Millions of Black Voters Are Being Purged From Voter Rolls, Often Illegally: Report

Millions of Black Voters Are Being Purged From Voter Rolls, Often Illegally: Report

Residents cast their votes at a polling place on November 4, 2014, near Ferguson, Mo.       Photo: Scott Olson (Getty Images)

As the end of Barack Obama’s presidency grew closer, election officials began preparing for the next election. Instead of strengthening the security of voting machines and making voting more accessible to citizens, states did the exact opposite. But they didn’t just make it harder to vote. For hundreds of thousands of registered, eligible voters across the nation, they made it impossible.

Voter Purges (pdf), a new report by the Brennan Center, highlights the systematic purging of voters from rolls by state and local officials around the country. These are not random, isolated cases. It is a methodical effort that disproportionately affects minority voters. Even worse, no one seems to care.

In 1993, Congress passed the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) which was an attempt to make registering to vote easier by offering driver license applicants the opportunity to register to vote. The law also prevented states from purging voters unless they met certain requirements.

But the Brennan report highlights how states have skirted the law and purged voters without punishment. And after the Supreme Court dismantled the requirements for voter pre-clearance with the Shelby v. Holder rulingstates with histories of voter discrimination no longer required federal pre-clearance before purging rolls.

Between 2014 and 2016, 16 million registered voters were removed from state rolls, 33 percent more than were moved between 2006 and 2008. For the election of 2012 and 2016, the Brennan Center estimates that two million fewer voters would have been purged if those states had to apply by the provisions of the Voting Rights Act.

Some of the egregious highlights of the report include:

  • In June 2016, the Arkansas secretary of state gave a list of 7,700 names to county clerks to be removed from the rolls because of supposed felony convictions. That list included people who had never been convicted of a felony and formerly convicted persons whose voting rights had been restored.
  • In 2013, Virginia deleted 39,000 names from its voting roster. In some counties, the mistakes on the list were as high as 17 percent.
  • A federal court halted a purge after Hurricane Katrina after justices found that one-third of the purged names came from a majority black parish in of New Orleans.
  • After the Shelby v. Holder decision, Texas purged 363,000 more voters than it did the election cycle before the case. Georgia purged 1.5 million more voters.
  • Alabama, Indiana and Maine have illegally instituted the widely ridiculed Crosscheck system (on which Charles D. Ellison previously reported on for The Root) that purges voters without federally-mandated notification.
  • In 1986, one Louisiana official remarked that a voter purge effort “could really keep the black vote down considerably.”
  • Instead of checking out inequities, Jeff Sessions’ Department of Justice has been urging states to do more purging.

Almost every type of voter purge disproportionately affects black voters and voters of color. Some states purge rolls based solely on names but non-whites are more likely to have the same names. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 16.3 percent of Hispanic people and 13 percent of black people have one of the 10 most common surnames, compared to 4.5 percent of white people.

Black and Hispanic voters are more likely to move, often in the same jurisdiction, but voter purges based on address eliminate them from voting. Officials also use “voter caging” which intentionally sends mail to verify addresses in a format that cannot be forwarded, leading to the disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of eligible voters.

African Americans are also more likely to have felony convictions, and elderly and minority voters are more likely to be incapacitated, all reasons for which someone can be purged from a voter roll.

Almost every study ever done on this issue shows that in-person voter fraud is almost nonexistent. Instead, these purges are intentional efforts to restrict voting rights.

Some of the easily-implementable recommendations to rectify this travesty include:

  1. Public notifications of impending voter purges.
  2. Making purge lists available to the public, including at polling places.
  3. Accepting provisional ballots from purged voters.
  4. Universal voter registration forms and rules.
  5. Stop using failure to vote as a reason to purge voters.

All of these policies seem like they would be universally-accepted fixes for a flaw in our democracy.

But then again, not having a Russian agent for a President seems like a smart thing too. How’s that working out?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Harriot

World-renowned wypipologist. Getter and doer of “it.” Never reneged, never will. Last real negus alive.    Posts

