Election integrity and voter suppression will become hot topics as we get closer to the November 2022 midterm elections. Every election has the stench of some sort of fraudulent event. Most recently, our nation and our politicians spent way too much time debating the truthfulness of the 2016 and 2020 elections. After the 2020 elections, many states added measures to ensure the outcome of an election does not appear fraudulent.
The Republican party wants to win back the House and the Senate and regain control of this country that is headed over a cliff thanks to our current leadership. With President Biden’s recent “win” with the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) filled with pork spending, new taxes, climate change nonsense, new jobs, (if you want to become an IRS agent), and the search for documents in former President Trump’s home in Florida, the Democrats feel they have staved off an upcoming “Red Wave”. Preventing a GOP takeover of congress would allow the Democrats to remain in charge and continue to sell our country and our freedoms to the Chinese or whatever country is willing to pay these elected thieves.
I am concerned about the upcoming midterm elections. I believe the democrats and the mainstream media (MSM) are already “working” behind the scenes to ensure they win in November. As a counter to these efforts, many states such as Florida, Georgia and Texas are working to ensure election integrity. Unfortunately, these efforts are viewed as racist and the narrative (which will start soon) will be that any attempt to ensure election integrity is an attempt to suppress the votes of minorities, especially black Americans.
I believe every American’s vote should count but the influence from lobbyist and other wealthy donors put upon elected officials negate the vote of the American public. The ability of these groups and organizations to influence, infiltrate and manipulate our electoral system are the true examples of voter suppression and in fact are leading to the destruction of this great Republic.
We still have issues that relate to “one man: one vote” in America. Many believe the vote of black Americans continues to be suppressed and now by requiring voters to have an approved form of ID, more talk of black voter suppression will hit the air waves.
To counter this narrative concerning voter suppression, I want to briefly share the history of actual voter suppression in black America. I’ll share some insight concerning the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA), what it does and ask if this act is still necessary. I’ll spend some time talking about the black American voter. I’ll share my perspective on the belief that requiring voters to produce a valid form of identification is not a form of voter suppression and is not racist. I’ll compare requiring voter ID to actual fraudulent voting that occurred in the 2020 elections. In conclusion, I will pitch why the bigger issue is voter fraud which suppresses the vote of every American citizen.
Voter suppression is a disturbing, shameful, and unfortunate part of our American history. Even with the Constitution and the Fifteenth Amendment, many states still came up with dastardly methods of keeping black Americans from voting. As Carol Anderson states in her book “One Person, No Vote”, “… undaunted, they devised ways to meet the letter of the law while doing an absolute slash-and-burn through its spirit.”
In 1890 the Mississippi passed the Mississippi Plan. This plan was developed by white Southern Democrats as part of the white insurgency during the Reconstruction Era in the Southern United States. It was devised by the Democratic Party to overthrow the Republican Party in Mississippi by means of organized threats of violence and suppression or purchase of the black vote. Democrats wanted to regain political control of the legislature and governor's office. Their success in doing so led to similar plans being adopted by white Democrats in South Carolina and other majority-black states.
To end election violence and ensure that freedmen were excluded from politics, the Democrat-dominated state legislature passed a new constitution in 1890, which effectively disenfranchised and disarmed most blacks by erecting barriers to voter registration and firearms ownership. Disenfranchisement was enforced through terrorist violence and fraud, and most black people stopped trying to register or vote.
As Ms. Anderson states in her book, all of these rules and clauses were all intentionally racially discriminatory but dressed up in the genteel garb of bringing “integrity” to the voting booth. This feigned legal innocence was legislative evil genius.
Two specific methods used to suppress the votes of black Americans were the poll tax and literacy test.
