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The Current Situation

Coming in a few months to the U.S.: An honest-to-goodness banana republic-style election

Illustration: Line of voters -- people of color, older people, and women -- facing a giant Trump-elephant hybrid creature blocking their access to a polling booth. (Illustration by Victor Juhasz for Rolling Stone.)

Everything you need to know about the Republicans’ approach to the upcoming U.S. presidential election is encapsulated in the second paragraph of the Rolling Stone article The Plot Against America: The GOP’s Plan to Suppress the Vote and Sabotage the Election:

“My biggest risk is that we don’t win lawsuits,” Trump told the Politico reporter he’d invited. He was referring to the series of lawsuits filed by his campaign and the Republican National Committee that fight the expansion of mail-in voting and seek to limit access to the ballot box in November. “We have many lawsuits going all over,” he said. “And if we don’t win those lawsuits, I think — I think it puts the election at risk.”

Excerpt from the 1982 consent decree: “2. The RNC and RSC (hereafter collective referred to as the ‘party committees’) agree that they will in the future, in all states and territories of the United States: (a) comply with all applicable state and federal laws protecting the rights of duly qualified citizens to vote for the candidate(s) of their choice;”
The RNC DNC consent decree to 1982. Tap to see the document.

Another “highlight” of the article — more accurately, it’s a “lowlight” — is the story of how a 1982 consent decree between the Republican and Democratic parties came to be.

In 1981, when Lynette Monroe, a person of color in New Jersey, went to vote, she was stopped by a group called the National Ballot Security Task Force. They asked if she had a voter registration card. She didn’t, but you can be a registered voter and not have one, and you can still vote. She was turned away, preventing her from voting.

The Democratic Party filed a lawsuit, and the result was that while the Republicans did not formally admit to any wrong-doing — as is their wont — they agreed to stop those particular dirty tricks to intimidate and disenfranchise voters of color.

Until 2018, the Democrats were able to collect enough evidence of ongoing voter suppression by the Republicans to keep up the decree. Then, a federal judge lifted the order, and the decree is no longer in effect. The Trump campaign lawyer calls this “a huge, huge, huge, huge deal.”

(Now you know one reason why the Repubs have been working hard to stack the courts with judges of their choosing.)

For more on the decree, read this article: All About The RNC’s 1982 Consent Decree To Stop Violating The Voting Rights Act.

Photo: The chairwoman of Hillsborough County Democratic Party, Ione Townsend, assists people wishing to register to vote in January after regaining that right because of Amendment 4. (Photo by Tampa Bay Times)
The chairwoman of Hillsborough County Democratic Party, Ione Townsend, assists people wishing to register to vote in January after regaining that right because of Amendment 4. Tap to see the source.

In the 2018 elections in Florida, nearly 65 percent of the voters approved Amendment 4, which would:

automatically restore the right to vote for people with prior felony convictions, except those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense, upon completion of their sentences, including prison, parole, and probation.

This overturned a Florida law from the Jim Crow-era whose intent was to keep black people from voting.

The problem is that Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who has shown with COVID-19 that he has a singular talent for making bad things worse, urged the legislature that felons who have completed their sentences must also pay off all court fees, fines and restitution to victims before they are allowed to vote. The Supreme Court has decided not to weigh in on a lower court ruling supporting this, which means that if you’ve paid your debt to society, but not the ancillary fees, you can’t vote.

By that logic, if you owe any back taxes or have any unpaid fines, you too should also not be allowed to vote.

To find out more about why felony disenfrancishement is bad, see this segment from Last Week Tonight:

Of course, the ultimate confirmation that voter suppression is taking place is National Review saying that it isn’t. Especially when professional turd Erick Erickson is writing that article.

 

 

 

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