By State Representative, Leon D. Young
Under the guise of alleging rampant voter fraud by the GOP, millions of eligible voters are now at-risk of being denied their right to vote. In reality, the incidence of actual voter fraud (where a voter casts a ballot illegally) is so minuscule — it’s virtually non-existent, statistically speaking.
The GOP response, to this “alleged problem” that doesn’t really exist, has been nothing short of draconian in nature. In 2011, there were 34 states nationwide that debated creating more restrictive voter ID rules. It’s estimated that 11 percent of Americans – about 21 million people – don’t have government issued IDs, and the vast majority of them are people of color, senior citizens and younger voters.
As insidious as these earlier attempts have been in trying to limit voter turnout and participation, the GOP has added some new wrinkles in 2012, in an effort to suppress certain factions of the democratic base.
Mitt Romney has been clandestinely recorded talking to a group of large business employers asking them to try and influence the voting preference of their employees.
If that wasn’t despicable enough, a former Republican operative, Colin Small, was recently charged after tossing voter registration forms in Virginia . This individual [Small] was an employee of the first firm the Republican Party of Virginia hired to do voter registration before they fired that firm amidst allegations of fraud in other states.
Truncating or restricting the early voting process is another way that the GOP is deliberately trying to marginalize Black,Latino and elderly voters in this election cycle.
In Florida, Republican Governor, Rick Scott, put forth a plan to do away with half of Florida ’s early voting days. And just last month, federal judge Timothy Corrigan, a George W. Bush appointee, ruled that there was not sufficient evidence that the reduced schedule would disenfranchise Black voters, allowing the state to cut required early voting days from 14 to 8.
In the battleground states of Ohio and Wisconsin, the GOP has been using another unscrupulous tactic to quell minority voter participation. Anonymous billboards began appearing in Black and Latino communities in Cleveland, Columbus and Milwaukee warning against voter fraud — in an attempt to intimidate voters.
The ads read:
Voter Fraud is a Felony!
3 1/2 years and $10,000 fine
Clear Channel has declined to identify the client that bought the billboard ads, but has recently decided to take these anonymous ads down. As we have seen on numerous occasions, Mitt Romney will do and say anything to get elected. It now appears that the same can be said about the GOP, which will engage in any nefarious act of voter suppression in order to make Barack Obama a one-term president.