Republican and Tea Party efforts to stop minority voting in 2010 elections

October 22, 2010 | By | 1 Reply More

The NAACP says the Tea Party has racists, and needs to do a better job of policing its ranks despite Tea Party efforts to kick out avowed racists.

But, an even more sinister effort seems to be underway by concealed and veiled contributions to Tea Party efforts in general and those for voter suppression in particular. Two billionaire brothers have seemingly set up the financial foundation for the Tea Party and other groups’ efforts to oppose any change in the political environment that the brothers deem unacceptable to their extreme far right wing philosophy. The efforts of the groups supported by the billionaire brothers apparently are now are focused on voter suppression in states such as Illinois, Wisconsin and Nevada where key Democratic seats in the US Senate are up for re-election in two weeks. The seat once held by President Obama, the seat held by Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, and the seat held by the Democratic author of campaign finance reform, Russ Feingold are all in play. Republicans or the Tea Partiers are involved in alleged “voter security” efforts in all three states.   See, also, this video.  And see here, here, here and here.

In Nevada, Tea Party candidate Sharron Angle has run a number of highly charged ads about alleged support by Senator Reid of “illegal aliens.” A new group calling itself “Latinos for Reform” has attempted to buy ads on Univision, a Spanish speaking network, urging Latino voters to skip the November elections. Univision has refused to run the ads. “Latinos for Reform” has the same PO Box as the group that organized the “Swift Boat Veterans” circa 2004 against Senator John Kerry’s Democratic bid for the presidency and is run by the former Bush administration liaison to the Hispanic community.  And see here.

In Wisconsin, WisconsinNow, a public interest group has disclosed it has video and taped evidence of voter suppression plans or “caging” by Wisconsin Republicans, the Wisconsin Tea Party and “Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin” in the Russ Feingold race. Americans for Prosperity was started by the billionaire brothers and was formerly run by former GOP House power Dick Armey. There’s a twist in Wisconsin in that student voters are also targeted along with minorities in Wisconsin. Students, according to US Supreme Court decisions and federal law, may register and vote as long as they reside in the state where they attend school.   And see here.

In Illinois, Republican Senatorial candidate Mark Kirk was caught on tape about his efforts to make sure the “vote was secure” in African-American areas of the state of Illinois which usually turn out heavily for Democratic candidates.   See this video. and also see here.

The real twist to the GOP efforts in Illinois is that the Republicans’ poll watching efforts are run by an avowed “birther” who has circulated petitions to impeach President Obama and filed suits to declare President Obama ineligible for the presidency because he has failed to prove his American birth.

Minority voter intimidation tactics by Tea Partiers have also been alleged in Texas.

To the degree that the state and national officials of the Republican Party are “public officials,” there is clear and convincing evidence that these “public officials” stand ready to prevent African-American, Hispanics and other minority voters from voting by subterfuge and other improper tactics which arise to the level of a “property qualification” prohibited by federal constitutional law. The other “caging” tactics adopted by the RNC, its state affiliates and their Tea Party and allied groups merely appear to violate federal civil rights statutes, privacy statutes and laws which outlaw criminal conspiracies to violate such statutes.

In 1981, the RNC in New Jersey sent out postcards to voters and challenging any voter where the post card was returned as undelivered or undeliverable (some 45,000). The areas where the post cards were sent were overwhelmingly black.  The RNC calls this “unremitting and ingenious” tactic “caging.”  “Caging” is where the RNC makes a systematic attempt at minority voter suppression by creating massive mailing lists of voters and challenging them on the claim the voters do not reside at the location listed on the voter rolls.

The practice was challenged in court and a consent decree was entered into by the Republican National Committee which prohibited such practices by the RNC nationally. Consent Order, Democratic National Committee v. Republican National Committee, CA No. 81-3876 (D. N.J. entered Nov. 1, 1982).

In 1986, in Louisiana, the RNC engaged in a similar post card mailing effort attempting to have 31,000 voters removed from the voter registration rolls, the consent decree was re-opened by the Democratic National Committee and stopped these practices. Settlement and Stipulation and Order of Dismissal, Democratic National Committee v. Republican National Committee, CA No. 81-3876 (D. N.J. entered July 27, 1987). It appears that the tactics being used by Republicans and their surrogates in Illinois, Wisconsin and Nevada may have needed pre-clearance by the Court and are unauthorized.

In 2008, there was a new twist added to the RNC “caging” arsenal. The Michigan Republican Party sent the post cards to addresses in low-income and minority neighborhoods where the RNC doesn’t get support and prepared to challenge the predominantly black and Hispanic voters from lists of persons which had foreclosures done on their homes! After another suit was filed, the RNC backed off, again!

In 2008, some covered states the GOP sought to suppress minority votes by subterfuge by sending out fliers or mailers to the black and Hispanic areas telling voters polling places had changed or the election date was changed or changed if it rained. Some violence or threats were indicated.

The GOP has a long history of a “Southern Strategy” to carve out white voters from the Democrats by supporting segregation and suppression of minority votes; which history goes back to Civil War Reconstruction, not just back to GOP Presidential nominee Richard Nixon. It seems that until some court of competent jurisdiction speaks to the Wisconsin, Illinois and Nevada issues we will see that history of Republican racist voter suppression efforts, backed by corporate billionaires and their Astro-Turf front groups, repeated in the 2010 elections and beyond.

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Category: Politics

About the Author ()

imothy E. Hogan is a trial attorney, a husband, a father of two awesome children and a practicing Roman Catholic in St. Louis, Missouri. Mr. Hogan has done legal and political work in Jefferson City, Missouri for partisan and non-partisan social change, environmental and consumer protection groups. Mr. Hogan has also worked for consumer advocate Ralph Nader in Washington, DC and the members of the trial bar in the State of New York. Mr. Hogan’s current interests involve remaining a full time solo practitioner pioneer on the frontiers of justice in America, a good husband and a good father to his awesome children.

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  1. Edgar Montrose says:

    Given this, and their now multiple threats of violent insurrection, it appears to me that the "Tea Party" isn't the "Tea Party" at all — it's the "T Party", and the "T" stands for "Treason".

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