High on many of the extremist Republicans' list is Voter ID legislation. Of course. This keeps more Democratically inclined voters from the polls and thus increases the likelihood of Republican control. It's not just voter ID either. As the New York Times notes in an editorial, suppression can also come in curtailing early voting opportunities, which has been done by Republicans in Florida and Ohio, important swing states. Vote early during non-working hours?
...if you live in Cincinnati, you’re out of luck. Republicans on the county election board are planning to end early voting in the city promptly at 5 p.m., and ban it completely on weekends, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer. The convenience, in other words, will not be extended to the city’s working people.
The sleazy politics behind the disparity is obvious. Hamilton County, which contains Cincinnati, is largely Democratic and voted solidly for Barack Obama in 2008. So did the other urban areas of Cleveland, Columbus and Akron, where Republicans, with the assistance of the Ohio secretary of state, Jon Husted, have already eliminated the extended hours for early voting.
The subject brings also commentary from Wendell Griffen, still recuperating from a bicycle wreck injury but also still able to thunder in this op-ed on voter suppression tactics. The judge and pastor writes a call to church action in Ethics Daily:
Claims of voter fraud have consistently been exposed as baseless. The Brennan Center exposed the falsity of that myth in a publication titled "Truth About Fraud," which concludes that "one is more likely to be struck by lightning than to commit voter fraud."
The new laws are the real fraud. They are intended to discourage, intimidate, suppress and prevent voting by poor, non-white, formerly incarcerated, elderly and disabled citizens.
They are intended to defraud our neighbors of their right to exercise that most cherished right of our supposedly participatory democracy — voting.
...What are followers of Jesus doing about this blatant defrauding of our neighbors and corruption of the democratic process? What is your congregation doing to register and encourage voting by people who are targeted for disenfranchisement? What is your pastor saying about it? Why won't you do something about it? And what does it mean if you don't, for whatever reasons?
In the parable of the Good Samaritan, the priest and Levite who saw the robbed and beaten man in the Jericho Road refused to treat him as a neighbor.
This year, five million Americans risk political disenfranchisement because of voter ID requirements, restrictions on voter registration efforts and similar schemes.
And as in the great parable, current priests and Levites appear disturbingly willing to ignore their plight.
Well, we already know how Arkansas Republicans feel about that Good Samaritan tale of neighborliness. If the Samaritan wants to help out, that's his business. They have other plans about whom to help, beginning with themselves.
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