election the most secure in our history. Naturally, he fired Chris Krebs, the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, for making that statement, but that doesn’t change the reality of the outcome. And no, illegal immigrants didn’t sway the outcome of the election – again, that’s just sour grapes from the losing side.

Look, we can secure our banking systems, why can’t we similarly secure our voting through an online process? We don’t need the electoral college, we don’t need mail-in ballots, and there is absolutely no reason for long lines in a limited number of voting venues. Let’s allow as many people as possible to vote, perhaps logging in with a valid state ID, even make Election Day a national holiday and see who wins.

The idea that the response to losing an election is for your party to try and limit/restrict/suppress the people who voted against you is simply ludicrous. If your party is that unpopular, it’s easy enough to fix it. Listen to your constituents and work towards solutions to the issues they care about.

Isn’t that the American way?

Namaste.

9 thoughts on “Voter Suppression Is Not the Answer”

  1. Hi Bill, Have you see this argument? https://www.nationalreview.com/2021/04/why-not-fewer-voters/ I pretty much argue the same point in my book detailing the 2016 election. The chapter titled “Citizen Primer”. I always read your posts, but often don’t agree with your positions. Is that alright?
    Both parties try really hard to manipulate information and voters to win. It’s about power. It’s not “in the best interest of ‘the people’.
    Anyway, I wish you’d read my book and let me know what you think? It covers every issue and presents arguments from different perspectives.
    Take care,
    mark

    Like

    1. Mark, I read that article yesterday and spent some time contemplating it afterwards. There have been moments – like 2016 – when it has crossed my mind that perhaps the Electoral College is needed now more than ever. After all, a growing number of people in our country believe in an alternate reality that is not based in the factual world. That being said, the government tells us so little about what they’re doing in the world that it’s hard to know what to vote for. Having a group of highly informed insiders vote for our leadership has a certain appeal.

      Here’s the rub. Corruption is completely rampant in government. Anyone who has the power to do anything is bought out by the corporate interests who want to maximize profits in that area. How do we trust anyone to vote responsibly?

      How do I find your book?

      And yes, by all means disagree with me. We only grow by having rational discussions with people who hold alternate points of view.

      B

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, Bill, I agree with you about the corruption in politics and corporations’ motives. I do examine all of it in my book. You can get it from Amazon or B & N, but I’d prefer you order it here: http://www.markjabbour.com ; or DM me and I can send you one directly.
        Thanks, I appreciate your thoughtfulness. cheers.

        Like

  2. I definitely agree with the need for short, publicly funded campaigns, as long as big money is involved, candidates can be easily corrupted and end up representing their the interests of their donors. This is the fundamental problem with politics and involves over 90% of politicians in both parties.

    I read the Georgia bill and didn’t see anything, suggesting voter suppression. All the amendments seem to be focused on verifying the voter’s identity. (I could have misunderstood some of them, feel free to refer to a specific amendment in the bill, that you might believe will result in, or was intended for suppressing votes.)

    The changes are an obvious response to the massive voter fraud last November and this is where my disagreement lies. Here is my account of what transpired: http://timefortruth.blog/2021/02/10/there-is-no-evidence-for-election-fraud/

    Like

    1. It’s actually quite difficult to find a straight up read of the new law, which is 98 pages long. When you read it, it sounds innocuous enough, but I don’t live in Georgia and don’t know anything about their counties and the implications of these changes. What I’ve read from their local media outlets is that aspects of the law specifically target communities of color and poorer communities. It removes many of their ballot drop boxes and reduces voting locations, which is blatant suppression. My parents volunteer with the NAACP in North Carolina, and that’s precisely what NC has done to make it harder for Democratic-leaning areas to vote. If you can’t beat them, keep them from voting.

      As for your theories about voter fraud, and I realize we will now diverge into alternate realities, Tucker Carlson is not someone I would take seriously. He’s not a news reporter, he’s an entertainer. He doesn’t work for a news organization, he works for an entertainment network. FOX News was sued for claiming voting machines were throwing votes to Biden (item 11 on your list), and in court their defense was “Rational people wouldn’t take that seriously. We are an entertainment network.” This is patently obvious, but it was interesting to see them admit it in court. A second lawsuit was filed last week, this one specifically naming Carlson as well as their other entertainers (Hannity, etc.).

      Here’s that lawsuit: https://www.npr.org/2021/03/26/981515184/dominion-voting-systems-files-1-6-billion-defamation-lawsuit-against-fox-news

      USA Today IS a news organization, so I invite you to read their take on the myriad conspiracy theories about voter fraud here: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/11/17/fact-check-2020-election-whats-true-and-whats-false/6266732002/

      One thing I believe you and I can agree upon – maybe – is that we desperately need to reinstate The Fairness Doctrine. In fact, that might be my next blog post. It’s an emergency. If you’re going to call yourself “News” you have to actually present non-fiction. I don’t need to be told what to think about the news, just present the facts and I’ll take it from there. You know, like Walter Cronkite.

      Namaste.

      Liked by 1 person

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