It used to be that the United States was the standard bearer for freedom and democracy, that we were the country others looked to for help and guidance on how to run a free and honest election.
But no more and it’s a very sad thing.
Due to the rise in voter suppression efforts by the Republican Party, the ACLU, NAACP and other civil rights organizations have requested that the United Nations monitor this year’s general election, in fear that millions could be harassed or even forbidden from voting.
The Organisation of Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) will deploy observers to forty states across the country to monitor the election process from voter registration to post-election administration:
“The mission will analyse the legislative framework and its implementation and will follow campaign activities, the work of the election administration and relevant government bodies, including voter registration, and the resolution of election disputes.”
This comes on the heels of efforts by True the Vote, a Tea Party backed group, to “monitor” elections in key battleground states, which amounts to little more than voter suppression through intimidation tactics and measures bordering on illegal:
Researching the registry means that True the Vote has purchased voter rolls from states and counties, then circulated the lists to their gaggle of unsupervised volunteers, who are urged to challenge the registrations of voters that think may be improperly registered. The True the Vote “work at the polls” entails training volunteers to be “poll watchers” – people to go to the polls on election day and aggressively challenge the registration, the identity, or the eligibility of prospective voters.
To “fix what needs fixing” True the Vote has also pushed legislative efforts to further restrict access to voting, including stringent new voter identification laws.
In practice, the TTV strategy has deterred people from registering to vote, created an atmosphere that frightens voters from showing up at the polls, overloaded election officials with baseless challenges, and slowed the vote by gumming up the process.
Earlier this month, True the Vote became the focus of a Congressional investigation led by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), for their attempts to purge voter rolls and registrations. In a letter to True the Vote’s founder, Cathering Engelbrecht, Cummings wrote:
According to your website, the mission of True the Vote is “to restore integrity to the American system of electing its leaders.”1 One of your key initiatives is to train volunteers to challenge the registration of voters before elections, and to provide them with information and data about voters you want to purge from the rolls.
Unfortunately, True the Vote, its volunteers, and its affiliated groups have a horrendous record of filing inaccurate voter registration challenges, causing legitimate voters—through no fault of their own—to receive letters from local election officials notifying them that their registrations have been challenged and requiring them to take steps to remedy false accusations against them.
Multiple reviews by state and local government officials have documented voter registration challenges submitted by your volunteers based on insufficient evidence, outdated or inaccurate data, and faulty software and database capabilities. Across multiple states, government officials of both political parties have criticized your methods and work product for their lack of accuracy and reliability.
Your tactics have been so problematic that even Ohio Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted has condemned them as potentially illegal, stating:
When you cry wolf, and there’s no wolf, you undermine your credibility, and you have unjustly inconvenienced a legally registered voter, and that can border on voter intimidation.
As we’ve documented before, voter fraud in this election is being carried out by one party only – the Republican Party – the latest instance of which comes from Virginia, where a man working for Pinpoint, a Republican-contracted voter registration firm, has been arrested for destroying registrations:
Colin Small, a 23-year-old resident of Phoenixville, Pa., worked for Pinpoint, a company hired to register voters on behalf of the Republican Party of Virginia. Prosecutors charged him with four counts of destruction of voter registration applications, eight counts of failing to disclose voter registration applications and one count of obstruction of justice.
Hardly surprising since this Republican Party, in its current form, is one of the most corrupt we’ve seen in many years, and it is imperative that they be defeated. So even if you’re a disaffected Democrat who’s disillusioned with President Obama (you’re not alone, trust me), it is vital that you get out and vote. As Daniel Ellsberg stated in a recent op-ed, in which he had no illusions about the realities of this election:
To punish Obama in this particular way, on Election Day — by depriving him of votes in swing states and hence of office in favor of Romney and Ryan — would punish most of all the poor and marginal in society, and workers and middle class as well: not only in the U.S. but worldwide in terms of the economy (I believe the Republicans could still convert this recession to a Great Depression), the environment and climate change. It could well lead to war with Iran (which Obama has been creditably resisting, against pressure from within his own party). And it would spell, via Supreme Court appointments, the end of Roe v. Wade and of the occasional five to four decisions in favor of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
In the eight to twelve close-fought states — especially Florida, Ohio, and Virginia, but also Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin — for any progressive to encourage fellow progressives and others in those states to vote for a third-party candidate is, I would say, to be complicit in facilitating the election of Romney and Ryan, with all its consequences.
Noam Chomsky recently echoed that sentiment:
“The Republican organization today is extremely dangerous, not just to this country, but to the world. It’s worth expending some effort to prevent their rise to power, without sowing illusions about the Democratic alternatives.”
So, as the Republicans attempt to steal the vote through any means necessary, the remedy to that rests with Progressives, especially disillusioned Progressives. And it can be no surprise that civil rights groups have called on objective, third-party observers to ensure the validity of this election and equal access to all voters, which are the very things Republicans are attempting to prevent.
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