imaginary problem: Kentucky GOP bill suppress votes based on phony claims voter fraud

‘An imaginary problem’: Kentucky GOP bill to suppress votes is based on phony claims of voter fraud

03/05/2020 8:47 am ET Brian Frazer
Kentucky's voter fraud is a fraud

Source: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

The Republican-controlled KY Senate has pushed forward a bill requiring a photo I.D. to vote in time to help Moscow Mitch win reelection in November.

The bill comes just a few weeks after the newly elected Democratic governor restored the voting rights of 140,000 people with prior felonies.

“My opinion is that this bill is aimed at an imaginary problem, at confusing people and at winning elections at all costs.” said Democratic Rep. Angie Hatton.

Kentucky joins a long list of GOP-controlled states pushing voter suppression to deal with this “imaginary problem” (see below).

1. Let’s connect some dots!

'An imaginary problem': Kentucky GOP bill to suppress votes is based on phony claims of voter fraud

Source: Wikimedia

* There are no known instances of in-person voter fraud in Kentucky.

* KY’s House of Representatives voted 62-35 in favor of voters being forced to show a photo ID before casting a ballot in November.

* The KY State Board of Elections has said 98 percent of Kentuckians already show a photo ID when they vote.

It sounds like the only fraud taking place is in the Kentucky State House.

Although Dem Governor Andy Beshear opposes the bill, any veto would be overturned by the overwhelmingly Republican legislature. Because anything to ensure Mitch McConnell continues to do what he does best: destroy democracy.

2. It isn’t just Kentucky

Missouri voter ID law requiring false statement struck down by State Supreme Court 5

Source: Unsplash

Republicans have been worried about their shrinking pool of voters, and they have been busy protecting their power—using some very undemocratic methods. Voter suppression is key among them.

3. Drawing the lines

The reason Trump 'sabotaged' and botched our coronavirus response—he is an anti-science anti-vaxxer

Source: pxfuel

Gerrymandering is the manipulation of voting district boundaries so that the party in power can always stay in power.

In Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, and Pennsylvania—states that determine the presidential winners—Republicans had drawn the district lines during the last Census of 2010.

Even a report by Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law supported AP’s claim that these new districts were not just messing up the nation’s maps but were actually posing “a threat to democracy.”

And this is how gerrymandering works from coolguides

4. Find the loophole

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Source: Canva

In the past 13 years alone, Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts’s Court has killed vital campaign-finance laws including putting limits on corporate independent spending and capping how much rich people can contribute. Roberts calls political spending a form of expression which makes it protected by the First Amendment.

A few Trump-supported Republican senators have made use of one loophole that allows them to exceed contribution amounts in the name of “debt retirement” when they’ve already donated the maximum amount possible — essentially, “a legal form of money-laundering.

5. Automatic is too easy

Moscow Mitch doesn't want witnesses at the Senate trial because that will likely mean conviction

Source: Flickr / Gage Skidmore

Automatic Voter Registration makes voting easier for Americans and increased voter turnout.

When the House tried to pass a bill that would overhaul of polling rules, the GOP opposed. Moscow Mitch McConnell claimed it would “benefit one party.”

Paul Waldman, an opinion writer for the Washington Post pointed out the flaw in McConnell’s claim:

“What McConnell is saying is that if our voting system were more efficient, more open and more fair, then the inevitable result would be fewer Republicans winning elections. In other words, Republican success depends on the system working in ways that restrict access to the ballot. If registration were easier and more people who are not registered now did so, that would mean Republicans would lose more elections.”

Indeed.

6 . No representation

Washington DC Taxation Representation

Source: Flickr/Alex Guerrero

The GOP’s official position on paper is to “support the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union as a fully sovereign state.”

However, in a 2019 Fox News interview, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called giving representation to four million, tax-paying Americans in D.C. and Puerto Rico “full-bore socialism.”

A Vox report observes that neither of these places stands a chance for statehood.

“Even if the House passes a statehood bill, it faces certain death in the Senate, where the Republican majority is adamantly opposed to adding a state where only 4 percent of voters supported Donald Trump in 2016. Democrats view DC statehood as a way to rebalance a Senate and Electoral College that have stymied progressive priorities, and Republicans oppose the idea for that very reason.”

So, what happens when a district has no political representation? The cost was pretty clear when Puerto Rico got negligible help after 2017’s Hurricane Maria.

7. North Carolina had the same idea

Missouri voter ID law requiring false statement struck down by State Supreme Court 3

Source: Unsplash

Kentucky may have been following in North Carolina’s footsteps. NC tried to push through a new voter ID law that would require voters to provide photo identification. However, a temporary block was put in place after a suit was filed by the NAACP.

Republicans in the state are seeking an appeal from NC’s Attorney General Josh Stein.

8. Time on their side

TikTok user illustrates wealth gap—using rice 1

Source: Canva

The GOP in North Carolina has been busy! In addition to trying to pass a voter ID law and gerrymandering the heck out of the state, they also tried to get rid of early Saturday voting.

Democrats on the state and national level filed a suit in Wake County asking the court to declare the Senate Bill 325 unconstitutional. SB325 required early voting sites to remain open from 7 am to 7 pm which was too costly for many counties. Many locations didn’t open early at all because of this new rule.

Saturday before election day is when nearly 7% of the early votes are cast in the state. According to the Charlotte Observer, early Saturday voting was popular “among key parts of the Democratic coalition—African American voters and young voters.”

9. The purge continues

Vote Voters Suppression Election Ballot

Source: Canva

According to the Brennan Center, around 17 million voters were removed from voter rolls from 2016 to 2018. This purge likely resulted in 1 million eligible voters being lost.

“As the country prepares for the 2020 election, election administrators should take steps to ensure that every American can cast a ballot next November. Election day is often too late to discover that a person has been wrongfully purged.”

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