Jeff Sessions’ DOJ Backs Another Assault on the Right to Vote

By | August 9, 2017

If we all get out of this mess alive, someone one day should build a statue of Ari Berman for working to death the story of how the franchise is under assault from so many directions. His latest dispatch tells us about how the Department of Justice—which, under the leadership of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, has aligned itself in recent weeks with a Canadian pipeline company against American landowners, and with white people who imagine themselves disadvantaged in this country—has joined Ohio in trying to make voting in this country a use-it-or-lose-it proposition. From Mother Jones:

The Justice Department released an amicus brief in the case, currently before the Supreme Court, over whether Ohio can continue to remove “infrequent voters” who fail to cast a ballot over a six-year period. One of those voters, Larry Harmon, is a lead plaintiff in the lawsuit brought by Demos and the ACLU of Ohio. The 60-year-old software engineer and Navy veteran voted in 2008 and then returned to the polls for a local referendum in 2015, only to find that he was no longer registered, even though he hadn’t moved or done anything else to change his status.

The potential for shenanigans here is obvious. First, you make voting as complicated and inconvenient as possible and then, when people simply give up on it, you drop them from the rolls for non-participation. (I am not a fan of the way they do it in Australia, where you get fined if you don’t vote, either.) This will complete an old and familiar circle: In the Jim Crow South, they made voting complicated, inconvenient, and violent so that African-Americans would self-deport from the electoral process. The technique is now refined so that the noose and the bomb no longer are necessary.

Ohio’s finagling got tossed in federal court for violating the 1993 “Motor Voter” Act, but, in case you haven’t noticed, the Department of Justice is Under New Management these days. (Esquire)

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