Home | About | Donate

What Will It Take to Stop Republicans From Maintaining Structural Racism in Our Voting?

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/06/10/what-will-it-take-stop-republicans-maintaining-structural-racism-our-voting


Short and sweet, by Thom standards. Good choice of an authoritative source, too:

The simple reality, as LeBron James recently pointed out, is that when Republicans hold the power to regulate voting systems, they structure them in ways that produce racist outcomes. It is, literally, structural racism.

Suggestion for CD: Maybe call out to Zirin or someone for a story about how prominent atheletes in USA are dealing with the Floyd Rebellion? The role they play in this is quite huge, and inexplicably ignored by the left, generally. Just 'cuz you’re not a basketball fan, that doesn’t mean basketball signifies nothing.


Ever since I started voting a half century ago Georgia’s and many other states’ voting systems have had built-in racial discrimination AND discriminate against young voters (who relocate their residences a lot to stay employed). Iowa’s mail-in system worked so well in their primary that the Iowa Republicans are working overtime to emulate Georgia and make everything that Iowa did to make it easier to vote illegal post haste.

The George Floyd protests need to seg into voter suppression protests that do not slow down until November 3. Short of that the hundreds of millions (no exaggeration) the GOP will spend on voter suppression activities during the next 5 months will achieve their goals.


The media continues to be amazed and surprised, reporting on these long lines as if they are some sort of natural disaster.

None of the cheating and voter fraud has even been addressed for bernie sanders. The United States remains one of the few major democracies in the world that continue to allow computerized vote counting—not observable by the public—to determine the results of its elections.


From the article:
“It’s time to update our Voting Rights Act…”

If progressives want to restore the Voting Rights Act, they’ll have to reduce the Senate Republicans to a minority. Defeating McConnell alone will not be enough, and electing more establishment Democrats won’t be good enough, either. Progressives need to put a progressive candidate in the Senate.

Thanks to RCV, Independent/Green Lisa Savage in Maine has the best chance of winning a Senate seat - the seat now occupied by Republican Susan Collins.

Lisa was recently endorsed by 125 state and national leaders, including Chris Hedges, John Kiriakou, David Swanson, Ann Wright, Kathy Kelly, Frida Berrigan, and Medea Benjamin. You’ve read their essays on CommonDreams and elsewhere for many years.

The endorsement letter is posted in the comments for the article titled “This is by design”.

You can support Lisa’s campaign by contributing money and/or volunteer time. Website: ~www.LisaforMaine.org

Lisa can win if progressives - lots and lots of them - help. Pitch in now!


“When Republicans hold the power to regulate voting systems, they ‘structure’ them in ways that produce racist outcomes, literally, Structural Racism.” A clearer definition of these racial crimes hard to find. Thom’s “Easily vote from the comfort and safety of their own homes” I’ll just add the Oregon voters pamphlet which provides closer examination of ballot measures and candidates with ample time to decide early or late. Supporters, opponents ‘make’ their best case in the pamphlet. On TV and Net these same politicos only ‘show’ their pretty side or often only their ugly side.

1 Like

Voting only in west coast states for the past half century I assumed every state had voter’s pamphlets.
A co-worker who relocated from Tennessee told me he never saw a voter pamphlet until he moved west. In my county the pamphlets are on-line for the primary with printed pamphlets mailed to voters well ahead of the election.

Meanwhile, Trump campaign operative disguised as “press secretary” McNinny (who has voted from locations other than her residence) is a real example of the voter fraud that the GOP alleges is widespread among non white voters despite decades of research concluding is nearly non-existent.


What’s in a voter’s pamphlet, and who issues them?

[Edit: I posted this before reading Wellan’s comment above, but additional information is welcome.]

Well, jeepers. What’s easier? A long, costly, bloody revolution, taking years and lives, or getting more young, progressive people into the political pipeline? Either will take a national,concerted effort. States run their own electoral processes, so the start will have to be, at least, with counties. At 65, I may never see any lasting results; revolutionary, or a prodigious turnout of young progressives.

GREAT post, thx Thom

1 Like

“What will it take . . .?”

Something very different from the post-Kennedy Democratic Party, in my view.


