Can we have a fair election?

In a capitalist democracy, there are two sources of power—money power and people power.

These days money power is flourishing—partly because of court decisions that say spending money is free speech under the First Amendment, and that corporations have First Amendment rights, but more simply because of the enormous concentration of wealth.

reagaon-couldnt-vote-todays-gop-vot3r-suppression5_n1At the same time, Republican state legislatures are rigging the election process through gerrymandering, and figuring out ways to disqualify voters, especially blacks, Hispanics and students, and make it more difficult to register to vote.

An analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice indicated that the reduction in the number of votes as a result of voter suppression laws in 2014 was greater than the margin of victory in the North Carolina and Virginia Senate races and in the Kansas and Florida Governorship races.

The Brennan Center can’t prove that the suppressed voters would have voted for the losing candidate, but that’s not the point.  Voting should be regarded as a basic American right.  If it isn’t, we Americans might as well go back to being ruled by hereditary monarchs and aristocrats.

Elizabeth Drew wrote that it is telling how few Republicans participated in the 50th anniversary of the Selma, Alabama, voting rights march.

Investigative reporter Brad Friedman reported electronic voting machines are an even more insidious threat to voting rights, because your vote can be canceled without your knowledge.   He told how easy it is to tamper with electronic voting machines without detection.  Internet voting is even worse.

I couldn’t find a list of states that use electronic voting machines.  Friedman reported touch-screen machine were used in the 2014 elections in Texas, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, among others.  But a watchdog organization called Verified Voting said many states are abandoning electronic voting because the machines are too expensive to maintain.

LINKS

How Much of a Difference Did New Voting Restrictions Make in 2014’s Close Races? by Wendy L. Welser for the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law.

The Results Were Skewed Toward Republicans by Brad Friedman for the BRAD Blog.

The great American voting scam: How political insiders are gaining the power to steal our elections by Brad Friedman for Salon.

Big Dangers for the Next Election by Elizabeth Drew for the New York Review of Books.

Georgia Secretary of State Hammers Minority Voter Registration Efforts by Spencer Woodman for The New Republic.

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