I oscillate regularly between optimism and pessimism about the upcoming election. If you’re on Team Don’t Drink Bleach, then Trump must go, of course, but the composition of Congress is everything too. Whether we get an opportunity to take a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to the orange shit-stain in the White House, pass legislation that will address galloping inequities in everything from justice, wealth, health, etc. — it all depends on a free and fair election.
Republicans showed in Wisconsin just how far they’re willing to go to deny people the franchise. Thanks to that state’s excellent party organization, Democrats beat back the GOP effort to rig a state supreme court election. Are parties in the other states prepared? Probably not, but now is the time to get ready.
We got some good news over the weekend in Florida:
TALLAHASSEE — A federal judge ruled Sunday that it is unconstitutional to prevent felons in Florida from voting because they can’t afford to pay back court fees, fines and restitution to victims, striking down parts of a law passed by Republican lawmakers and signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis last year.
Calling the law a “pay-to-vote system,” U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle’s 125-page ruling declares that court fees are a tax, and it creates a new process for determining whether felons are eligible to vote.
Poll tax, zapped. But the governor is a Trump toady, and he will surely appeal the decision, which may make it to the SCOTUS before the election. I don’t doubt for a second that the partisan Republican majority on the SCOTUS will reinstate the FL poll tax if they think it will help the party keep the Federalist Society conveyor belt running to deposit hard-right cranks onto the bench.
Trump has been bellowing about voter fraud on Twitter for
weeks years and is at it again today, equating the same mail-in ballots he and the Third Lady use to ALL CAPS VOTER FRAUD. As we know, voter fraud isn’t really a thing in U.S. elections. In-person voter fraud is vanishingly rare, and the few cases of consequential fraud detected are almost always perpetrated by Republican operatives committing election fraud (like the NC 9th case) or the recent Florida kook whose party registration scheme imploded due to stupidity.
But reality is no obstacle to determined liars and cheats. So, we need to make this the question in each and every state: Why are Republicans trying to stop you from voting?
One persistent problem we have with our electorate is that too many regard the franchise as an act of performance art rather than a civic duty. Among that group, many are non-voters overcome with ennui because “both sides.” Well, here’s a clear contrast that will become clearer every day between now and the election: Republicans want to make it hard for you to vote. If voting becomes an act of defiance as it did in Wisconsin, maybe Republicans’ cheating to win strategy will blow up in their ugly faces again.
For this election cycle, I’m focusing 100% of my volunteer efforts on supporting voting rights nationwide and encouraging swing state Democrats to vote by mail. In the six swing states that will likely determine the election (AZ, FL, NC, MI, PA, WI), voters can already apply for a mail-in ballot, no excuse needed.
As we know to our sorrow and ruination, Republicans have an enduring structural advantage in the Electoral College. But we’ve already won the war on mail-in ballots in these crucial states, and since we can anticipate the levels of fuckery the GOP will throw at us and cannot know what wrinkles the pandemic will introduce in November, we need to press that advantage starting right now.
I’ve said this before and will probably continue to be a broken record on this for the next several months. I apologize in advance for that. But it’s super-important! There are many wonderful organizations out there already engaged in this fight. I’m a fan of VoteRiders and Postcards to Voters, but please feel free to share links to other outfits that are working on these issues in comments.