Could voter suppression win this election?


By Renee J. Turner

Guest Commentator


With the discreet, systemized, and methodical implementation of voter ID and restrictive voting laws pillaging voters of their right to vote, a call to action has not been loud enough. It’s hasn’t really been an alarm to all voting citizens as it should be.

The purging of voters from voting rolls throughout the country is really an assault on America. We should not be so focused on the presidential debates that we forget that the GOP has designed and engineered this faulty voter fraud program to prevent American citizens from voting.

The structure of these laws was designed to sway the election of not only the presidential race, but also candidates running for offices throughout the United States. There are a number of Congressional seats up for grabs in 2012.

African American voters are a huge voting bloc. At issue in this election is a civil rights issue. Speaking out against racial injustice is sometimes perceived as playing the race card, without anyone ever giving a description of the playing deck.

As African Americans, gone is the question of whether or not our votes count. Our fingerprints are forever etched in American history. It can’t be emphasized enough that too many people fought, were beaten, and died for the right to vote.

Voter suppression legislation has silenced votes in 16 states. The sounding alarm is that millions of eligible voters were wiped from voting rolls, reporting as many as five million. In addition, it is possible that hundreds of thousands of absentee ballots will be thrown out. It is said that in Florida, absentee ballots are being thrown out due to lack of signatures required on the outside of the return envelope.

If some still need convincing, taxes are not going to be raised if the Republicans can help it. So, the deadlock will continue. Most have signed the Americans for Tax Reform pledge to never raise taxes, while what will continue to happen is the hiding of money in offshore bank accounts by some of the wealthy.

With Mitt Romney’s bait-and-switch campaign, few believe that he and the Republican Party have our best interest at heart. He’s still trying to sell the modernized trickle-down economics as our way out of this economic crisis when it has actually caused trickle-up poverty here in America.

Seemingly, when any first African American candidate is elected, there is an avalanche of strong opposition to keep that elected official from serving a second term. Having inherited this bad economy, President Obama has maintained poise from finger pointing to the birthing comments.

Already forgotten is a long list of accomplishments during the Obama Administration. The GOP spin is giving him credit for everything negative, and those still undecided voters may have a listening ear. Now early voting has begun in many states. Check the voter ID requirements in your area. Our own individual power is in our ability to vote.

In 2008, 65 percent of African Americans voted, with 35 percent of registered voters who had not voted. Help a relative or friend become informed, and get to their voting poll. This election will be decided based on electoral votes, and possibly indifference if we let it.

At the heart of this, voter suppression should not stop us from exercising our right to vote. We have to get out and vote to make our voices heard, or voter suppression could win this election.


Renee J. Turner lives in Atlanta, Georgia.