Monday, April 1, 2013

The Face of Voter Suppression

Melowese Richardson, “The Face of Voter Suppression in America”

Melowese Richardson is an election judge in Hamilton County, Ohio with 25 years of experience.  She has just been indicted by an Ohio grand jury for voter fraud.

What’s important to understand is that while Ms. Richardson has been accused of voting multiple times for President Obama, she does not believe this is fraudulent activity.  As an election judge, and a protector of our democratic freedoms, she believes the principle of “one person, one vote” does not apply to her.

Where would she get that idea?

She seems to have been taught that her actions are necessary in the fight against Republicans who want to hurt Americans.  She is simply doing what is right and natural.

And where might she get that point of view?

Here is a video of yesterday’s Easter Sunday sermon presented by Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC.  Ms. Harris-Perry teaches us that Republicans actively engage in voter suppression, and that photo identification of voters is a sinister activity.

Here are her remarks:

It may not be an election year, but that does not mean we can rest in our constant vigilance to protect the fragile and increasingly endangered health of our democracy.  Yes, folks, “This Week in Voter Suppression” is back, with a vengeance.  The Nation magazine’s Ari Berman reports that in the first quarter of 2013, states around the country have proposed 55 new voting restrictions.  The suppression-proposing states include Arkansas, Connecticut, Iowa, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.

But the worst offender this week was Virginia, where Governor Bob “Trans-Vaginal” McDonnell signed a new suppression law that will likely cost the state more than $7 million and disenfranchise more than 850,000 eligible, legal voters.  His tool of choice, like that of most of the states, is the entirely unnecessary government-issued photo ID and because you followed our “This Week in Voter Suppression” series here on MHP in 2012, you already know that these laws are a solution to a problem that does not exist.

You also know these restrictions have a clear, disparate impact on the poor, the physically disabled, the elderly, college students, and black and Latino voters.  These laws do not protect the integrity of democracy.  They undermine it.  These laws undermine the basic precept of a healthy democracy: That to live in a democracy is to have the right to govern, not just to be governed; to rule, not just to be ruled; to be heard, not silenced - and here is the big one - to live without fear that winners take all.

You see, democracy is unique, powerful and enduring, not because it serves the interest of winners.  I mean, totalitarian regimes do that.  Democracy’s special claim on world history is that it protects the rights and interests of the losers as well.  Winning an election is not the same thing as staging a coup.  Democracy is for losers because it ensures that winners don’t take all.  They can only take their share.  But it also ensures that the less powerful have a stake, a voice and an equal capacity for self-governance.

We the people means all of us, which is why, on Thursday, President Obama signed an executive order creating a special commission designed to protect our ability to cast a vote and have a voice.  It’s just in time, because the threats to our votes are very real.

Do you sense the characterizations?  Republicans are anti-democracy and want to hurt the disadvantaged.  Their “tool of choice”: Voter Suppression.

Melowese Richardson believes it is legitimate to vote six times in order to achieve the necessary fairness for democracy in America.

Melissa Harris-Perry is sympathetic.
UPDATE 5/23/2013:
John Fund highlights another instance of voter suppression, this time on a much larger scale:
Lois Lerner, IRS Director of Exempt Organizations
UPDATE 8/14/2013:
Melowese Richardson has been convicted of voter fraud and sentenced to five years in prison.  In addition, 94 election workers at 16 precincts (all but one of these precincts supervised by Democratic Party election judges) have been excluded from working future elections.

UPDATE 8/28/2013:
In Minnesota, two women are charged with double-voting.  Although a federal crime, this is typically not prosecuted by the DOJ.  (Melowese Richardson was convicted of a state crime, not a federal crime.)  For our current federal government, this is not a problem, at least if you vote the "right way." 

That appears to be the defense of Farhiya Dool and Amina Hassan in Minnesota.  Their friends say they simply made an honest mistake.  Their attorney says she finds it "offensive" that these women have been criminally charged.

When the Constitution and the rule of law are considered "offensive" in America, what could possibly go wrong?

UPDATE 3/24/2014:
J. Christian Adams points out that Eric Holder will not bring charges against Melowese Richardson, even though federal law makes it a felony to vote more than once for President.  Mr. Adams characterizes our United States Department of Justice as "facilitating a culture of brazen criminality."

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