INSTEAD OF BREAKING THE LAW AGAINST TARGETING MINORITIES, THE GOP WANTS TO CAN THE LAW. On Thursday, June 22, they voted to not renew the 1965 Voting Rights Act, an act which prohibit state laws
which were used for racial targeting.
VOTING RIGHTS ACT NAILED TO BURNING CROSS
Behind the “Delay” in Renewing Law is Scheme for Theft of ‘08
White Sheets Changed for Spreadsheets
by Greg Palast, For The Guardian, June 23, 2006.
[New York] Don’t kid yourself. The Republican Party’s
decision yesterday to “delay” the renewal of the Voting Rights Act has not a darn thing to do with objections
of the Republican’s White Sheets Caucus.
Complaints by a couple
of Good Ol' Boys to legislation has never stopped the GOP leadership from rolling over dissenters. This is a strategic stall — meant to de-criminalize the Republican Party's new game of challenging
voters of color by the hundreds of thousands.
In the 2004 Presidential race, the GOP ran a massive multi-state,
multi-million-dollar operation to challenge the legitimacy of Black, Hispanic and Native-American voters. The methods
used broke the law -- the Voting Rights Act. And while the Bush Administration's Civil Rights Division grinned and looked
the other way, civil rights lawyers are circling, preparing to sue to stop the violations of the Act before the 2008 race.
Therefore, Republicans have promised to no longer break the law --
not by going legit … but by eliminating the law. The Act was passed in
1965 after the Ku Klux Klan and other upright citizens found they could use procedural tricks -- "literacy tests," poll taxes
and more -- to block citizens of color from casting ballots.
the "caging" lists
Here's what happened in '04 -- and what's in store for '08. In the 2004 election, over THREE MILLION voters were challenged at the polls. No one had seen anything
like it since the era of Jim Crow and burning crosses. In 2004, voters were told their registrations had been purged
or that their addresses were "suspect." Denied the right to the regular
voting booths, these challenged voters were given "provisional" ballots. Over a million of these provisional ballots
(1,090,729 of them) were tossed in the electoral dumpster uncounted. Funny thing
about those ballots. About 88% were cast by minority voters.
This isn't a number dropped on me from a
black helicopter [allusion to the conspiracy nuts who believe the U.S. has thousands of military black helicopters for domestic use—jk].
They come from the raw data of the US Election Assistance Commission in Washington, DC. At the heart of the GOP's mass challenge of voters were
what the party's top brass called, "caging lists" -- secret files of hundreds of thousands of voters, almost every one from
a Black-majority voting precinct.
When our investigations team, working for BBC TV, got our hands on these confidential
files in October 2004, the Republicans told us the voters listed were their potential "donors." Really? The sheets included
pages of men from homeless shelters in Florida. Donor lists, my ass. Every expert told us, these
were "challenge lists," meant to stop these Black voters from casting ballots. When
these "caged" voters arrived at the polls in November 2004, they found their registrations missing, their right to vote blocked
or their absentee ballots rejected because their addresses were supposedly "fraudulent."
Why didn't the GOP honchos
'fess up to challenging these allegedly illegal voters? Because targeting voters of color is AGAINST THE LAW.
The law in question is the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Act says you can't
go after groups of voters if you choose your targets based on race. Given that almost all the voters on the GOP hit
list are Black, the illegal racial profiling is beyond even Karl Rove's ability to come up with an alibi.
target Black folk not because they don't like the color of their skin. They don't like the color of their vote:
Democrat. For that reason, the GOP included on its hit list Jewish retirement homes in Florida. Apparently, the GOP was also gunning for the Elderly of
These so-called "fraudulent" voters, in fact, were not fraudulent
at all. Page after page, as we've previously reported, are Black soldiers sent overseas. The Bush campaign used
their absence from their US homes to accuse them of voting from false addresses. Now
that the GOP has been caught breaking the Voting Rights law, they have found a way to keep using their expensively obtained
"caging" lists: let the law expire next year. If the Voting Rights Act dies in 2007, the 2008 race will be open
season on dark-skinned voters. Only the renewal of the Voting Rights Act can prevent the planned racial wrecking of
"Pre-clearance" and the Great Blackout of 2000
the 2000 presidential balloting, then Jeb Bush's Secretary of State purged thousands of Black citizens' registrations on the
grounds that they were "felons" not entitled to vote. Our review of the files determined that the crimes of most on
the list was nothing more than VWB -- Voting While Black.
scrub," as the state called it, had to be "pre-cleared" under the Voting Rights Act. That is, "scrubs" and other changes in
procedures must first be approved by the US Justice Department.
The Florida felon scrub slipped through this "pre-clearance" provision because
Katherine Harris' assistant assured the government the scrub was just a clerical matter. Civil rights lawyers are now
on the alert for such mendacity. The Burning Cross Caucus of the Republican Party
is bitching that "pre-clearance" of voting changes applies only to Southern states. I have to agree that singling out
the Old Confederacy is a bit unfair. But the solution is not to smother the Voting Rights law but to spread its safeguards
to all fifty of these United States.
White Sheets to Spread Sheets
argue that the racial voting games and the threats of the white-hooded Klansmen that kept African-Americans from the ballot
box before the 1965 passage of the Voting Rights Act no longer threaten Black voters.
That's true. When I look over the "caging lists" and the "scrub sheets," it's clear to me that the GOP has traded
in white sheets for spreadsheets.
Greg Palast is the author of
Armed Madhouse: Who's Afraid of Osama Wolf?, China Floats Bush Sinks, the Scheme to Steal '08, No Child's
Behind Left and other Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War. Order it here.