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Meet the suppress: The GOP ‘confidence’ game

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Rick Horowitz
December 8, 2011

If it’s all the same to you, they’d really rather you didn’t vote.


And even if it’s not all the same to you.


It’s kind of a big thing with them, you understand—making sure you don’t cast a ballot in 2012. Which is why they’re going to such lengths, wherever they have the clout to pull it off, to keep you away from a voting booth next year.


That’s why these strict new “Voter ID” laws are suddenly springing up everywhere. (Well, everywhere a certain political party controls the Legislature and sits in the governor’s chair, anyway.) That’s why you may have to produce a driver’s license before they’ll let you vote. That’s why, if you don’t happen to have a driver’s license—lots of people don’t have driver’s licenses, and it’s not because they leave the driving to their chauffeurs—then you’ll have to come up with a birth certificate, or a marriage certificate, or the map to Al Capone’s vault, or…


I made up that last one. I think.


But they won’t make it easy for you—that’s the main thing. And it doesn’t stop there. They’re making it harder to register to vote at a polling place on Election Day, and they’re making it harder to cast an absentee ballot before Election Day.


And in the meantime, they’re also making it harder for the organizations that typically register new voters at shopping malls and the like to do their jobs: much more burdensome requirements, much tighter deadlines, much stiffer fines for any missteps, however inadvertent.


Some of those groups have finally thrown up their hands; they’ve decided—reluctantly, but still—to get out of the voter-registration business.


Which bothers a certain political party not at all. The party that’s been drafting all the new rules and throwing up all the new roadblocks. In fact, they’re smiling.


The more people they can keep from registering, the more people they can keep from voting, the more they like it.


They’re trying to protect the “integrity” of the voting process, you see.


“Protect it from what?” you may be wondering.


Why, protect it from voter fraud!


“Is voter fraud really a problem?” you may be wondering. “And are these new rules the kinds of rules that would do anything to stop it?”


Well, no. And no again.


Which is why the keep-you-from-your-polling-place forces have started pushing a new argument. It doesn’t matter how many cases of voter fraud there actually are, they say, or how many cases of voter fraud might ever be prevented by these new rules.


It’s about “confidence.”


“Confidence” in the voting process.


And if the average American citizen starts fretting that even one illegal ballot might somehow slip through the net—well, just think of the damage that could do to that average (but oh-so-fragile) American citizen’s confidence! So:


If what it takes to calm all that fretting is keeping a few thousand perfectly qualified voters from voting—or a few hundred thousand, or even a few million, which is the number some experts are projecting…


And if those thousands, or hundreds of thousands, or millions of perfectly qualified voters just happen to be found disproportionately among the young, and the poor, and the transient, among city dwellers and college students…


And if those groups just happen to vote in large percentages most of the time for the other party…


Hey—that’s the way the ballot box bounces.


It all makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? If Democrats don’t get to vote, Republicans can have plenty of confidence.


Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at rickhoro@execpc.com.

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