Tag Archives: voter suppression

Texas Democrats to ask SCOTUS for help in voting by mail

This is likely a bit of a reach, but perhaps the Texas Democratic Party is heartened by the U.S. Supreme Court decision to include LGBTQ Americans as those who are protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Texas Democrats today have asked the Supreme Court to weigh in on the issue of voting by mail, something Democrats want and which Republicans oppose. The high court had been seen by many as a fallback for rigid GOP conservatism; the LGBTQ ruling, though, now suggests there might be a glimmer of independence inside the nine-member Supreme Court.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has put the brakes on a lower court Texas ruling that cleared the way for voting by mail. The Fifth Circuit sided with GOP officials who keep arguing that vote by mail is too fraught with potential corruption, despite claims to the contrary by elections officials in states that have all-mail voting.

At issue is that damn pandemic that is infecting and killing Americans. Democrats are concerned that in-person voting might expose too many Americans to the COVID-19 virus. They want to boost voter turnout by allowing all-mail voting, something Republicans dislike seemingly because it would invite too many anti-Donald Trump voters to cast their ballots for president this fall.

This is no big flash, but I am standing with Democrats on this one. They have reason to be concerned about “voter suppression,” which is being practiced in the guise of protecting us against “rampant voter fraud” that simply doesn’t exist.

Donald Trump is cooking up this excuse because he fears the outcome of an election that produces massive voter turnout. His GOP allies out here in Trump Country are lining up behind him.

Democrats, meanwhile, are turning to the Supreme Court for a decision on the matter. As the Texas Tribune reports, Democrats want the court to rule on a Fifth Circuit “block on a sweeping ruling that would allow all Texas voters who are seeking to avoid becoming infected at in-person polling places to instead vote by mail. Early voting for the July 14 primary runoff election begins on June 29.”

And … yes, this has implications down the road, for the presidential election in November.

Voter fraud issue is, um, a fraud

I want to give a serious full-throated shout-out to The Hill newspaper for providing a marvelous bit of perspective on the phony issue of voter fraud as it concerns the possibility of an all-mail vote for president of the United States later this year.

To sum it up: The fraudulent vote issue is a fraudulent allegation.

There you have it.

The Hill takes pains to point out that mail fraud is the rarest of political events in the United States. Moreover, it points out that in the state that began all-mail voting, the instance of mail fraud is even more rare than it is nationally. Oregon, the state where I was born, was the first of our states to conduct all-mail voting and has enjoyed great success in protecting the sanctity of this cherished right of citizenship.

Read The Hill story here.

Voter fraud has become a red herring, a canard, a phony excuse to keep more Americans from voting. Republicans are leading the amen chorus seeking to persuade Americans that mail-in voting invites fraudulent ballot-casting. The leader of that chorus is Donald John “Stable Genius in Chief” Trump, who of course tosses out that demagogic rhetoric without a scintilla of evidence to back it up.

All-mail voting is not the way I want to cast my ballot, but if the coronavirus is going to suppress the balloting because Americans fear potential deadly exposure to the virus, then all-mail voting is reasonable — and secure — alternative.

The voter fraud demagoguery needs to be called out for what it is: a bald-faced effort to suppress voter turnout as a dodge to protect certain politicians’ from losing their cherished perches of power.

More, not fewer, voters make democracy work

One of the obligatory editorials I would write back when I was a working stiff involved seeking to get voters to get off their duffs and do their duty as citizens of this great country.

Their duty involved voting. One of the arguments I sought to make at three newspapers where I wrote these opinion pieces was a straightforward one: More voters, not fewer of them, create a stronger democratic system.

Thus, when I hear arguments from mostly Republican officials who want to suppress voter participation, why, it just infuriates me to no end.

GOP officials in Texas and elsewhere are flinging the red herring about “rampant voter fraud” by opposing mail-in voting. What they really intend to do is to prevent voters from casting ballots particularly in this frightening moment … with the world reeling from the global coronavirus pandemic.

This bit of idiocy even came from the nation’s No. 1 Republican, Donald “Imbecile in Chief” Trump, who said mail-in voting — in addition to promoting voter fraud — would doom Republicans from getting elected. Keep that in mind. I’ll get back to that.

A federal judge recently ruled that Texans who fear coming down with the COVID-19 virus by voting in person on Election Day are free to cast their ballots by mail; the U.S. Fifth Circuit of Appeals, though, put the brakes on the judge’s ruling. So we’re now back to Square One.