If Democrats can come out of their stupor long enough to regain control of both Houses of Congress and the Presidency, they must amend the Voting Rights Act to prevent voter suppression and place criminal consequences on any state parties that attempt to suppress voters.


Talk about a bunch of brainwashed individuals! Not one person on here has shown any ability at INDEPENDENT, RATIONAL thought. All that is posted on here is regurgitated propaganda. And all of it is false.
You want racism, look into THEE Party of racism, the DEMOCRAT PARTY.
Check your American history, it is the Democrats that started a Civil War to KEEP slavery, it is the DEMOCRAT PARTY the watered down the 1957 Civil Rights Act, it is the DEMOCRAT PARTY that instituted Jim Crow laws (and fought to keep them), it is the DEMOCRAT PARTY the filibustered the 1963 Civil Right Acts for 60 DAYS to try and prevent its enactment!
Malcolm X himself said to the Black Community when they voted 80% Democrat Party in 1964. The Democrats had promised a Civil Rights Bill, which they NEVER DELIVERED! The RERPUBLICAN DID enact a Civil Rights Bill that democrats filibustered for 60 days, and over 90% voted AGAINST.
Even President Ronald Reagan had to extend it because the Democrats wouldn’t.

You put them first, and they put you last. 'Cause you’re a chump. A political chump! … Any time you throw your weight behind a political party that controls two-thirds of the government, and that party can’t keep the promise that it made to you during election time, and you are dumb enough to walk around continuing to identify yourself with that party – you’re not only a chump but you’re a traitor to your race." ~ Malcolm X


Stop counting on VOTING to change anything. It’s a scam - a Fraud

California’s Secretary of State is in charge of the text of it, which is often controversial. Candidates write their own elevator-pitches, Pro- and anti- arguments are solicited from interested parties for all the initiatives, and the Secretary supplies (supposedly) neutral text describing what proposed measures will do (the controversial part).

1 Like

A New Facial Challenge to Voter ID and Other State Laws and Policies to Suppress Voter Participation

Racial gerrymandering, voter ID laws and restrictive voter registration laws and voting practices violate Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution as modified by subsequent amendments to allow women and persons 18 years or older to vote.

Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment is the operative clause which deals with voting rights, apportionment of US House seats and Electors and the mandatory penalties for the violation of the same.

Section 2 of the 14th Amendment abolished the so-called “three-fifths compromise.” The "Three Fifths Compromise in the US Constitution is found at Article 1, Section, 2, Paragraph 3 and reads:

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons (my emphasis).

Section 2 of the 14th Amendment also enshrined in the US Constitution the right of some persons to vote in state elections and created vast and express protections of voters’ rights for minorities and, most importantly, mandated harsh penalties for any violation of voters’ expressly granted rights to vote.

The harsh penalties required for violations of Section 2 are the only truly effective means for stopping the structural racism in our elections. Each state determined to be in violation SHALL (original emphasis!) be stripped of U.S. House seats and Electors in proportion to the numbers of voters harmed by the illegal, unconstitutional sate action. Federal dollars to states totaling billions would also be reduced for violating states as those are apportioned by population and included by implication in the penalties for violations of Section 2 of the 14th Amendment. So far, federal courts have already found various voter ID laws, redistricting maps and other state actions in NC, AL, MS, FL, and TX to be based upon improper, intentional racial discrimination and all those states are subject to immediate sanction now.

The provisions of Section 2 of the 14th Amendment were expressly made applicable to the states and read:

Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislatures thereof, is denied (my emphasis)to any of the male inhabitants of such State being twenty-one years of age , and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged (my emphasis ), except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in proportion to the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

While the original language of Section 2 only references “minorities,” “male inhabitants” and voters “being twenty-one years of age,” subsequent Amendments to the US Constitution have broadened the scope of Section 2 of the 14th Amendment.

Women’s right to vote came about via the Nineteenth Amendment.

The vote for citizens 18 years of age or older came about via the Twenty-sixth Amendment.

The new language of Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment should be read as follows:

Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied (my emphasis) to any of the inhabitants of such State, being eighteen years of age or older, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged (my emphasis), except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such citizens shall bear to the whole number of citizens eighteen years of age or older in such State.

