Wanna know why Trump's voter fraud commission is BS?

And how to stop the likes of Rick Scott from using it as an excuse to suppress turnout?

click to enlarge At a 2011 rally, marchers in New York City tried to draw attention to the issue...guess they'll have to try harder. - Michael Fleshman via Flickr
Michael Fleshman via Flickr
At a 2011 rally, marchers in New York City tried to draw attention to the issue...guess they'll have to try harder.

Maybe he thought he it would play to his base in a week where he seemed to be wantonly incriminating himself?

But, like virtually everything President Trump has said or done or tweeted since taking office (or all his life, really), his announcement of a commission to hunt down the millions of people who — in his head — commit voter fraud that — again, only in his head — cost him the popular vote is transparently asinine and will be carried out in botched service of a frail ego. At best, it's a distraction, at worst it's a means of undermining democracy solely for the purpose of attaining and holding onto power.

It's long been a myth among many Republicans, voter fraud. It's their big excuse for trying to strip basic constitutional rights from people who would never vote for them, generally minorities, students and others not as likely to have the same extensive resources they do.

The Center for American Progress on Friday released a brief explaining (more politely than we do here) exactly why tackling voter fraud is basically a way to demonize minorities all while creating a fake problem to make other people, gullible people, blame those who are already at a disadvantage.

Here are some highlights of CAP's brief:

-Basically, widespread voter fraud is a myth. In fact, it barely happens at all. Spreading fear of it allows lawmakers to pass laws making it tougher to vote, laws that likely have the aim of culling Democratic turnout. Here is some evidence that voter fraud isn't a thing. Here's a little more. Still not convinced? Here's some more.

-Laws ostensibly targeting voter fraud hurt minority communities' ability to participate in democracy. According to CAP, people of color in places with a history of discrimination against minority voters (waddup, Florida?) had fewer places to vote in 2016, the first presidential election since the U.S. Supreme Court voided a part of the Voting Rights Act pertaining to polling places in counties and states with histories of discrimination (notably, Hillsborough County — which had been on that list — added two polling places, yay).

-Fewer polling places = long lines. Imagine having to wait twice as long, on average, as other voters to cast your ballot, all while you're rushing to pick the kids up, make dinner, get to work, etc. Long lines mean more discouraged voters in minority-heavy polling places. One study estimates that in 2012, long lines deterred some 730,000 people from casting their ballot.

-Tough voter ID laws, meanwhile, are a bigger burden on students and voters of color — in other words, likely Democratic voters. Some states are passing strict ID requirements that seem to favor white, conservative voters. There was that one in Texas that deemed concealed carry permits a valid form of ID, but not student ID cards. Gee, wonder why... On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court said it wouldn't even take up a GOP effort to reinstate a North Carolina law that was perhaps the most restrictive voter ID policy in the country.

-When officials in states like Florida toss people off voter rolls, people of color are disproportionately impacted. Leave it to Governor Rick Scott to be so obvious about his disdain for voting rights that he led an effort to purge thousands of people from the list of eligible voters in the state. Some 87 percent of those suspected of illegal voting were minorities.

In other words the real threat isn't voter fraud, it's blatant attempts to suppress voter turnout.

Any time someone tells you the Trump's victory was the will of the people, remind them how Wisconsin's strict voter ID laws prevented an estimated 200,000 people from voting — in a state Trump won by 23,000 votes. 

It's another deeply disturbing instance of a political party ignoring the Constitution and manipulating laws in a way that shows they value party over country (an increasingly common refrain these days, no?).

They do it at the state level via their Republican-controlled legislature and Republican governor. (Seriously, read Ratfucked if you haven't already.)

Fortunately for Florida, there's one way to fight voter suppression: the citizen-driven constitutional amendment process.

As you may have seen on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee last week, there is a bipartisan effort underway in Florida to get a constitutional amendment on the state ballot that would address at least part of the voter suppression problem: denying felons the right to a vote despite the fact that they have paid their debt to society.  

That effort is called Floridians for a Fair Democracy, and the Florida Supreme Court has already determined that it passes legal muster. If it gets the hundreds of thousands of signatures it needs to qualify for the November 2018 ballot, it will then have to gain approval from more than 60 percent of voters. So there's that.

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