Restoring Hope in America’s Democracy: ACLU Launches Multi-State Legal Action on Voting Rights

The ACLU issues a statement (source) today: “ACLU LAUNCHES MULTI-STATE LEGAL ACTION ON VOTING RIGHTS” as those who believe in “Democracy” are concern that Trump’s latest move relating to elections in America is a pretense to increase voter suppression and oppression.

Truthout reports (source):

President Trump signed an executive order last week creating the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to promote “fair and honest Federal elections,” following up on his unproven claims that he lost the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton because of widespread voter fraud. The commission will be chaired by Vice President Mike Pence, and its vice chair will be Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, also a Republican.

Kobach’s appointment has alarmed voting rights advocates, who point to his record of making unsubstantiated claims about the extent of voter fraud — which study after study has found to be negligible — and using them to promote strict voter ID laws and other policies that make it harder to vote.

“We are deeply troubled by the inclusion of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach as vice-chair of the commission,” Wade Henderson, CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said in a statement. “His discriminatory and regressive views on voting rights are well known and render him too biased to neutrally assess voting issues.”

For decades, the American political party, Republican Party, has been “De-democratizing” America through a variety of ways, such as gerrymandering and voter suppression. On voter suppression, this is done through many ways, such as strict voter identification laws. In many instances, this strict voter identification law involves high cost in getting identifications, which discourage the poor and also reducing access to places offering identification, such as closing down public offices offering identification.

While global people and Americans tend to believe that America’s “Democracy” is one of the strongest and most democratic, in fact, there is a great deal of problems relating to “Voting” and “Voters Rights” in America, on top of a system, where an “Electorate” selects the America president, and not the American people directly.

This in-direct selection, has meant that there is no “Equality Among Individual Americans” in voting for a President, meaning, in some examples, it may take 10 Americans in one state, to have a “Equal Weighting” towards electing a President, as one American, in other states. Therefore, there have been call for, a “One Man One Vote” system in America, to stop the Electorate System.”

Voter suppression in the United States concerns allegations about various efforts, legal and illegal, used to prevent eligible voters from their right to vote. Where found, such voter suppression efforts vary by state, local government, precinct, and election. Some laws and administrative practices have made it more difficult for people to register to vote. For example, Florida enacted a deadline for the submission of voter registration forms in 2011, with penalties for late filing.[1] The law ended the voter registration work by one organization, the League of Women Voters, whose spokesperson said, “Despite the fact that the League of Women Voters is one of the nation’s most respected civic organizations, with a 91-year history of registering and educating voters, we will be unable to comply with the egregious provisions contained in [this bill].”[2]

 In the United States, supporters of photo ID laws say that photographic IDs (such as driver’s licenses or student IDs) are available and that presenting such IDs is a minor inconvenience when weighed against the possibility of ineligible voters affecting elections. Opponents argue that photo ID requirements disproportionately affect minority, handicapped and elderly voters who do not normally maintain driver’s licenses. Also, requiring such groups to obtain and keep track of photo IDs that are otherwise unneeded is considered a suppression tactic aimed at those groups.[3]

In one instance Indiana’s photo ID law barred 12 retired nuns in South Bend, Indiana from voting in the state 2008 Democratic primary election, because they did not have photo IDs. John Borkowski, a South Bend lawyer volunteering as an election watchdog for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said, “This law was passed supposedly to prevent and deter voter fraud, even though there was no real record of serious voter fraud in Indiana.”[4][5]

In the process of setting electoral districtsgerrymandering is a practice intended to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating district boundaries. The resulting district is known as a gerrymander (/ˈdʒɛriˌmændər/); however, that word can also refer to the process. The term gerrymandering has negative connotations. Two principal tactics are used in gerrymandering: “cracking” (i.e. diluting the voting power of the opposing party’s supporters across many districts) and “packing” (concentrating the opposing party’s voting power in one district to reduce their voting power in other districts).[1]

In addition to its use achieving desired electoral results for a particular party, gerrymandering may be used to help or hinder a particular demographic, such as a political, ethnic, racial, linguistic, religious, or class group, such as in U.S. federal voting district boundaries that produce a majority of constituents representative of African-American or other racial minorities, known as “majority-minority districts“. Gerrymandering can also be used to protect incumbents.

Trump, who lost the popular vote in the 2016 election, public statements blame the lost on accusation, with no proof, that the lost is related to massive voter fraud, and has named people deeply involved in voter suppression to a newly created election integrity commission.  While the public statement purpose to the commission is integrity, many such as ACLU, suspect the commission real purpose is to instigate fresh drive to make voting even more difficult for Americans.

The following is the statement from ACLU:

May 18, 2017

NEW YORK — The American Civil Liberties Union today sent coordinated Freedom of Information Act requests to officials in Kansas, Indiana, New Hampshire, Maine, and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission seeking information related to the Trump administration’s new “Presidential Commission on Election Integrity.”

Though President Trump announced plans to form the commission months ago, he signed the executive order just last week. The commission is headed up by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, whom the ACLU has successfully sued numerous times over his voter suppression policies. The FOIA requests target commission members who currently serve as secretaries of state — Kobach of Kansas, Connie Lawson of Indiana, Bill Gardner of New Hampshire, and Matthew Dunlap of Maine — as well as Christy McCormick, commissioner of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

“We believe the outcome of the commission’s investigation is preordained,” said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project. “It’s time to shed light on whether any commission members were crafting policy recommendations before their investigation was launched or the commission was even formally announced. If they’ve got evidence, it’s time to stop hiding and start sharing.”

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