Itara O’Connell: The politics of voting
In response to Norm Sauer’s July 19 column, “Are California voters being disenfranchised?” — I’m not so sure that your premise, “everyone agrees that protecting our citizens’ right to vote (and choose their leaders) is most important,” is supported by the facts.
It’s important to me and maybe to you. But to a lot of politicians, the vote is to be manipulated for their purposes.
For example, gerrymandering happens at an obscene level in different parts of the country. Texas, with a history of discriminatory gerrymandering, was investigated by the Justice Department for having drawn lines to ensure a Republican outcome. In my district, California District 1, the line has been drawn to exclude the Bay Area, which would dramatically change the outcome in our elections.
Other states, like Florida, inaccurately purged their voter rolls of names that look similar to felons’ names, even those with different middle names. This purge resulted in legal voters being taken off the rolls, on purpose, causing chaos at the polls. Take the example of the Supreme Court deciding to not count the votes in Florida, resulting in the selection of Bush over Gore, who did win the popular vote. It turns out voter suppression is a bigger problem that voter fraud. Here are some examples employed in Republican-run elections:
Special IDs required.
Students must vote in their home district, not at school.
Registering Democrats and throwing the registration form out.
Limiting voting days and polling places.
The conservative Supreme Court ending voter protections in the south.
The conservative Supreme Court allowing unlimited dark money to flow into campaigns (dismantling the integrity of elections?).
Prohibiting felons to vote, even after they have served their sentence, which has disenfranchised many black citizens.
Sending out postcards listing the wrong voting date.
As the dictator Stalin aptly pointed out, “It’s not the voters that count; it’s who counts the votes.” If you have a problem at the polls and you get a provisional ballot, it will not be counted except in very tight races. Often military ballots are not counted as they tend to arrive late at the elections office.
It is highly unlikely that Californians’ votes were stolen. How does a minuscule number of illegal votes (if there were any) “steal” the votes of millions of legal voters? As to “illegal aliens” voting, that would be very rare, as “illegal aliens” are careful not to put their names and addresses on government forms, even if it would help them obtain driver’s licenses or report domestic violence. Assuming that “illegal aliens” would take the substantial risk to register and vote also assumes that a person barely surviving would have the energy to decide whether to vote Democrat or Republican. In the Latino community, Obama was known as the Deporter in Chief.
Dead people may still be on the voter rolls if they died outside the county where they are registered. It is unlikely that all dead voters were Democrats or that their families would risk felony charges to vote Democrat on their behalf.
You claim that Democrats have a “systematic, well-funded effort to dismantle the integrity of the election administration.” I find this claim to be ludicrous. Where is your documentation for that sweeping accusation? No offense to my fellow Democrats, but nothing in the Democratic party (in my 40 years’ experience) is systematic or well funded, except for the politicians (you can thank pharmaceutical and gas corporations for that since it is the well-funded politicians that cannot bring themselves to vote for publicly-funded campaigns).
Study after study shows that voter fraud is practically nonexistent. Check for yourself. Nine cases of fraud out of millions of voters in five years of data between 2000 and 2005.
The reason we don’t want to hand over voter information to Donald Trump is not because we are hiding millions of illegal voters but because we fear potential misuse of our private information. Trump didn’t ask each registrar to check and scrub voter rolls. He demands your personal information, such as Social Security numbers, along with your registration and how you voted to be sent to a central location in Washington. The committee he has appointed to oversee this task has a political agenda to prove that Trump won the popular vote. This is a waste of taxpayer dollars.
The suspected goal really is not to “make clean” the voter rolls, but to collect information on people whose vote is intended to be private.
Itara O’Connell lives in Grass Valley.
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