National Democratic Strategist and former White House spokesman Bob Weiner, along with Joseph Abay, Robert Weiner Associates’ Senior Policy Analyst and Author, have published an op-ed in this week’s Michigan Chronicle, “VOTE NOV. 4: Defeat Suppression of Minorities, Youth, Workers,” a message to voters to show up at the polls and be willing once again to stand in long lines to prevent Republicans from stealing the election through voter suppression efforts in key states with close races. The Michigan Chronicle has been named six times as the number one African American Newspaper in America.
Weiner and Abay open by citing the just released Government Accounting Office report that shows Republican sponsored voter identification laws have disproportionally reduced the turnout of African American, poor and youth voters by 2-4%, because of the cost of the ID’s. “This percentage drop is critical in close races,” Weiner and Abay contend.
They say that because the courts will not have time to act before the election in most states, “standing in lines again to have voices heard – which worked in 2012 and 2008 — may again be the only answer to stop a right-wing takeover of the Senate and massive progressive losses in the House.”
They argue that Republicans have taken advantage of the Supreme Court’s decision to invalidate Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act. Weiner and Abay state in the article,”93 restrictive voting bills were introduced in 33 states; 22 states have passed them, and counting. On September 29th, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, the #2 House Democrat, contended that “Republicans around the country are trying to make it more and more difficult for people to vote, because their premise, which is accurate in my opinion, is if everyone votes, Democrats win.”
Weiner and Abay also discuss how a number of Republican political leaders are on record admitting that voter restriction legislation will help them win elections. They write, “Pennsylvania had passed a law in 2012, and Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai said: ‘Voter ID is going to allow Gov. Romney to win Pennsylvania–done.’ Not quite—the Pennsylvania courts overturned it. Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz openly admitted voter suppression is directly linked to giving conservatives more power over ‘abortion, gay marriage, and a whole lot of social issues we care deeply about.'”
Weiner and Abay go on to argue that “Republicans present voter fraud as a pervasive problem, something that any fact-checking shows is not true. Between 2002 and 2012, out of a total of 600 million votes cast, only 10 cases of voter impersonation were reported. It is just not a problem, given that it has amounted to only 0.00000344666% of all votes cast.”
Weiner and Abay also discuss the elimination of early voting in Ohio and American Sociological Review Editor Vincent J. Roscigno’s report “Racial Inequality, Racial Politics and the Implications of Recent Voting Restrictions in Ohio.” The study documents that the elimination of early voting disproportionally affects black voters: “During the 2012 election, 19.9% of Ohio’s black voters voted early, while only 6.1% of whites did. Black Ohioans’ income is 60% of that for whites, and Black Ohioans are more likely to have longer hours, less pay and less freedom to take time off.”
Weiner and Abay also discuss how college students are affected by Republican legislation disallowing out of district voting, particularly in North Carolina. Yet, “On October 8th, The Supreme Court voted 7-2 (with dissents from Ginsburg and Sotomayor) overturning the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that would have reinstated same day registration and students’ out-of-precinct voting in North Carolina.”
Weiner and Abay discuss Michigan’s fight against voter restriction laws. Weiner and Abay state that even Republican Governor Rick Snyder felt he had to veto Michigan’s Republican ruled legislature’s voter ID bill, calling it “‘confusing’ for voters (and knew it would backfire on him politically). Regardless, Republican legislators say they will attempt to push through voter ‘fraud’ legislation in the future,” according to Weiner and Abay.
Weiner and Abay also argue that Attorney General Eric Holder’s September 25th resignation, effective when a successor is installed, could be catastrophic for combating voter restriction laws. Weiner and Abay state in the article that his departure “could prove disastrous for the federal lawsuits battling vote rigging ‘laws’, if his successor is not as dedicated to the cause as Holder.”
Weiner and Abay conclude, “These laws will take a massive toll unless the courts reverse them or the victimized rebel in large numbers and find a way to the polls. Given the Supreme Court’s attitude, there will not be time for the former before the November 4 Election Day clock ticks down—so standing in lines again to have voices heard – which worked in 2012 and 2008 — may again be the only answer to stop a right-wing takeover of the Senate and massive progressive losses in the House.”