A Response to Voter Suppression: Educate, Organize and Mobilizeby Greater Diversity News June 5, 2015
(thethirdreconstruction.com) — Several weeks ago I wrote an article intended to be an alert to Black voters of the threat that the 2013 NC Voter Suppression Act, aka, the NC Voter Information Verification Act, posed to Black citizens desiring to participate in the General Election in November 2016. I’m very encouraged with the numerous responses that I’ve received. However, just because I’m encouraged by the quality of the responses doesn’t mean that the threat is not very serious; this means that people that can defeat voter suppression are ready to engage.
Our plan to engage is quite simple, use the Black press to educate our Black church community and others to the threat that voter suppression poses to the well-being of Black communities and to steps that can be taken to defeat the aspirations of the advocates of voter suppression. The task may seem simple but it is by no means easy. The task requires responding to the resources of the rich and the super-rich as exemplified by the likes of Art Pope, the Koch Brothers and many other moneyed elites that are funding this vicious, un-democratic attack on the citizenship of Blacks and others.
As the Black press engages in the defense of the right to vote of Black and other citizens, it is imperative to know that we cannot succeed without substantial financial support from those that support voting as the primary guarantee of American democracy and those that depend upon Black and progressive votes to get elected. We welcome comments from readers, pro and con, that wish to express themselves and otherwise engage on this issue.
It is important to inform readers that are new to the detailed history of voter suppression of what I’ve been writing about since November 2013. The mantra of my articles on voter suppression is “educate, organize, and mobilize.” In the future I will re-visit points made in earlier articles and address misleading critiques being offer by voter suppression advocates today. However, it’s important that I not try to do too much in one commentary.
However, there are two suggestions that the voter suppression advocates make today that I’ll address herein. They assert and infer that the Voter Suppression Act is not designed to prevent Black voters from voting and that voter ID is the sole issue in the voter suppression debate. It is also important for our readers to understand that when I write, I write from the perspective of the Third Reconstruction. (See www.thethirdreconstruction.com)
The first issue deals with whether the Voter Suppression Act is designed to prevent Blacks from access to the ballot. I’ll continue to address this deception by the advocates but for now I’ll stress our need to remember 400 hundred years of Black history in America. From 1638 and the enactment of the Maryland Doctrine of Exclusion to 1865 and the end of the legal enslavement of Black people, Blacks were denied the right of citizenship in many northern states and the states of the Confederacy and therefore denied the right to vote. That was the ultimate in voter suppression.
After the Civil War, in 1865, Blacks were granted citizenship and the theoretical right to vote therewith. This was the era of the First Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and the creation of the Ku Klux Klan. Jim Crow laws (legal segregation) and the Ku Klux Klan were used to implement the historical public policy of America to “prevent Blacks from enjoying the fruits of White society.” Jim Crow laws and the Ku Klux Klan effectively enforced Black voter suppression from 1865 until 1965 and the passage of the Voting Rights Act. The 2013 US Supreme Court Decision in Shelby v. Alabama effectively gutted the voting protections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. So now for many elected officials, voter suppression is the order of the day.
The other major deception of the voter suppression advocate is the suggestion that voter ID is the only issue and that it is necessary to prevent voter fraud. The fallacy of this deception is that after years of voting, millions of votes cast, and endless allegations of fraud, the advocates have not been able to document any meaningful fraud that would be prevented by voter ID. In addition to the voter ID provisions of the Voter Suppression Act of 2013, the law contained over 20 other provisions that make it more difficult and in certain cases, impossible for some citizens to vote. Some of the other provisions cut back on early voting days, prevent out of precinct voting, end same day registration, curb Sunday voting (Souls to the polls), end high school registration, cut off election voting at 7:00 p.m. regardless of whether there is a line of voters waiting to vote and it goes on and on. Going forward I’ll continue to point out the targeting of Blacks and others with the Voter Suppression Act.
The historic timelines herein represent historical facts that I regularly address when I speak and write about the Third Reconstruction.
Also, as I’ve written previously, the Black press should be a primary tool used to effectively educate, organize, and mobilize Black voters, ministers and communities, as only the Black press can. It should be adequately funded with advertising dollars that provide the operating capital that we need to deliver for our people and the other progressives that depend on the Black vote to get elected. The way that the Black press has been utilized in past elections will not be adequate for the mobilization needed in November 2016.
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