There are times like around Election Day when it is timely to reflect on our noble national experiment of electing our own leaders. But then I think about recent efforts all over this country to erode our democracy: voter photo ID, redistricting and shortening the early voting time period. Having won control of several state legislatures, Republicans then moved to suppress the vote. This in the United States, the world’s leading democracy!
These actions were taken in the guise of preventing voter fraud. But what is the extent of fraud in U.S. elections? Studies have historically shown that it amounts to such a small extent in national and statewide elections that it is virtually nonexistent. And what is the effect of these actions? They are most likely to reduce the turnout of African-Americans, Latinos and the young. These groups of voters overwhelmingly vote Democratic.
So what is going on here? And why now?
I think it’s clear. Republicans, in blatantly partisan actions, are trying to lessen the turnout for Democratic candidates and increase the likelihood of Republicans being elected. The South Carolina legislature has joined in this travesty. This, even though evidence of fraud in elections cannot be presented.
You know, we used to do this sort of thing in the South, that is, voter suppression. Now, around Election Day is a good time in the name of democracy and all those who fought and died for the right to vote, to think about what Republican legislatures all around the country have done.
The writer lives in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C.