“Voter Suppression” and Voting Integrity
Not all restrictions on the right to vote should be viewed as illegal.
Clear thinking is not improved by calling a restriction on the right to vote “suppressing voters”. Also, regulations that have such a diverse impact on black Americans are not necessarily racist. Throughout American history, urban political machines that looked after emerging groups in society have been prone to electoral fraud. Lincoln Steffens The shame of the cities is not far behind us, nor are the 60,000 “ghost voices” of Boss Pendergast’s Kansas City. Lowering all restrictive regulations is in fact “Defiancy Down”.
Likewise demands to the Restricting gerrymandering is not credible when laws like the Democrats H.R.1 seek to grandfather racist gerrymandering, which is carried out on the basis of the Second Suffrage Act.
The pandemic led to numerous changes in voting procedures, most notably improved mail-in voting, an expansion of early voting and a relaxation of identification requirements. The novelty of the new rules limited the playing of the system; if they persist, the potential to the Harassment is better understood.
Not all restrictions on the right to vote should be viewed as presumably illegal. There were property requirements, electoral taxes, and residency requirements for the theory that voters should participate in the system and not sacrifice others to gain advantage. These have rightly been undermined as property, with industrialization and a service economy, is no longer synonymous with virtue. But it’s still reasonable to have voting rules that prevent you from literally buying votes.
Literacy tests were accepted as appropriate by the drafters of the 15th Amendment. The North Carolina Test was unanimously upheld by the Supreme Court ruled by Judge William Douglas in, unlike most that were fairly conducted in later days Lassiter v Northampton County Board of Elections a few years later Brown v Board of Education. They have since been banned by federal law first in the states where they are believed to have been abused and then generally, although the validity of the latest law may be questioned. But there is certainly enough left of previous concerns to the We must not vote in the affirmative by the senile, the mentally frail under institutional control, and those under guardianship because they are unable to manage their affairs.
Criminal convictions once forfeited civil rights. The theory is that those who couldn’t rule themselves shouldn’t rule others. In the Athenian system, citizens’ voting rights went hand in hand with civic duties and offices. The ravages of the drug war have made us friendlier to offenses and even criminals, but it is certainly still sensible to have procedures for restricting voting by those willing to engage in serious crime.
Mail-in polls are useful for bribery and improper influence. There is no guarantee that the voter marked their own ballot paper or that the ballot papers were not exchanged to the Money, meals, drugs or alcohol. The danger is compounded if party workers, not relatives, are allowed to cast ballots remotely, a practice restricted in the UK.
Likewise, an early coordination is not only sought to the those who have to work on election day, or even have to allow pastors to herd their flocks from Sunday service to the elections, but to facilitate the bus delivery of frail, apathetic and senile voters gathered in nursing homes to the elections. So an early election day is not enough; The Democrats in Congress want 15 of them so as not to override the available buses or party workers’ time. In most swing states, early voting was allowed up to three months before the election so that promises could be made to target groups that the electorate did not remember by election day.
Those willing to engage in violent or white-collar crime will not be deterred by signature matching, a dubious science in times of deteriorated handwriting, nor will it prevent deceased relatives from cemetery voting without photo identification.
It is true that our age is an age in which the union of rights and duties has disappeared. Those who avoid compulsory military service and jury service can still hold high office. The age of the soundbite no longer encourages counseling through literacy requirements. But it’s still perverse to encourage voting by criminals, the mentally ill, those willing to impersonate the dead, and those willing to sell their ballots. A price for cynicism, a lack of civic responsibility and solidarity and a lack of trust in the political system is paid by those who are concerned about what Professor Paul Freund once called “the little triumphs of the hour”.
HR1 bears no resemblance to the bipartisan recommendations of the electoral reform initiative (2001) of the constitutional project or the commission for the reform of the federal elections (2005) chaired by former President Jimmy Carter and former Foreign Minister James Baker III, which aimed at “the hitherto largely uncritical To counteract acceptance of this “convenient” trend [to early and absentee voting]“Because of a need to the a shared information base, a ceremony that reflects collective civic duty, meaningful fraud controls that are absent when casting votes in private households, and an instant vote count.
The detection of fraud depends on the access of neutral observers to the votes cast. This is practically impossible when casting votes in the privacy of private households or when polling ballots from mailboxes or front doors. The spirit that enlivens the proposed federal legislation is made abundantly clear by the support of the Speaker of Parliament and more than 120 House Democrats for the 16-year vote. The last thing H.R.1 supporters want is a mature, unmanipulated, and responsible electorate.
George Liebmann is President of the Baltimore Bar Library Company and author of numerous works on law and history, most recently America’s political inventor (Bloomsbury: 2019) and Vox Clamantis in the desert: an iconoclast investigates four failed administrations (Amazon: 2021).