It is most important to note that in Section 2 of the 14th Amendment, there is a specific grant of an express and fundamental right to vote in any state election of “…the Executive and Judicial Officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof…”

The specific language of the decision in Harper v. Virginia State Bd. of Elections, 383 U.S. 663, 665 (1966) that “While the right to vote in federal elections is conferred by Art. 1, [§] 2, of the Constitution, the right to vote in state elections is nowhere expressly mentioned” is wholly wrong. Harper was wrongly decided as to whether the US Constitution expressly grants a fundamental right to vote in state elections. Section 2 of the 14th Amendment expressly grants a fundamental right to vote in state elections for minorities, Native Americans, women, seniors and youths (including students).

As “minorities” were not defined in Section 2 of the 14th Amendment, such language would be broadly construed as the Section is remedial in nature, and “minorities” could include veterans, the disabled, divorced persons, single mothers, and LGTBQIA persons. The impact of the wrongly decided Harper decision regarding rights of voters in state elections cannot be overstated.

The Roberts Court has set challengers’ to voter suppression laws and policies such as voter ID and their burdens of proof on their heads. The various states with their voter suppression laws and policies are not being required to show a compelling state interest in challenges to laws with strict scrutiny being applied against them and a high burden of proof.

The current pernicious path of precedent forged by the Roberts Court to generate a series of decisions to make race-based gerrymandering, voter ID, voter registration laws and policies challenges into a series of “as applied” cases is founded in a gross judicial misappropriation of partisan legislative power, excused under the misguided twin rubrics of deriding facial challenges to such enactments and deference to state legislatures in the analysis of such issues where neither the law nor the facts justifies the same. ( See, Crawford v. Marion County Board of Elections, 553 U.S. 181 (2008)).

Curiously, the Crawford decision explicitly acknowledges voters’ rights are subject to impermissible “denial” “and are “abridged… ” but merely shrugs such off; “But just as other States provide free voter registration cards, the photo identification cards issued by Indiana’s BMV are also free. For most voters who need them, the inconvenience of making a trip to the BMV, gathering the required documents, and posing for a photograph surely does not qualify as a substantial burden on the right to vote, or even represent a significant increase over the usual burdens of voting. (17).” The Court goes even further by denigrating voters’ rights in dismissing entirely the burdens imposed upon voters by the legislative practice which forces persons casting provisional ballots to return to a government office a second time to make a second appearance with a proper photographic ID in order for any provisional ballot to be counted!

The Crawford decision also fails to account for the requirements of both the federal REAL ID and HAVA laws, which REAL ID requires all state issued photographic IDs to comply by October 1, 2020 with federal law in order to be recognized as valid for entry into or use of federal facilities or the use of planes and trains in the US. The REAL ID Act requires states, US Territories and protectorates to force all individuals which want an approved id to present either a certified copy of a US birth certificate or a valid US Passport to be able to get a compliant photographic identification. Proof of an address is also required by a showing of a utility bill or voter registration card. I had to pay $15.00 for a certified copy of my birth certificate in order to comply, a valid US Passport could cost as much as $350.00 depending upon how quickly I wanted it. The Crawford “free id” is never free if states do not pay for the documents or provide them for free or unless Congress makes appropriations to give states funds to allow individuals to not have to make individual payments for the required documents, all state voter ID laws act as an illegal and unconstitutional sub rosa poll tax.

In addition, older persons may not be able to get proper id because they live in another state which cannot comply with their request for a birth certificate, charges more for the documents, or some may be homeless and not have a fixed address and therefore are ineligible to get a REAL ID Act compliant photo id and may not vote as a result.

The Roberts’ Court’s whitewashing away of voters’ rights in Marion County and Holder which fail to make any acknowledgment of the express US Constitutional grant of voters’ state electoral voting rights under Section 2 of the 14th Amendment and the factual issue that any such proof of identification or citizenship documents cost money to obtain and are a sub rosa poll tax. Some state courts have found the requirements to obtain “free” ids from the state violated both state Constitutions and, more relevantly here, federal law. Also, some individuals might not have such documents as a copy of a birth certificate available due to conflicting other state laws, costs of producing the same and also the complete absence of such documents due to some other state or local officials carelessness or the voters’ extreme age.