A Note from OCG

We will now have an alt-right #SCOTUS There is little that we of goodwill can do about it now. It is too late for those who would, who could have to claim their government. We all know something is wrong – it has been for a very long time. When the horse is out of the barn, it is too late to put up a reminder sign to close the door.
#Trump and his GOP puppets are the biggest and most pressing problem, but not the only ones. We are cornered on all sides. A ruthless sheriff is in town and his deputies are everywhere. Poor people have been targeted among the unwanted. Public spaces and tax-rolled law enforcement are now weaponized to dispose of and make invisible, instill fear and isolation to “otherize” those deemed unworthy. Blatant acts of violations of fundamental human rights have become normalized forms of public policy enforcement and oversight.
Protest marches and protestations of any kind will not turn the time. While we idled in our fear of the Muslims, Al-Qaeda and Iranian powers. Wall Street and Washington’s swamp creatures were sucking the very oxygen from the air. Even your vote has been stolen and put up for sale. The GOP stands behind a corrupt and vile President because they know that their fate is controlled entirely by him – manipulation is expensive. The lifetime of emissaries can be fleeting at best.
As we enter the last era of my broadcast career, our message is profoundly fundamental:
1. Exposing wrongs is not the same as righting them.
2. What we knew as America has been forever changed. What we understood about it, remains the same.
3. Governments are not moved by shame. In this era, neither are politicians.
4.  If the House is not turned in November, there will be a seismic permanent shift in the       infrastructure of the republic. One where there is no undoing.
5.  Comrades and allies must be willing to make all kinds of serious sacrifice. If not, our children and grandchildren will be the sacrifice.
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We look forward to being back with you in the Fall of 2018. Do we have what it takes to igniting the rights and dismantling the wrongs, to rescue those who don’t know they need rescuing ? I don’t know. We will see.

 

“Transforming Truth to Power, One Broadcast At a Time”

The Coming Collapse [TruthDig]

The Coming Collapse

Chris Hedges, TruthDig
Mr. Fish / Truthdig

“The Trump administration did not rise, prima facie, like Venus on a half shell from the sea. Donald Trump is the result of a long process of political, cultural and social decay. He is a product of our failed democracy. The longer we perpetuate the fiction that we live in a functioning democracy, that Trump and the political mutations around him are somehow an aberrant deviation that can be vanquished in the next election, the more we will hurtle toward tyranny. The problem is not Trump. It is a political system, dominated by corporate power and the mandarins of the two major political parties, in which we don’t count. We will wrest back political control by dismantling the corporate state, and this means massive and sustained civil disobedience, like that demonstrated by teachers around the country this year. If we do not stand up we will enter a new dark age . . .

. . . “The leadership of the party, the Clintons, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Tom Perez, are creations of corporate America. In an open and democratic political process, one not dominated by party elites and corporate money, these people would not hold political power. They know this. They would rather implode the entire system than give up their positions of privilege. And that, I fear, is what will happen. The idea that the Democratic Party is in any way a bulwark against despotism defies the last three decades of its political activity. It is the guarantor of despotism.” . . .

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Chris Hedges
Columnist
Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, New York Times best selling author, former professor at Princeton University, activist and ordained Presbyterian minister. He has written 11 books,…
Mr. Fish
Cartoonist
Mr. Fish, also known as Dwayne Booth, is a cartoonist who primarily creates for Truthdig.com and Harpers.com. Mr. Fish’s work has also appeared nationally in The Los Angeles Times, The Village Voice, Vanity…

Trump can’t make America white again

Opinion writer

Racism is a feature of the Trump administration, not a bug. Like demagogues before him, President Trump and his aides consistently single out one group for scapegoating and persecution: nonwhite Hispanic immigrants.

Trump doesn’t much seem to like nonwhite newcomers from anywhere, in truth — remember how he once expressed a fond wish for more immigrants from Norway? — but he displays an especially vicious antipathy toward men, women and even children from Latin America. We have not seen such overt racism from a president since Woodrow Wilson imposed Jim Crow segregation in Washington and approvingly showed “The Birth of a Nation,” director D.W. Griffith’s epic celebration of the Ku Klux Klan, at the White House.

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    Opinion writer, Washington Post Newspaper

Freedom Rider: Ocasio-Cortez and the Left

Freedom Rider: Ocasio-Cortez and the Left

Margaret Kimberley, BAR editor and senior columnist

“Ocasio-Cortez deserves credit for beating a corrupt but powerful system.”

Freedom Rider: Ocasio-Cortez and the Left

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a living Rorschach test for leftists. Her primary win over incumbent Joseph Crowley in a New York City congressional district is impressive on many levels. But the reaction to her victory demonstrates the sad state of affairs of left wing politics in this country.

The contradictory responses from people who are otherwise in agreement is the result of defeat after defeat and the lack of consensus on how to change the paradigm. The Democrats are the putative party of progressives but over the years they have morphed into a center right formation that differs all too little from the far right Republicans.

Regardless of motive Crowley was, as the saying goes, “phoning it in.” He had a lackluster debate performance and then didn’t show up for another. Instead he sent a former City Council Member to represent him. That level of disrespect was punished when voters went to the polls. It is true that turnout was low but such is the always the case in primary races. A win is a win and Ocasio-Cortez deserves credit for beating a corrupt but powerful system.