The poll tax was “intended not so much to disenfranchise the Negro as to place him again under the white man’s domination.” Failure to pay the tax was made prima facie evidence of vagrancy, which was a catch all phrase to criminalize, jail or auction off black Americans. In order to stay off of the chain gang Negroes were forced to place themselves under the protection of a white man who would pay the tax for him. It was during the Jim Crow era that the intent turned towards taking away the black vote. At that time states required all age-eligible males to pay an annual fee in order to vote. Those who supported the poll tax saw it as a way to weed out those unworthy of democracy. Anyone unwilling to pay a small fee in order to enjoy such a precious privilege did not deserve to vote. The power of the poll tax was devastating to the black voter. Rules of when and where to pay the tax were cryptic, inserted with methods of intimidation. The poll tax was also cumulative meaning every year a person was eligible to vote the payment was due. If you were eligible to vote for 20 years but never had the money for the annual tax, but now you were finally able to pay the tax for this year, you would need to bring 20 years of back due poll taxes so you could vote. The poll tax truly suppressed the vote of blacks, many who were poor sharecroppers living on credit until the harvest came in.
Poll taxes of varying stipulations lingered in Southern states into the 20th century. In 1966 the U.S. Supreme Court, going beyond the Twenty-fourth Amendment, ruled in Harper v. Virginia Board of Electors that under the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, states could not levy a poll tax as a prerequisite for voting in state and local elections.
The literacy test was as devious as the poll tax. In Mississippi, then Senator Theodore Bilbo (D-MS) boasted of the chicanery of this test. He recalled how Section 244 of the Mississippi Constitution of 1890 says a man to register must be able to read and explain the Constitution or explain the Constitution when read to him. He went on to say, “Mississippi then wrote a constitution that damn few white men and no niggers at all can explain.” Literacy test and understanding clauses were detrimental to those who in society were functionally illiterate. In Mississippi, more than half of all adult blacks had fewer than five years of formal education and almost 12% had no schooling at all. Passing the test was final with no appeal if you failed. The registrar was the only person who “reviewed” the test. To some a literacy test seems like something that every American could get behind. After all an informed citizen voting is an important concept. Unfortunately, this was not the purpose or the intent of the literacy test. As pointed out in “One Person, No Vote”, the purpose of the literacy test was to eliminate as many age-eligible black Americans from the voter rolls. By 1953 in the Deep South, “eleven counties where the black population equaled or exceeded that of whites” had only 1.3% of all eligible blacks registered to vote. Two counties had no black voters at all.
These travesties do not exist in today’s society as they were put to an end with the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The VRA put the responsibility for adhering to the Constitution onto state and local governments. The VRA “thrust the federal government into the role of supervising voting in large parts of the country to protect black Americans rights to vote. The VRA Section 4, implemented a coverage formula that identified jurisdictions with a long-documented history of racial discrimination in voting. Explicitly prohibited from making changes to voting procedures without the approval of the federal government were the states of Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Virginia. Section 5 of the VRA requires covered jurisdictions receive federal approval, known as "preclearance", before implementing changes to their election laws. A covered jurisdiction has the burden of proving that the change does not have the purpose or effect of discriminating on the basis of race or language minority status; if the jurisdiction fails to meet this burden, the federal government will deny preclearance and the jurisdiction's change will not go into effect.
In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that segments of Section 4 of the VRA were unconstitutional and should no longer be implemented, ruling that the restrictions placed on particular state’s years prior are no longer relevant and now violate the state’s constitutional right to regulate elections.
I support the 2013 ruling of the Supreme Court. The animal that is the VRA is being fed with decades-old data and eradicated practices that have been banned for close to 50 years. The VRA fails to recognize the progress that has been made concerning the right to vote and continues to punish certain states for “sins” of the past. Moving forward we must investigate and develop local methods to prevent voter suppression and voter fraud.
We can agree there are still disturbing actions occurring in some states when it comes to voting and making sure everyone has the opportunity to vote and that their vote counts. There are questions that should be asked and answered when voter rolls are purged, when polling places are closed and when places to obtain proper ID are shut down. Our federal, state, and local leadership are lazy and have not taken the proper action to protect the voting rights of the American people.