Friday, December 24, 2004

From Selma to Columbus

Afro-Americans Still Disenfranchized:

Columbus, Ohio - Voter Suppression Videos
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Added to homepage Thu Dec 23rd 2004, 11:52 AM ET

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Ohio voter suppression.

The video footage provides a first hand glimpse of what transpired in Franklin County on Election Day, only in heavily leaning Democratic precincts, including unexplained voting machine shortages, organized campaigns directing voters to the wrong polling places, malfunctioning voter tabulation equipment, election worker confusion and incompetence, and a host of other problems. However, as detailed in an official affidavit by Richard Hayes Phillips, a geomorphology Ph.D. from University of Oregon, the extent of voter disenfranchisement was systematic and widespread in African American precincts throughout the state. Dr. Phillips sworn testimony read:

"For the second Presidential election in a row African American voters have been subjugated to second class citizens through systematic efforts by Republicans to suppress, intimidate, and disenfranchise our vote," said Rev. Bill Moss, the original Plaintiff in Ohio, and founder of the Center for Freedom and Justice. "Whether its Katherine Harris or Kenneth Blackwell, the purpose is the same: do everything in their power to ensure George W. Bush becomes President. If those in power are willing and able to thwart democracy and abuse the civil rights of American voters, right in the face of the press and public, what won’t they do? I am contesting this election because tyranny, particularly in the guise of democracy, is our civic duty to fight."
And, graphically, from The Election, Part 2: Fraud, Intimidation, and Suppression by Hunter
Wed Dec 22nd, 2004 at 11:37:19 PST www.dailykos.com:

By far the single most troubling demonstration of possibly widespread voter suppression -- and when I use this term, make no mistake that I mean race-based suppression -- was demonstrated visually by dKos diarist jmknapp in his diary Cuyahoga County African American voting patterns, and again emphasized earlier this week by TocqueDeville. Mapping precinct locations over a color-coded map of Cuyahoga County showing majority-black vs. majority white municipalities, we can get a good approximation of precinct densities and, roughly speaking, population densities:

But in mapping where actual ballot spoilage occurred, jmknapp demonstrated visually that spoiled ballots (presidential over- and under-votes) occurred primarily in majority-black neighborhoods.

That's not just a "strong correlation". That's something damn near approaching conclusive evidence that something was going on in the black precincts that wasn't going on elsewhere. In his other diaries, he demonstrates similar patterns.

I will state outright that, of all the statistical analyses that purport to "prove" something about this election, this is one of the very few that, in my own opinion, is both demonstrating something concrete and has no immediately obvious counter-explanation. It is strong circumstantial evidence of something, and that something needs to be investigated, regardless of other election efforts.



The Bottom Line

It is clear, just from the most solid tier of evidence, that there were Republican efforts to disenfranchise minority voters in specific, and Democratic-leaning voters in general. Whether it be flyers, phone calls, or the work of Sproul & Associates, this election, like many past elections, demonstrated once again that the Republican Party goes to great lengths to try and keep certain minority groups from expressing their voting rights.

The question is, of course, what to do about it. If these efforts had a common organizer, it hasn't been discovered yet; in fact, most of these minority intimidation/deception tactics have been going on a very long time, and hardly need an "organizer" at this point. If we were serious about voter suppression and intimidation efforts, however, we'd be pursuing evidence against and indictments of the people who participated in those efforts -- including some specific Republican poll "challengers" at certain precincts who took their role as "challengers" of minority voters very, very seriously.


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