“The Democratic Party gas lighting which blames Jill Stein or Bernie Sanders or Vladimir Putin has been all too successful.”

Now the Democrats can’t even muster a “lesser evilism” argument after having lost state houses, Congress and, finally, the presidency. Left wing disdain for them is well deserved but there is still no agreed upon mechanism for ending their rule. In addition, the fear of being labeled a spoiler is still quite strong. The unbridled racism of the Donald Trump administration doesn’t make the debate any easier. The Democratic Party gas lighting which blames Jill Stein or Bernie Sanders or Vladimir Putin has been all too successful. The protection racket for failure has worked quite well.

Ocasio-Cortez is in the unenviable position of being dismissed by some leftists because she is a Democrat at all or lionized by others when she ought to be called to account. The Democratic Party bosses have already dismissed the significance of her win over a man who had a 10:1 fund raising advantage. That in itself is reason to give her credit. A large war chest is used not just to defeat but to scare off challengers before they can even mount a campaign. It isn’t surprising that Democratic Party leadership seek to minimize her achievement. If others follow in her footsteps the house of cards may begin to wobble.

“Ocasio-Cortez’s Peace Economy platform disappeared from her campaign website.”

Even Latino political leadership didn’t back her. Crowley’s debate stand-in was Latina and even Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz, Jr. lamented Crowley’s loss. “It’s unfortunate he had a primary,” said Diaz. “We need him in Washington D.C. Washington is about consistency and seniority.” It seems that black people aren’t the only group with a misleadership class.

But Ocasio-Cortez can’t be let off the hook either. Astute observers noticed that her Peace Economy platform disappeared from her campaign website. She blamed a volunteer-run web team and promised to “look into it.” A few days later the statement reemerged but doubters such as this columnist believe that it would never have reappeared if she hadn’t been questioned about its absence.

Ocasio-Cortez is expected to be all things to a desperate group of people. She both benefits from her connection to Bernie Sanders and is tainted by his sheep dogging for the Democrats. Yet she is rightly held up as a hopeful sign by people eager to see even a small chance of progressive politics taking hold. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is actually not the only issue for debate. The discredited Democratic Party and the inability of leftists to mount a successful attack against it should also be a focal point of discussion.

“Even Ocasio-Cortez falls prey to using liberal gibberish about America being a ‘force for good.’”

The Democrats have purged any semblance of progressive politics from their ranks. Democratic party attacks and Republican chicanery were used to end Cynthia McKinney’s congressional career. When Ohio lost a congressional seat after the last census it was no surprise that Dennis Kucinich ended up with the short straw. There isn’t one Democratic member of congress who consistently advances an anti-war platform. Even Ocasio-Cortez falls prey to using liberal gibberish about America being a “force for good” and demanding congressional approval for wars that should never be waged at all. But if she wins her general election in November she will be the lone member who says anything at all about the issues of war and peace.

Yet it is proper, indeed it is necessary, to call her to account when she follows Bernie Sanders and others in repeating unproven assertions that the Russian government helped Trump to victory. She can’t be held up as a progressive icon if she sounds like the imperialist democrats eager to deflect blame for their failures.

“There isn’t one Democratic member of congress who consistently advances an anti-war platform.”

In the final analysis progressives should keep Ocasio-Cortez under scrutiny lest she fall prey to big money and the pull of a partywhich wants to stamp out any and all divergence from their losing but powerful apparatus. The Democrats are openly backing former intelligence operatives and ex-military candidates to win in November. Ocasio-Cortez should be supported if only to fight against the Democrats and their ever more rightward moves.

The fight isn’t hers alone. The difficult discussions, debates and struggles must be waged by everyone. If not the leftist perpetual beat down will go on without resolution. We will be left with endless and useless argument rather than finding a way to make successful progressive politics a reality.

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com . Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.

black agenda report

Here’s the Corrupt Financial Web That Links the Trump and Kennedy Families

Behind every great fortune there exists a crime.

Balzac knew that behind every great fortune there is a crime. But if he were contemplating the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, the great French novelist might have put it another way: Behind every great crime is another crime.

As a way of looking at a presidency that is enamored of every possible felony — self-dealing, conflicts of interest, emoluments, collusion with foreign governments and domestic corporations — crime-breeds-crime is a reasonable way to look at any Trump-related event.

But the resignation of a Supreme Court justice?

