The minority party in the United States — the Republicans —
— control the White House, the Senate, the House of Representatives and the majority of state governments. Because of this, they have been able to pack the Supreme Court with partisans, who are now assisting the party’s voter suppression activities. Neil Gorsuch is the only the first Trump appointee to side with the one-percenters over the rest of us. There will be more.
Today the Court agreed that the state of Ohio can purge eligible registered voters from the voter rolls if they don’t vote in two elections or if they don’t return a postcard sent to “verify” that they still want to be registered to vote. This is the strictest law in the nation, and — surprise! — it turns out that those most affected are those likely to vote Democratic: students, minorities, disabled and the elderly, for example.
In her dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor spoke for fairness and equality:
“African-American-majority neighborhoods in downtown Cincinnati had 10% of their voters removed due to inactivity” since 2012, as “compared to only 4% of voters in a suburban, majority-white neighborhood.” She also cited amicus briefs explaining “at length how low voter turnout rates, language-access problems, mail delivery issues, inflexible work schedules, and transportation issues, among other obstacles, make it more difficult for many minority, low-income, disabled, homeless, and veteran voters to cast a ballot or return a notice, rendering them particularly vulnerable to unwarranted removal under” Ohio’s process.
Clearly, Republicans know that if everyone voted they would never win another election, so they have become creative in figuring out ways to make sure that only Republicans get to vote: outrageous gerrymandering, voter ID laws, cutting back on early voting, closing polling places in Democratic precincts, and of course purging voter rolls. Will “literacy tests” be next?
The moral here is the same as always: Don’t let the bastards get you down! Voting is your right. Protect it, whatever you have to do. In recent elections, when the GOP has done things to block folks from voting, they have turned out in greater numbers than usual, waited in long lines, in bad weather, and cast their votes. Check with your county registrar to make sure you have not been “purged.” Return the damn postcard. Vote in every election! Go to the polls on election day, or send in your vote-by-mail ballot.