Suppress The Vote
by Erik Nielsen
The stench of cheap brandished Trump steaks can be likened to the new Republican party and the men hiding behind red — not for country, but for power.
Georgia’s race for governor is drawing national attention and for good reason. The voter suppression tactics are an act of cowardice by Secretary of State Jeff Kemp who is desperate to win the election. Kemp is someone comfortable with tying the hands behind the backs of people who already have a long history of putting their lives on the line for their right to vote and have their voices heard. The leaked audio tape revealing Kemp’s concerns about the voter turnout of his opponent, Stacey Abrams, (who, if elected, would be the first black female governor in the history of this country) and worries about people exercising their right to vote in such large numbers is sadly a tired but familiar qualm shared by Republicans. These contemporary issues harken back to the days of literacy tests in the Jim Crow era to now, when buses full of black senior citizens, on their way to the polls, are being stopped due to “unlawful political activity.” Which in itself, was made up by Georgia lawmen in an attempt to scare and stop them from voting.
It is also infuriating to see that the man, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, running for office, is currently in a position where he is in charge of overseeing the electoral process and can abide by his own rule of law. “Potential conflict of interest.”, as said by former president Jimmy Carter, is an understatement to something so blatantly obvious. Especially when you consider the fact that 70% of the voters purged from the polls in the last month in the state of Georgia are African-American and nearly 10% of the population over the last 4 years. 1.5 million voters have been purged in a state whose population is roughly 10 million.
In fact, the laws put in place by Kemp, such as the “if you don’t use it, you lose it” law, was originally shot down by federal courts in 2009. Then in 2013, the Shelby v. Holden case eviscerated the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which protected voters in southern states known for prejudicial suppression tactics. Hours after this decision, states like Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia enacted new voter I.D. and voter protection laws that would ensure the voices of minority groups be silenced.
The growing diversity and shift in demographics are worrisome to the large, white male commissary that is the Republican party. Their so-called “voter protection laws” are not to protect the voter but to protect themselves, the ones who are governing and to ensure they keep their seat of power. It is a slap in the face to democracy and an act of resistance to the necessary fabrics that create and uphold a free, open society. All voters must be given equal footing and an opportunity to have their voices heard in the form of a vote inside that ballot box on November 6th.
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