Because Trump cares so much about money, that’s been suggested. And there’s smoke: the links between Trump, Kennedy and Kennedy’s son Justin. In years past we’d call that the League of White Men, taking care of their own, behind the scenes, The Way It Is. Today we tend to call it something else: collusion.

Here’s why. On the surface, Kennedy’s resignation looked textbook: He’ll leave effective July 31, at the end of the Supreme Court term, as is traditional. But he announced it on June 27. Hand-delivering his letter to the Oval Office was no surprise to the White House, which had a list of candidates ready to roll out. Trump says he’ll announce his nominee on July 9.

Why the rush?

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Barack Hussein Obama II, 44th President of the United States—how good must we be to gain their respect? :: Christian Fabien

Christian Fabien
January 12, 2017

12119159_183744165297349_7008125353807309659_nIf Barack Obama doesn’t represent the end of respectability politics, nothing does.

If the way that man dropped his middle name and lost all accent and did limbo—drinking in Irish pubs and eating sloppy joes and casseroles and killing Muslims and keeping the military industrial complex’s wars and not taking Billy John’s guns; toning down his own swag and terrorist fist bumps, no longer brushing off his shoulder—did nothing to make whyte America feel safe, there’s no argument to be made for appeasing the boogey men in the minds of whyte folks. There’s no PhD that can match the degree of servitude Our Shining Black Hope expressed over eight years in the face of the fears of ignorant, pre-logical, post-factual whyte folks.

The only thing that matches his kowtowing at their runaway imaginations is the utter contempt they showed by coming out of their Middle American caves to the polls two months ago. The only thing that matches the amount of way he gave them is the amount of power rich whyte men wielded to make sure that his crowning achievement would be passing the baton to the least worthy of them as if to say, “A monkey could do this job; an abject failure—more of a failure than the buffon who came before Obama can do this job.”

No, America: This replacement is not of equal or greater value. Maybe the Russian prostitutes are not a fact, but the way you’ve urinated on the legacy of Hope is all too true.

Barack Obama—President 44 of the United States of America Barack Obama—was a Good Negro. So good that some of us in the field saw him go into the House every night while the slave patrols murdered us in the streets for snuff films and left our bodies out in the street like Willie Lynch letters and we still meme’d him and loved him and wanted him to win and are praying to this day and every other of his life that he dies the natural death of a man, not that of a King on a balcony.

President Barack Obama pulled his pants up so high we couldn’t see his eyes; just his smile. He crossed his T’s and dotted his I’s and spoke the Queen’s English so well that his words smelled like tea and crumpets and tasted like Marmite. Love it or hate it, he spread his obsequiousness all over their daily bread, knowing where his was buttered.

Barack Hussein Obama II, 44th President of the United States spoke the Lie of Progress in the only way a whyte folks will hear it; in the way that says, “We will be patient and submerge our desire—our right—to be treated as men and women and human children to your comfort. We will not ask anything of you that disturbs your predilection for treating our cultures and religions like fashion accessories and glurges.”

He spoke the Lie of Progress in living rooms and in schools, at farms and on factory floors, at diners and on distant military outposts, wearing bullet-proof suits that covered the whipping scars on his back, his pants up to his eyes so that no one would see him cry.

He spoke the Great Lie to those who asked for his birth certificate, to those who asked what he did for a living and how he earned that car he was riding in and marveled at how articulate he was while telling his wife to go back to Africa to dance with simians because they were her family.

Through it all, 44—the Man, the Legend, the living history and culmination of so much Hope—smiled, rarely giving glimpse to the enervation borne of submission. In that way, he was like us, and we saw ourselves in him.

So, now what do we see? What do we see as he walks into the pages of history, retreating to the relative protection of his legacy and status and opportunity while the worst of our lifetimes is about to happen? How well-dressed and smart must we be? Is it possible to be well-dressed and smart and articulate enough to assuage the fears of whyte folk who think that Rise of the Planet of the Apes is prediction while thinking that 1984 is not?

We’re not that good.

In spite of his flaws, and because of the way he carried them, Barack Obama was twice as good as at the best of us and he got half the respect of the worst of us. He got half the respect and is being replaced by a guy who would not be the smartest man in the room were he the only man in the room.

When they believe that the top pick of the Talented Tenth is equal to a man who is one-tenth of his predecessor; that a man who sits on a gold throne in a gold tower at the bottom percentile of emotional intelligence can occupy the same seat as Barack Hussein Obama II, 44th President of the United States—how good must we be to gain their respect?

Why would we even want to?

About Christian Fabien

Christian Fabien·

Check him out on Facebook  Lives in Los Angeles, California From Port-au-Prince, Haiti · Lived in Houston, Texas

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