RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment
Print

Stern writes: "In 2008, Barack Obama squeaked out an unexpected win in Indiana thanks in part to his huge margin of victory in Marion County, which has a large population of black Democrats. The state's Republicans got to work right away, cutting early voting in Marion County, which includes the state capital of Indianapolis, while expanding it in a nearby suburban county filled with white Republican voters."

Then-senator Barack Obama campaigns in Indianapolis, November 4, 2008. (photo: Getty)
Then-senator Barack Obama campaigns in Indianapolis, November 4, 2008. (photo: Getty)


After Obama's 2008 Win, Indiana GOP Added Early Voting in White Suburb, Cut It in Indianapolis

By Mark Joseph Stern, Slate

11 August 17

 

n 2008, Barack Obama squeaked out an unexpected win in Indiana thanks in part to his huge margin of victory in Marion County, which has a large population of black Democrats. The state’s Republicans got to work right away, cutting early voting in Marion County, which includes the state capital of Indianapolis, while expanding it in a nearby suburban county filled with white Republican voters.

That’s the distressing but entirely predictable upshot of a blockbuster report published by the Indianapolis Star on Thursday. The Star found that between 2008 and 2016, Republican officials reduced the number of early voting stations in Marion County from three to one, resulting in a 26 percent decline in absentee voting in the 2016 presidential election. (Early votes are cast via absentee ballots.) Meanwhile, officials added two early voting stations to the neighboring Hamilton County, which is populated primarily by white Republicans. The county saw a 63 percent increase in absentee voting in 2016. There is now one early voting station for every 100,000 voters in Hamilton County and one for every 700,000 voters in Marion County. In total, the number of people who voted in Marion County decreased by 11,261 between 2008 and 2016 and increased in Hamilton County by 27,376—this “despite an increase of registered voters in both counties,” the Star reports.

Republicans’ assault on Marion County voters was methodical and coordinated. First, in 2010 and 2012, the lone Republican on the county’s election board blocked efforts to maintain three voting sites for federal elections, reducing the number to one. Then, in 2013, the Republican-dominated state Legislature passed a law that effectively barred “counties with populations over 325,000” from opening more than one early voting site. The bill was obviously designed to target Marion County, in addition to Lake and Allen counties, which also have sizable minority populations. County election boards could only override the law with the unanimous consent of all members. The Republican member of the Marion County election board has consistently refused to allow the opening of more than one early voting site.

A lawsuit filed by Common Cause Indiana and the NAACP’s Indianapolis branch alleges that Marion County’s early voting rollback disproportionately burdens black citizens’ right to vote in violation of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection and Due Process clauses, as well as the Voting Rights Act. Similar suits have succeeded before: In July 2016, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down North Carolina’s “monster” suppression law, which, among other things, slashed early voting in predominantly black areas. The court wrote that North Carolina’s law, which was passed by a Republican-controlled Legislature and signed by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, seemed to “target African Americans with almost surgical precision.”

The unfortunate reality is that Republicans are suppressing minority voting rights with such speed and expertise that the occasional legal victory cannot reverse the broader trend. After the Supreme Court’s Republican appointees gutted the VRA in 2013, many jurisdictions newly freed from federal oversight promptly cut early voting and reduced the number of polling places in minority areas. It is extremely difficult to challenge these closures in the absence of a robust VRA.

And even the occasional legal victory may prove short-lived. When the 4th Circuit blocked North Carolina’s attempt to roll back early voting, Republican-controlled county election boards implemented the new restrictions anyway. When Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper defeated McCrory, these boards should have fallen under Democratic control. But due to a racial gerrymander that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled to be unconstitutional, Republicans hold a supermajority in the general assembly. The GOP was thus able to pass a law to prevent Democrats from taking control of county election boards and restoring early voting. The North Carolina Supreme Court blocked that law—so Republican legislators tweaked it and passed it again.

The GOP’s campaign against minority voting rights is resourceful and relentless. Republicans across the country recognize that a fully enfranchised electorate poses a grave threat to their grasp on power. In response, they have initiated a nationwide effort to make it as difficult as possible for minorities to cast a ballot. Marion County provides one blatant example of this phenomenon. But the reality is that similarly egregious voter suppression has already become the norm in much of the United States.


e-max.it: your social media marketing partner
 

Comments   

A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

 
+11 # Working Class 2017-08-11 09:50
The GOP's approach is simple, if your ideas won't sell - cheat. They have no qualms about undercutting democracy as long as it serves their end-goal and the corporate masters desire to dominate our government and lives.
 
 
+2 # librarian1984 2017-08-12 08:13
There is ample evidence of systematic, multiplatform attacks on our electoral system by the GOP.

HOWEVER the Democrats won't follow through on investigating and correcting even the most egregious attacks. Why not? Maybe because they're not protecting the parties or even their constituents as much as they're protecting the establishment.

The status quo is a precious thing to those in power, and honest elections would go a long way toward improving the lives of the American people.

Nearly concurrent with our 2000 voting debacle, Ukraine faced a similar crisis. Citizens poured into the streets and refused to go home until a fair election was held, while Americans shrugged and changed the channel -- a clear signal we, the citizens, had willingly resigned our position as the world's leading democracy.

If Democrats won't lead this fight, and it doesn't look like they will, then it's up to US -- and it's not clear we citizens are willing to take up that mantle. Even liberals seem content to be distracted by Russia and Trump rather than fight the real fight -- or even demand our so-called representatives address the issue.

The media, even more than politicians, is driving this snipe hunt, while we trot merrily behind, content to be fed pablum and fairy tales rather than doing the difficult work democracy demands.
 

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.

RSNRSN