When it’s veiled behind fear mongering tactics, voter suppression can easily look like a remedy for voter fraud.
When the Supreme Court invalidated key parts of the Civil Rights Act in 2013, allowing states to alter election laws without federal approval, Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. claimed that the “country had changed.”
Right after that initial decision, southern states began passing voter identification laws and early voting procedures that were initially blocked by the federal government. And redistricting maps no longer required federal approval so state legislatures could tactfully draw districts that looked like shoestrings and bent straws at will.
With a population of over 600 million people, the survival of the structures that exist and have always existed in this country are heavily dependent on limiting people’s vote; whether it’s by race, class, or ideology.
The prison system for example, is designed, among other things, to incarcerate as many men of color as possible and therefore take away their right to vote. Once you are convicted of a felony, the only way you can regain your right to vote is by being pardoned by the state’s governor. That’s why a quarter of Florida’s black citizens can’t vote.
Voter ID laws indiscriminately target poor people, especially poor people of color, who simply can’t afford to get IDs. If you’re too poor to got to the DMV, you’re too poor to cast a ballot and your voice doesn’t matter, simple as that.
Perhaps the most blatant recent example of voter suppression is what happened in Montana.
Last November, after the sudden death of one of the congressional candidates, a county in Montana had to reprint thousands of ballots to avoid potentially electing a dead man. After the election, Donald Trump picked Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) as Interior Secretary, prompting Montana to have a special election to replace him. Because they were still financially recovering from the last election, and for the sake of sheer fiscal responsibility, a bill was introduced to allow voting by mail and save up to $750,000. But Montana House Speaker Austen Knudsen (R) killed the bill because of the noble and earnest reason that it could potentially give Democrats an advantage.
The reluctance to expand voting rights tends to be conservative but it’s not partisan. That bill in Montana was introduced and backed by Republicans. This isn’t about what party is more guilty of what crime, this is about the fact that the country has grown numb to the fact that voter suppression is abundantly present at every level of government.
Voter suppression is as tangible as systematic oppression can be. Voter fraud is a myth. It’s a concocted idea perpetuated with little to no evidence. It’s so easy to see through the Trump Administration’s Voter Fraud Commission, which behind the veil of “3 million illegal aliens voted for Hillary,” looks like the remedy to a problem that doesn’t exist.
Arguments were made by both the plaintiffs and the defendants in Gill v. Whitford, the gerrymandering case that will affect how millions of Americans vote, either amplifying or muffling their voices. So we now wait and watch as the Supreme Court Justices, each with their bare hands, bend the moral arc of the universe.