Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Salon, please explain

After telling Salon to screw off awhile back, their shameful editorial position regarding the copius evidence of Republican vote rigging in 2004 simply too much to tolerate anymore, I finally got around to reading the article, Salon's Shameful Six. That the article even exists is a sign that perhaps the editors were swinging toward reality and the tale contained therein is dire indeed.

The documented efforts by Republican-dominated state bureaucracies and legislatures in Indiana, Arizona, California, Missouri, and of course, our old friends in Ohio and Florida, are stunning enough and the common theme throughout has been new legislative requirements in these states of photo-IDs for voter registration. The tale of 79 year old Theresa Clemente serves up a taste of what many voters can expect when trying to obtain a state-sanctioned ID:
Take the never-ending bureaucratic maze Theresa Clemente, a 79-year-old Fort Wayne resident born in Massachusetts, has been forced to navigate. An Indiana resident for 15 years, she'd never had a driver's license when she moved to the state to live near her son. So when she learned that the state required a state-issued photo I.D. to vote, her husband drove her down to the delay-plagued Bureau of Motor Vehicles to get a photo I.D. On her first visit, she brought her Social Security card, her voter registration card, two bills and a credit card, but that wasn't good enough. She had to return three more times, with BMV drones telling her successively she needed a copy of her birth certificate, then a $28 state-certified birth certificate from Massachusetts, and finally a marriage certificate because her birth certificate listed only her maiden name -- although all her various I.D.s carried the married name she has used for 53 years.
Apparently, Americans trying to vote in Indiana will have a far harder time of it than purple-fingered Iraqis ever did. Other tales seem even worse, as veterans with VA medical identification were told that their id cards were insufficient to prove voter eligibility.

But despite copious testimony by voting experts and voter rights advocates and overt statements within the article itself that Republicans, desperate in the lead-up to November's election given the poll numbers lately, have passed these laws specifically to disenfranchise voters of traditional Democratic groups, the article still makes one of the single most bizarre statements that I have ever seen regarding the Ohio election. It seems Salon editors just can't appear to shift their position, so solidly have they staked themselves to it:
While the allegation that Blackwell helped "steal" the election from John Kerry is debatable, the view that he intentionally suppressed voting by Democratic-leaning groups is less controversial.
Less controversial. Well, that's a start. Editors seem to allow that Blackwell suppressed the vote in Democratic districts but not that he "helped steal the election." I would like Salon to explain how helping "steal" the election and efforts that "intentionally supressed" the vote are in any way different.

The rest of the article does indeed paint a grim picture for November. And despite various grassroots groups across the country resisting the installation of hackable Diebold et al. machines, the new laws are something that are tough to fight. There are some lawsuits seeking injunctive measures against them but I don't have much hope that these efforts will prevail. This is a multi-front assault on the voting rights of the poor, the dispossessed, and other minority groups.

Remember this when those election totals in November don't quite work out the way the polls are indicating they should. And then, I wonder if Salon will wake up to what is really going on.


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