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TM, ®, Copyright © 2016 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

    The Untold Story of a Stolen Election

    (december 2016)

    This was the first presidential election since the Supreme Court’s "Shelby County v. Holder" decision, which basically defanged the Voting Rights Act. Republican politicians in several states decided that the Supreme Court’s decision allowed their states to rewrite election laws. The excuse was to remedy voter fraud but in reality to facilitate it. I have seen no evidence that there was voter fraud in previous elections. On the other hand, the evidence is mounting that these new laws (or just the willingness to pass such laws) has severely reduced voter turnout of minorities that tend to vote for the Democratic Party. Let me quote North Carolina's Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals just before the election “the new provisions target African Americans with almost surgical precision... they impose cures for problems that did not exist.” Quote from the Brennan Center: "2016 is the First Presidential Election in 50 Years Without the Full Protections of the Voting Rights Act" (read the full report).

    The kind of "voter id" that is accepted by a state basically depends on which groups the Republicans want to disenfranchise: in Texas, a gun permit is enough while student identification is not.

    This is just the latest step in a process to disenfranchise communities that tend to vote Democratic. The plan goes back to 2010 when Republican-controlled state legislatures began passing voter ID laws and other provisions making it more difficult to vote, disproportionately for people of color, young people, and low-income people. In 2013 the right-wing Supreme Court simply encouraged more states to do so. Twenty states have passed new restrictive voting laws since 2010, and fourteen states had such laws come into effect for the first time in 2016 (Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin). The bottom line is that 43% of eligible voters and 47% of adults did not participate in this presidential election. It’s difficult to count uncast votes. We'll never know how they would have voted but an educated guess (looking at the communities where voter turnout was the lowest) is that the Democratic candidates lost not hundreds but tens of thousands of votes.

    A study by the Government Accountability Office showed that states with voter ID laws saw declines in election turnout in comparison to states that did not have voter ID laws, and that turnout was disproportionally suppressed among young voters, new voters and among African-Americans (study). A UC San Diego study examined voter turnout by various subgroups in every state across the previous five election cycles (2006 to 2014) and found that states with strict voter ID laws “reveal substantial drops in turnout for minorities”, as high as 12.5% in some cases (study).

    Wisconsin enacted voter id laws in 2014. According to a Wisconsin federal court, at the time 300,000 registered voters lacked the forms of identification that the state now requires. Coincidence or not, about 100,000 fewer votes were cast in 2016 than in 2012 in counties with a large African-American community. Wisconsin’s voter turnout was the lowest in two decades. Wisconsin even defied an order by a judge. A ThinkProgress investigation found that in Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati, voters were removed from the rolls in areas that lean Democratic at twice the rate they were in Republican-leaning areas ( ThinkProgress, October 13). Ohio's secretary of state removed voters from the rolls simply because they hadn’t voted for six years. North Carolina shut down a record 158 early polling places in 40 counties, all counties with large black communities. African-American voter participation has decreased 16%. The Republican Party of North Carolina sent out a press release literally celebrating the fact that “African-American early voting is down 8.5% from this time in 2012”. Georgia denied almost 35,000 citizens who had submitted registrations from 2013 to 2016, obviously mostly young people. Black citizens were eight times more likely to fail the verification process, and Latinos and Asian Americans were six times more likely to be rejected by the state than whites ( Atlanta Journal-Constitution study). A federal judge found that Texas’ 2011 voter ID law was intentionally racially discriminatory: more than 600,000 registered voters lacked an acceptable ID under that law. Despite the federal judge’s order, confusion among voters and poll workers continued up until and during Election Day. Texas is basically little Russia, where the governor decides which data are released and which news are available to the media. In states with histories of voting discrimination—those that had formerly been covered by the Voting Rights Act—there were 868 fewer polling places operating on Election Day ( Pam Fessler's “A Guide To The Big Photo ID, Early Voting And Other Voting Law Cases”). Black voters across the country are, on average, forced to wait in line for twice as long as white voters (Fusion, August 11).

    Election officials from North Carolina and Wisconsin even admitted these laws were discriminatory: see this article and this article. And audios like this went viral.

    Almost half of the USA now has new laws that make it harder to vote: cuts to early voting, bureaucratic obstacles to voter registration, stricter voter ID requirements, etc. See: purges of the voting rolls; reductions in early voting opportunities; Cambridge study; the closing of polling stations.

    The focus of most of these studies is on how "voter id laws" discriminate against African-Americans, but i think these studies underestimate a bigger problem: these laws affect also young people, who de facto couldn't vote in 2016.

    TM, ®, Copyright © 2016 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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TM, ®, Copyright © 2015 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.