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The Voter Suppression Behind the Fight Against Voter Fraud

From the very moment that Black people were freed from slavery, our right to vote has been under constant attack. For most of the country’s history, violence and fear were the primary methods used to keep the Black populace out of politics. Thanks to the sacrifices made during the civil rights era, racial minorities have been able to peacefully cast their ballot for generations. However, the fight for voting rights didn’t end in the 60s. Even today, there are still politicians across the country who are working hard to minimize the political power of Black and brown people. And if they’re successful, we might find ourselves back in those old marching days.

The Black population has a close relationship with the Democrat party that spans all the way back to the Kennedy era. Meaning that whenever Black voter turnout spikes, so do the number of Democrat votes. This is what happened in the elections of 2018 and 2020. In crucial states like Michigan, Georgia, and Pennsylvania, the huge Black populations in cities like Detroit, Atlanta, and Philadelphia flipped their entire state and clenched close victories for the Democrats.

These victories left Republicans in a tough space. They needed to either change their political stance on some issues to attract minority voters or find an excuse to make major changes to the voting systems that could cut into voter turnout in those problem areas. Fortunately enough for the right-wingers in office, two words uttered by Donald Trump back in 2016 gave them the tools they needed to manipulate the voting process however they pleased. Those two words being “voter fraud.”

Despite there being absolutely no evidence to support such a serious accusation, conservatives across America have picked it up and ran with it. What had started as an attempt to preemptively discredit Hilary Clinton’s possible victory over Trump has now become the biggest cover politicians use for voter suppression.

Take the Texas Senate Bill 7 for example, a piece of legislation that is so blatantly against minorities that it’s been nicknamed “Jim Crow 2.0”. Passed back in the summer of 2021, the bill did away with drive-in voting and 24hr voting locations. It also decreased the accessibility of both mail-in ballots and early voting ballots and requires drivers transporting more than two non-relatives to the polls to submit a signed reason for doing so. All of which were methods used primarily by lower-class and racial minority voters. Nothing about these new laws prevents a person from committing fraud. They do, however, make voting hard for citizens who work long late hours, who lack reliable transpiration, and who cannot afford to take a weekday off.

Laws like these are spreading all across America. Georgia and Kentucky have already adopted their own “anti-voter fraud’ policies, and millions of Black and brown people are suffering from the effects. Voting rights groups are scrambling to find ways to offset the damage done by Republican lawmakers. Everything from providing transpiration themselves to straight-up suing the state. But for now, it seems like “Jim Crow 2.0” isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Some might dismiss voting as nothing but choosing between two equally corrupt parties, but the castration of the Black vote is much bigger than the Democrats losing a few elections. African Americans need to be involved in making the decisions that directly affect our community, and that won’t happen if we can’t elevate our leaders to positions of power. Black politicians like Gary Chambers jr., who’s running in Louisiana for US Senate, and Florida’s Anthony Hill, who’s put in his bid for a House seat. Two people from impoverished Black communities with a desire to improve their home areas. Without the support of their community, their campaigns are all but dead on arrival.

Voting is the most direct way to affect our government and the world around us. We not only have a responsibility to our community to fight for our voting rights, but a responsibility to ourselves. Because if we don’t fight for ourselves, no one else will.


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