Republicans in Texans, led by Attorney General Ken Paxton, appear more frightened at the prospect of more voters taking part in an all-mail election. Paxton hides behind the bogus notion of “widespread voter fraud.” The five states that conduct their elections by mail-in voting report no evidence of rampant fraudulent voting. Is there some voter fraud? Sure. There also is fraudulent voting when citizens cast their ballots on Election Day — in polling booths.

Back to my fundamental point. My argument about more voters making for a stronger democratic system than fewer of them holds up now as it has all along.

Paltry voter turnouts undeniably hand more power to fewer people. They deny consensus decisions. They result in voters ceding the power granted to them in the U.S. Constitution to someone who might feel differently about issues and candidates.

Thus, if we are facing an ongoing global pandemic, I want there to be a mail-in option to ensure greater voter turnout. I want a stronger, not a weaker, democratic system.

Memo to Trumpkins: Voting by mail is secure … period!

I have a number of Trumpkins among my many social media contacts. Some of them are actual friends of mine; others are members of my family; the rest are just, well, folks who take some measure of joy out of blasting my anti-Donald Trump thoughts on this blog.

Let’s try this one: Mail-in voting does not invite voter fraud. It is not corrupt, as Donald Trump his own self has alleged. It works in the states that allow it.

We ought to be able to vote by mail for president of the United States in November.

You know already that voting by mail is not my preferred method. I would rather troop to the polling place, stand in line and then cast my ballot on Election Day.

Circumstances, though, have overtaken that process. We have this thing called the coronavirus pandemic that’s infecting thousands of Americans daily. It has killed more of us than those who died during the Vietnam War and that number of fatalities continues to climb.

So what is the alternative to traditional voting for president this fall? Mail-in balloting works for me. It ought to work for all Americans who are interested in having their voices heard.

Have I mentioned that I want Joe Biden to defeat Donald Trump in that election? I guess I just did.

My concern about the upcoming presidential election is steeped more in the preservation of our fundamental right as citizens. We should be always encourage more citizens to vote, not seek to suppress that participation, which could be one result of declining to allow mail-in balloting and exposing Americans to the threat of a deadly viral infection by requiring them to cast their Election Day votes in polling places.

Texas isn’t exactly clamoring for the chance to vote by mail. We remain behind the electoral reform curve on that issue, just as we have been lagging in testing equipment available to detect the COVID-19 infection among Texans. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, furthermore, said he plans to appeal a judicial ruling handed down recently that paves the way for mail-in voting in Texas.

Trump wants to tamp down voter turnout. He denigrates mail-in balloting by saying it is “corrupt.” He offers no proof. He just makes reckless, ridiculous accusations. Meanwhile, secretaries of states that work in states that do allow mail-in voting tell us that they secure those ballots; they require voters to prove their eligibility; they report the tiniest of fractions of voter fraud. In effect, they tell us that there is no evidence of the voter corruption that Trump and others say exists.

If we want good government, then we need to have more — not fewer — citizens participating in the fundamental right of citizenship. If mail-in voting is the cure for what ails us while we battle a killer infection … then bring it!

Ga. governor candidate ends bid, but doesn’t ‘concede’

Stacey Abrams’s decision to end her bid to become Georgia’s next governor concluded with one of the more, um, interesting non-concession speeches in modern political history.

The Democratic candidate said this week she is ending her campaign to defeat Republican Gov.-elect Brian Kemp, but that she will continue to fight his election in the courts.

I have to agree with the defeated candidate. She deserves the right to have he court system determine whether there was sufficient voter suppression hanky-panky to affect the outcome of the bitterly fought campaign for Georgia governor.

Kemp had served as Georgia’s secretary of state until he resigned the office after the midterm election. I found the timing of his resignation to be, shall we say, a bit dubious.

There were questions raised about the manner in which Kemp managed the voter registration process leading up to the election, such as his decision to essentially disqualify thousands of voters, most of whom happened to be African-American — the same ethnicity as his Democratic opponent, Abrams.

Kemp, quite naturally, denied any wrongdoing, saying he was following the law.

However, the idea that the secretary of state who administers a state election system running for governor of that state does raise conflict of interest questions.

So, Abrams is done running for governor this time around. I suspect we might see her again in the future, given that she lost this race by the narrowest of margins. Her hope was that the final ballots being counted would bring Kemp’s total to below the 50-percent plus one vote margin needed for outright victory, forcing a runoff election between them.

It wasn’t to be.

So now she is seeking legal recourse, which is her right.

Let’s allow the court system to decide this matter once and for all.