Column: Grand Old Party Of Voter Suppression

This story was written by Paul Cruse III,
Paul Weyrich, pundit and founder of the conservative Heritage Foundation, said, "Our leverage in elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down."It is this ideology that has fueled the Republican Party to wage war on voters. The Republican Party has played every dirty trick possible, from distributing flyers with fake voting information to purposely sabotaging software in Diebold voting machines in California. Now with the election slipping out of their grasp, they are resorting to more disturbing tactics to steal yet another election.That Republicans have been attempting to suppress and steal votes is nothing new. A recent Rolling Stone column lists the many attempts the Republican Party has made to subvert elections. For example, Republican White House officials, lobbyists and congressmen manipulated congressional legislation, like the Help America Vote Act, to actually make it more difficult for Americans to vote. When this corruption was discovered, it led to the resignation of U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the imprisonment of Florida Representative Bob Ney, Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff and White House officials J. Steven Griles and David Safavian.But the result of their actions were still heavily felt. According to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, 2.7 million new voters had their registration application rejected, and 1.6 million votes in 2004 were never counted.Now, the GOP is attempting to delegitimize the expected results of the 2008 election by attacking the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, which has helped register over 400,000 people to vote in key battleground states according to The New York Times. By law, ACORN has to turn in all forms, even when they are incorrectly filled out. Often, it is ACORN who flags phony registration forms and notifies election officials to throw them out. Even when ACORN misses botched forms, the forms still have to go through rigorous inspections.Furthermore, if someone is caught committing voter fraud, they will spend up to 10 years in jail. That would be longer than their candidate could be in office; they would never even experience the administration they help put in power. That is why voter fraud is so low in America. According to a recent analysis done by Lori Minnite, an expert on voting crimes at Barnard College, only 24 voters were found guilty of voter fraud from 2002-05.The GOP's attack on ACORN is meant to distract from their own devious deeds. In Michigan, the Democratic Party sued the GOP over attempting to use home foreclosure lists to deny lower class African-Americans the right to vote. The Republicans were attempting to identify people who had lost their homes by showing that the address on their ID and registration card list did not match. And in their attempt to do this, Michigan Republicans were receiving local help.According to the Michigan Messenger, David Trott, a foreclosure specialist who has given $100,000 to the McCain campaign, allowed Republican lawyers to use his law office as their regional headquarters. When confronted with these allegations, the GOP was forced to settle the lawsuit, thus acknowledging there was an attempt to commit this despicable act.More offensive than their goal was their tactics. They were deliberately targeting African-American voters. Blacks were the most likely to be denied the chance to vote because, according to the Michigan Department of Labor Economic Growth, they were given 60 percent of all sub-prime loans (which have collapsed). Blacks, who historically vote Democrat, could have a huge effect on the Michigan race.Republicans have stooped to a new hypocritical low. They scream about accusations of voter fraud while they themselves attempt to play the system. Obviously, this sort of conduct hurts the American election process but also damages the world's view of us. We claim to be the most fre country in the world, yet we fail to act it.

It is in my opinion that this country is the best place to live, and I wouldn't go anywhere else, but the horrible behavior of some in the Republican Party cause me to lose faith in our country. This systematic approach to suppressing voters, to quote John McCain, could destroy the fabric of our democracy