The post- 2010 and post- Shelby v. Holder gerrymandered re-districting of state and federal legislative districts, and restrictive voter registration laws and policies as well as subsequent post Marion County voter ID laws all abridge or deny minority, Native Americans’, women’s, senior or youth (students’) rights to vote and must be facially challenged as violations of citizens’ civil rights.

Section 2 penalties SHALL (my emphasis) be applied against guilty states.

Other legislation such as proof of US citizenship (already illegal since the holding in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, 133 S. Ct. 476 (2013)) to register or to vote (Kansas and Missouri now have these) and policies such as moving or closing registration or polling places or changing places, times and hours of early voting also violate the proscriptions of Section 2 as they deny or abridge the voting rights of minorities, women, seniors and youths (including students). Essentially, the proper regime of laws and policies should be set back in time with a floor for such rights being the most expansive regimes in place pre- Shelby County v. Holder , 133 S. Ct. 2612, 186 L. Ed. 2d 651, 81 U.S.L.W. 4572 (2013) [2013 BL 167707].

States violating Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment SHALL forfeit US House seats and Electors in proportion to the numbers of voters whose rights are abridged or denied, in any way.

Courts would retain jurisdiction and force re-drawing of Congressional and State Legislative Districts’ boundaries to maximize the participation of women, minorities, seniors and youths.

The newly stripped away US House seats and Electors would then have to be awarded by the Courts to states which do not have illegal voting laws and policies and the new federal legislative district maps in both impacted states would have to be re-drawn and approved by the court. The most recent US Census data would identify court authorized states to be awarded new US House seats and Electors. The 2020 Census which would require new federal or state redistricting which would also be subject to challenges under Section 2 of the 14th Amendment.

Laws and policies which harm the rights of divorced persons, the disabled or veterans to register or to vote may also violate Section 2 as “minorities” is not defined and the amendment is to be construed broadly as it is remedial in nature. A fundamental right for the protected classes under Section 2 makes the intent of the legislature irrelevant if there is a disparate impact upon the protected classes and the legislation will be struck down unless the state can show a compelling state interest, other than racism or suppressing possible Democratic Party voters, to override the explicit grant in the US Constitution.

Suits filed under Section 2 of the 14th Amendment could protect the fundamental right to vote of minorities, Native Americans, women, seniors and youths to vote and to have proper and complete representation in all elections in our republic. Republicans would lose their lock on the US House through their illegal racial gerrymandering, voter suppression laws and policies. Federal dollars allocated to the states based upon population may also flow the same way as the US House seats and Electors, away from so-called “red” states and to the so-called “blue” states. The penalties for voter suppression may be harsh but, such shenanigans were obviously contemplated and to be remedied by Section 2 of the 14th Amendment.

States may more successfully avoid illegal legislative and partisan maps by adopting a non-partisan redistricting map commission approach like Arizona’s, which the SCOTUS has expressly approved. Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, 576 US __ (2015).

1 Like

Good perspective, Ray, as the Iowa Repub leadership is dismantling “Iowa’s successful mail-in system (that) worked so well…”

And some commenters on this site have the gall to equate Rs and Ds. They haven’t looked at Iowa politics.

And THAT is the big gaping hole in this screed…yes, making it harder for POC to vote is a key Republican (and DNC) tactic but is it the biggest? Or is the last resort tactic, where after the voters elect Democrats, or progressives, the Republicans or DNC “fix it” electronically so the official results put the Republicans in the win box? For some reason even alternative media rarely touches this. But Hartman/s solution–vote-by-mail–would actually fix the problem because mailed in ballots are PAPER ballots, counted by groups of people including official reps of both parties. Cheating would bve very difficult and rare.

1 Like

Another repulsive instance of criminal negligence from the mainstream press these days is theyre calling the GOP plan to have retired and off duty police challenging voters eligibility in minority areas “poll watchers” and referring to it as the republican “voter integrity project.” Especially given BLM prominence right now youd think they’d call it what it is: intimidation, suppression, obstruction, TERRORIZING.
But no. Thats too much to ask.