A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
The Republican Party and allied organizations are guilty of engaging in a lengthy and widespread conspiracy to deny the right to vote to millions of American citizens – low income, minority, elderly, and student voters. Republicans are working feverishly to kick these people off voter rolls, to slash the number of polling places and voting hours in Democratic districts, and intimidate them from voting at all.
In one example among many, election officials in Randolph County, Georgia, proposed closing seven of the nine polling places before the November elections. Of course, Randolph County is majority black. Republican officials in Georgia have also been busy de-registering likely minority voters. An investigation revealed that Georgia improperly kicked off its voter rolls over 340,000 legitimately registered voters – without notifying those voters. Georgia’s Secretary of State Brian Kemp, a white male, purged an additional 50,000 voters off the roles, 80% of whom are minority voters. Not coincidentally, Mr. Kemp himself is running for governor this year, against Democrat Stacey Abrams, an African American woman. Talk about a conflict of interest.
From 1965 to 2013, these kinds of actions would have triggered scrutiny by the US Department of Justice under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, however the Republican dominated US Supreme Court gutted that law in 2013, and since then, Republican-run states have closed nearly 1000 polling stations in mostly minority districts nationwide, grossing reducing voter turnout. Republican officials have been on a tear since 2013 to deny tens if not hundreds of millions of Americans the right to vote, based on their likely party affiliation.
Add to this, the widespread gerrymandering in Republican-controlled states, a tactic that serves to flatly deny congressional representation to millions of African American voters and helps keep congress under Republican control.
Add to this President Trump himself, who recently tweeted this warning: “All levels of government and Law Enforcement are watching carefully for VOTER FRAUD, including during EARLY VOTING. Cheat at your own peril. Violators will be subject to maximum penalties, both civil and criminal!”
Here, the president is working hard to frighten voters who may not be certain they are correctly registered, and he implies that early voting by itself is cheating. At his rallies and in his tweets, Trump has routinely encouraged violence against his opponents and their supporters. This is called voter intimidation.
The Republicans have screamed that there is widespread voter fraud, yet they have found little to none, and Trump closed his bogus voter fraud commission after only a few months for lack of evidence.
All of these actions by Republicans are blatantly illegal. Their efforts comprise a massive, direct assault on millions of Americans and their constitutionally-guaranteed right to vote, free of all forms of interference or intimidation. In all regards, the right and the means to vote must be upheld equally for every citizen. By intentionally working to interfere with, suppress, and deny the right of certain groups to cast their ballots, the Republican Party and organizations working on behalf of the party are committing millions of violationsof the Federal Civil Rights Statute, Title 18, U.S.C., Section 241 – Conspiracy Against Rights, which reads: This statute makes it unlawful for two or more persons to conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person of any state, territory or district in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the United States, (or because of his/her having exercised the same).
Additionally, any laws passed with the obvious intent to deny the rights of any person or group – violate Title 18, U.S.C., Section 242 – Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law: which state: This statute makes it a crime for any person acting under color of law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom to willfully deprive or cause to be deprived from any person those rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution and laws of the U.S.
Lastly, the federal government is obligated to prosecute violations of Title 18, U.S.C., Section 245 – Federally Protected Activities, which reads in part: …This statute prohibits willful injury, intimidation, or interference, or attempt to do so, by force or threat of force of any person or class of persons because of their activity as… a voter, or person qualifying to vote…
The above federal statues are crystal clear. Numerous politicians in the Republican party, their PACs and supporting organizations, and the Fox Entertainment Group – the propaganda mouthpiece for the GOP – are knowingly and willfully engaging in a massive, illegal conspiracy to interfere with, intimidate, and crush the votes of students, the elderly, minorities, and the poor, knowing that these groups are most likely to vote Democratic.
Each and every American citizen intimidated, interfered with, suppressed, or denied their right to vote is a victim, and the violations number in the many tens of millions. The Republicans are committing a massive nationwide fraud, depriving the nation of free and fair elections. Their attack on our democracy is a direct assault on the heart of our nation, our form of government, our Constitution, and the rule of law. The law is unambiguous: Those individuals proven to be directly involved – state legislators, state attorneys general, secretaries of state, governors and other officers who have committed the above crimes through legislation, rules, decisions adopted, and public statements made (including incitement) – must be prosecuted, fined, and imprisoned as mandated. By ignoring the above laws, the nation is at imminent risk of sliding into single-party rule, dictatorship, and fascism.
In this HBO clip, Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Tommy Vietor, Dan Pfeiffer, and Brittany Packnett discuss Republican strategies for illegally suppressing the vote in the 2018 midterm elections. Beto O’Rourke’s campaign is held up as an example of a progressive candidate’s valiant attempt to overcome these obstacles.
Copyright 2018 Daniel R. Cobb