What is the essential element in a free society? It is the independent, uninfluenced, unimpeded opportunity to vote for the candidate of your choice. You may be influenced by media or by an organization or by friends or a political party to vote a certain way. But if the candidate turns out to be a bad administrator or an embezzler or a vicious partisan…you can vote again, to vote him out.
But suppose you go to the polls to vote out someone who has cut out government services to offer contracts to cronies or cut taxes on the rich that mean cuts in services to the poor or to the disabled or elderly and you are told you can no longer vote. What do you do then? You have the right to vote as long as you are a citizen. The problem is that governments can introduce laws that make it so difficult that you may not be able or eligible to vote.
In Wisconsin, despite the fact that there have been virtually no allegations of voter fraud anywhere in the state in the memory of those involved with elections, Governor Scott Walker has decided to place an illegal poll tax on voters. He does so legally by claiming that, to preempt any possibility of voter fraud, voters must carry a valid Wisconsin driver’s license or a state-issued ID.
This ID costs $28. Actually, it is free. If it were $28, it would be a poll tax and be illegal. But the people at the vehicle registration bureaus where the IDs are issued have been told not to mention the fact that, if requested, the IDs are free. One state worker felt that this was unfair (only one state worker?) and sent out a memo stating that the IDs were not $28 but were available free. He was fired by Governor Walker’s politically appointed supervisor of the bureau.
Chris Larsen, a public employee, and a civil service employee was fired for not following the order to “refrain from offering the free version to customers who do not ask for it” and indeed sending a memo to all his colleagues clarifying the point that the ID is, indeed, free to those who do not want to pay or cannot pay the $28.
This is where being a public citizen as opposed to a loyal party member leaves off. Loyal party members, of the Walker Republican Tea Party, had been told NOT to tell citizens that they could get the ID for free. The point…the only point…in doing so had to be to prevent them from voting. Otherwise, the person was eligible for the free ID and could come back later. Only those who were not informed about the free ID and could not afford or did not want to spend the time and $28 for an ID that they might use only once a year in order to vote were the target.
This is exactly how the Nazis excluded Jews from the political process and exactly how Segregationists in the South excluded blacks from the political process. Eventually in the South, the ever-expanding civil rights of citizens reached the point of nullifying the poll tax. Governor Walker thinks that the way to avoid this is to operated state government in secrecy, providing full information only to members of the Republican Party.
Ric Scott of Florida has also made voting much more restrictive. He has put criminal penalties on certain voter registration procedures, shortened the time for early voting, cutting it almost in half, made it harder for students to vote, Election dates were also moved up by two weeks, to take place largely before students have arrived for college.
In addition, everyone in relevant counties must have already have provided their new address to the state long before they come to the polls. This affects about 8,000 votes in the Orlando area. Calls to legislators and pollsters are running 10 to one against this new election legislation.
In order to forestall a move by the Justice Department which was expected to hand down a harsh ruling, stating that this law was unconstitutional and would not be allowed, Ric Scott filed a federal lawsuit to stall the Justice Department ruling. This Republican Tea Party governor, whose company was once fine $1.7 billion dollars for Medicare fraud, who now has a 29% approval rating in Florida and who is the most unpopular governor in the country hopes to stall the action against the bill until after the 2012 election.
In Ohio, Governor John Kasich, in addition to dismembering unions, has pushed through a photo-ID requirement for voters in the 2012 election. It is targeted directly at students, the elderly, poor working families and African-American and Hispanic Americans. The idea is the same as all these Fascist Republican governors have dictated to their ignorant and ideological legislative camp followers.
The idea is to make each person present a photo-ID at the polls. Since 2000, the Republicans in Ohio have won elections several times by disenfranchising Democratic voters. Now that the Fascist Kasich is governor, even though his poll numbers are below 35% which seems almost impossible given how Republicans are able to rig public opinion, the effort is all-out to get to the magic number of 1.5 million disenfranchised voters. This new bill should add something like 900,000 to the number who have already been disenfranchised by people like Ken Blackwell who pulled numerous schemes that were eventually discovered to have quite likely cost Senator John Kerry the election.
Ohio State probably has at least 10,000 Democratic voters among its student population. None of them will be allowed to vote with a student ID, or with a current utility bill matching their student ID…or anything but an Ohio drivers license, which many do not have or a passport or a state issued photo ID.
Let’s be honest and fair. Let’s be balanced. If you are an American and an Ohioan, or a Wisconsinite or a Floridian or from Maine or New Jersey—any of those states where Republican governors are so obviously trying to restrict the vote—why wouldn’t you want every one who is eligible to vote? If your ideas are better, your philosophy is better, economics better, jobs plans better, attitude towards creating prosperity successful—then why try to keep people away from the polls?
If Hitler were here, you could ask him. He did the same thing. Fascist pigs always do.