Republicans launch biggest voter intimidation effort ever

Republicans launch biggest voter intimidation effort ever

Sticker that says "fraud" on a HVAC system

Flickr / Michele Hubacek

Instead of working on ideas for health care reform or how to keep families from starving, the GOP is using their time spreading rumors of rampant voter fraud and amassing an army of “volunteers” to “monitor” polling places on Election Day. Wonderful.

This is what happens when you dismantle the Voting Rights Act

Close up photo of a gavel

Unsplash / Bill Oxford

Why now? We have a 2018 federal court ruling to thank for the added layer of intimidation under the guise of “fairness.” For the first time in nearly four decades, the GOP can legally mount campaigns against alleged voter fraud without court approval. The courts had previously banned these purges, after finding instances of Republicans intimidating minority voters.

This ruling is merely a continuation of the GOP’s voter suppression after the Supreme Court dismantled the Voting Rights Act in 2013.

The only fraud is saying that there is fraud

Protest with one man holding a sign that says "I wish this were fake news"

Unsplash / Kayla Velasquez

The recently formed and ironically named, Honest Elections Project, has already spent $250,000 on advertising that opposes voting by mail. Because y’know… fraud.

In the 2016 election, in which over 135,000,000 votes were cast, there were four cases of voter fraud. That’s right. Four.

Here they are:

Terri Lynn Rote voted twice in Iowa — but not for Hillary. Terri not only voted for Trump but said that her multiple votes were a result of King Donald proclaiming that “the polls are rigged.”

Phillip Cook voted twice in Texas. Again, neither went for Hillary. Cook claimed to be an employee of Trump’s campaign, who just happened to be testing the security of the electoral system.

Audrey Cook cast a ballot on behalf of her dead husband in Illinois. Cook also happens to be a Republican election judge. Her husband died before completing his absentee ballot, so she filled it out for him and sent it in.

Gladys Coego was hired to open absentee ballots when one of her co-workers saw her filling in the box for a mayoral candidate. She was caught and arrested. Oh, and there was zero evidence that she changed any presidential votes.

“It’s utter nonsense. This has been shown over and over. The continued insistence that there are material levels of intentional voter fraud is itself a form of fraud.” — Kenneth R. Mayer, an elections expert at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Turnout vs. persuasion

Close up of hands in handcuffs

Canva

Spoiler alert! The Republicans are trying to keep the voter turnout down. Some would say they are a one-trick pony and know that’s their only path to victory.

The court order vacated in 2018 involved repeated efforts to depress Democratic turnout. Remember, this is the same party that recruited off-duty police officers in New Jersey wearing “National Ballot Security Task Force” armbands to monitor polling places in black and Latino neighborhoods. A lawsuit claimed the officers harassed voters and poll workers and prevented volunteers from helping people cast ballots.

50,000 volunteers

Anti-lockdown protestors holding automatic rifles

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

The 50,000 volunteers will be concentrated in 15 battleground states to not only “monitor” polling places but to challenge ballots and voters they feel are “suspicious.” (See minority voters)

“This is a burn-it-down strategy, a strategy to win at all costs. They see this as central to victory.” — Lauren Groh-Wargo, senior adviser at Fair Fight

The back-up plan if they lose

Cartoon of Trump as Uncle Sam

Pixabay

Remember back in 2016, when the media kept asking Trump if Hillary won, would he accept the results? His response — “We’ll see” — was not only predictable but was also terrifying. And that was before he was president.

Now that he’s had four years to rev up his base and insist that the polls are fake and the only way he could possibly lose is if it’s rigged bakes uncertainty into the equation and makes MAGAs question the integrity of the election. How’s that for an extra dose of irony?

“When was the last time a party said it would spend $20 million to make voting harder?” — Mark Elias, Washington lawyer

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