Right up front, this has absolutely nothing to do with the Democratic Presidential primary.

No, what this is about is a rigged playing field when it comes to our elections, and how this strategy of “playing defense” – being reactive to the latest republican election crime and looking forward all while the republicans are already on to the next way to disenfranchise millions of voters who are highly unlikely to vote for them in the first place.

And just when everyone starts to realize that, yes, it is a big deal to require someone to get an “official” (whatever the hell that is) ID in order to vote – just ask the 98 year old nun in Indiana, for example, the republicans are…wait for it… once again on to the next way to suppress more likely Democratic voters.

I’ll back up for a moment with respect to these voter ID anti-voter laws, because all too many people really are clueless when it comes to why it is a big deal to obtain a photo or government or whatever else ID.

Let’s say you live in an area where you can’t afford a car (so you take public transportation), or a city where you don’t need a car (like NYC), or you are elderly and haven’t renewed a driver’s license in years or are disabled and don’t have a drivers license, or are move frequently for various reasons or have been displaced due to, oh, say, a major hurricane – just for a few examples. How are you going to be able to get sufficient documentation (birth certificate, for example), or take the time (or have the resources) to waste an entire day in order to get this “free ID”? Now, let’s say that public transportation costs money, and it is difficult to get a day off from work, or if you are disabled, you may need someone to drive you there and back (not to mention wait with you). And, for good measure, in order to get a copy of your birth certificate (that is, if you aren’t elderly or have been displaced or have moved frequently), it costs money.

Tell me again how that is “no big deal”?

But I digress.

What makes this worse is that by not screaming from the rooftops about this republican war against voting rights, the Democrats are falling right into yet another situation where the election will likely be far closer than it really would be if all eligible voters were allowed to vote and have their vote counted properly – if not an outright loss of Congressional seats by theft.

Stacking the deck at the FEC and then holding the FEC hostage so that McCain can break his own campaign finance laws. And what will be done about it? Voting machines that did not pass certification that were owned by highly partisan private interests, are highly unreliable and have shown an uncanny ability to make close to 100% of its “errors” to favor one party. And why are we still using these machines? Illegal caging, illegal scrubbing of voter rolls, illegal phone jamming, illegal redistricting, specious lawsuits by the Voting Rights Section to hinder minority district voters from voting. And what kind of real, meaningful accountability has there been? Thousands of Democratic voter registrations were thrown out by republicans during registration drives, disenfranchising all of those who thought they registered and were eligible to vote.

More importantly, while the “hanging chad” battles were being reacted to, there were privatized electronic voting machines with incredible results in Georgia. While agressive-bordering-on-illegal scrubbing of voter rolls was being reacted to, illegal caging activities were occurring, illegal redistricting was being conducted and bogus “voter fraud” charges were being used as a litmus test for the US Attorneys or as a reason to implement voter ID anti-voter laws were being passed in states with republican controlled legislatures and republican governors.

And while nuns can’t vote due to these new restrictive laws, we now have another battle to contend with – even more restrictive laws than a photo ID:

The battle over voting rights will expand this week as lawmakers in Missouri are expected to support a proposed constitutional amendment to enable election officials to require proof of citizenship from anyone registering to vote.

The measure would allow far more rigorous demands than the voter ID requirement recently upheld by the Supreme Court, in which voters had to prove their identity with a government-issued card.

Sponsors of the amendment — which requires the approval of voters to go into effect, possibly in an August referendum — say it is part of an effort to prevent illegal immigrants from affecting the political process. Critics say the measure could lead to the disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of legal residents who would find it difficult to prove their citizenship.

In Missouri, the Secretary of State estimates that this will impact up to 240,000 people. And in Arizona, where this is also a law, an estimated 25,000+ people had their registration rejected for “lack of proof”, even though they swore under oath that they were legal US citizens. And as I said the other day, the US Department of Justice has only had 40 instances of ballot fraud, and only 20 that were noncitizens in a close to four year period.

And speaking of making sure that the proper votes getting counted, lest we forget that it was not just republicans but also republican party operatives in 2000 who were intimidating the vote counters and it was the republican activist judges on the SCOTUS who declared Bush the winner as a result of their mandate to stop counting the votes.

Forget all of this nonsense about “the integrity of the voting system”. There is an all out assault on the rights of people to vote if they are not likely to vote for republicans. It is done under the guise of stopping illegal voters from voting. But the numbers don’t support that. The facts don’t support that. And history doesn’t support that.

It is much more simple – if you aren’t going to vote republican (and more and more people in general as well as various demographic groups are not), then there is a major effort underway to make sure that it is as difficult as possible for you to vote.

And if it isn’t you specifically, it could very well be someone you know.

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