Voter Suppression: The Lines Are Drawn and The Fight Is On
Educate, Organize and Mobilize: Last week we shifted our focus to voter mobilization for November 2014. This week, as we look back we’ll also take a look at the current state of affairs in the fight to protect the voting rights of all US Citizens. As we discuss current court activities concerning voting rights, please remember that nothing that the courts decide between now and November will replace the need for a massive voter turnout and that such a turnout will only happen if we, the people accept the responsibility for making it happen. I’ll also update my outreach efforts to get Black Republicans to respond to voter suppression and my suggestions for our communities to get involved in protecting our voting rights.
On Monday July 7, the preliminary injunction filed by the North Carolina NAACP and several civil rights groups went on trial. The Federal court case is against the state of North Carolina over its new voter suppression laws. The decision from the trial maybe weeks away but no matter what it is, it will have a profound effect on our November General Election. But with that in mind, remember that whatever the decision is it will not negate our community’s need to create a massive voter turnout.
North Carolina progressives rightly argue that many parts the Voter Suppression Act of 2013, a.k.a. the Voter Information Verification Act of 2013, if allowed to be implemented this election cycle, will do irreparable harm to minority voters, women, students, Hispanics, the elderly and others targeted by the law. There are also many opinions about the origin and impact of the NC Voter Suppression Act. In our future coverage, as the fight unfolds, we’ll highlight and discuss many details and aspects of the fight for our right to vote. This week I recommend an article that speaks to suppression efforts in North Carolina and the high price of the struggles that has too often been paid in blood.
Another important court action concerning American Citizens right to vote was the July 10, Federal Court decision declaring that two of Florida’s 27 Congressional Districts was unconstitutional because they were created by the Florida Republican controlled legislature for the partisan advantage of the Florida Republican Party.
Legal scholars are viewing the Florida decision as a national game changer in the fight for the constitutionally guaranteed right to one-man-one-vote. The decision is a gerrymandering decision that declares that if the purpose for creating a gerrymandered district is unconstitutional then the district is unconstitutional and that if one district is unconstitutional then all district may have to be redrawn to correct it. For a more detailed overview of the Florida case I recommend the coverage given in a Washing Post blog.
In May I wrote about gerrymandering as voter dilution/suppression strategy that was also central to our Campaign to Defeat Voter Suppression. To refresh your understanding of the theory and details of gerrymandering I suggest re-reading my article.
Last week I also posted an article written by a young voter, on my page, www.facebook.com/votersuppression that addressed the threat that voter suppression poses to young voters and how they are being called upon to join efforts to defeat the suppression. The article received numerous “likes” & “comments” and was important in addressing the many demographic groups threatened by voter suppression and the necessity that all join forces to fight what many may have mistakenly viewed only as a threat to Black Voters. This story should be understood and shared with younger voters who need to be engaged in a massive turnout effort heading toward November.
Looking back, several weeks ago I wrote an article that addressed my opinion that Black Republicans, nationally and in North Carolina, were aiding and abetting their Republican Party led efforts to deny Black Citizens their rights to vote. My article was written in response to the announcement that the Republican Party, (NC and National) created the Black Republican Advisory Board (BRAB) to do outreach to Black Voters. It was posted on Facebook and drew numerous “likes and “comments.”
In my article I pointed out that doing outreach and voter suppression at the same time was contradictory and would not work. I’ve contacted and called upon Black Republicans to respond to my position but, to date they’ve stood mute. It’s important that they not be allowed to avoid accountability for supporting Republican Party diversity outreach and at the same time not speaking out against their party’s voter suppression efforts.
Lastly, last week we began our coverage on November mobilization outreach and the numerous ways to volunteer in our electoral process. One important way to volunteer is to help a party or candidate by joining a voter registration drive in your community or church. Voter registration drives are non-partisan activities. Some may want to join a candidate’s campaign and knock on doors to introduce him or her to neighbors or friends. Many election volunteers work phone banks by calling from voter lists to remind and encourage eligible voters to come out to vote, answer questions about voting laws and by confirming precinct locations and voting hours. On Election Day many volunteers work polls, provide rides and engage in numerous other activities.
As I always do, I posted last week’s article on Facebook and solicited public responses. The responses were few in number which suggests that my appeal is not working for reasons that need to be identified and addressed in the near future. As we plan to revise and republish our “Mobilization” article we need input and feedback from persons wanting to work to defeat voter suppression. Our revisions will appear as updated to my mobilization article.
We trust what we do here will help our readers better understand voter suppression and to get involved in a way that they are comfortable so that we can defeat it. Our communities are under constant attack and we need a massive response, lest we return to “the era of poll taxes and Jim Crow.” Not all of what I write is necessarily exciting or engaging. However, I think it’s important for our ultimate success.
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Peter Grear, Esq. writes for Greater Diversity News with a primary focus on voter suppression. To join the campaign to defeat voter suppression please “Like” and follow us at www.facebook.com/votersuppression, “Share” our articles, and your ideas and comments on Facebook or at our website www.GreaterDiversity.com. Also, to promote the campaign to defeat voter suppression, please ask all of your Facebook “Friends” to follow the above-referenced recommendations. Additionally, please follow us on Twitter at @yourrighttovote: (https://twitter.com/yourrighttovote)