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07.27 JOHN FRANCO: A DIGESTABLE WAY TO SINGLE-PAYER

07.25 Antarctica’s Point of No Return

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07.29 The State's Unwitting Attack on Parenting While Poor

07.28 My party has lost its soul: Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and the victory of Wall Street Democrats

07.27 Repeal Prohibition, Again

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07.26 What is Paul Ryan's plan to expand the EITC?

07.25 Black Homeowners Are Worse Off Today Than They Were 40 Years Ago

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07.29 To Summarize the Israeli/Gaza War

07.28 As the Gaza crisis deepens, boycotts can raise the price of Israel’s impunity

07.27 Palestinian Resistance: an icon for those who long to live free

07.27 Wyden Ponders Release of CIA Torture Report Without White House Consent

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07.29 Unlike Iraq, Iran, Libya, N. Korea, Israel has Impunity from Defying UNSC (Gaza Ceasefire)

07.29 The Wake-Up Call: Europe Toughens Stance against Putin

07.29 Gaza pounded by Israel after Netanyahu promises prolonged battle

07.29 When I served, the Israeli military was the most moral in the world. No more

07.28 Why Is Israel Losing a War It's Winning?

07.28 Stopping Putin: The Time Has Come for Europe to Act

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07.27 Gaza death toll over 1,000 - Israeli toll up to 42 [videos, photos]

07.26 Gangs, guns and Judas Priest: the secret history of a US-inflicted border crisis

07.26 Central American leaders meet Barack Obama to criticise US border policy

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07.25 America Is the Only Country with a Favorable View of Israel [graphs]

07.25 The Gaza war has done terrible things to Israeli society

07.25 Ex-Israeli Security Chief Diskin: 'All the Conditions Are There for an Explosion'

07.25 West Bank erupts as UN deplores Gaza school attack

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  Flawed Voting in our Democracy ">
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COMMENTARY:

Flawed Voting in our Democracy

by J. RUSSELL TYLDESLEY
Why does the Republican Party want the Voting Rights Act to expire?
The history of America can be written as an attempt to realize the dream of democracy—but in 2006 America it may still remain only a dream. Republican efforts to suppress the votes of poor minorities is becoming ever more creative and determined—we need only look at the details of the 2000 Florida vote and the 2004 Ohio vote for confirmation.

Investigative reporter Greg Palast pointed out in a report prior to the 2000 election (not widely reported in America, but readily available in Europe) that Katherine Harris and Jeb Bush had succeeded in making tens of thousands of Florida voters disappear from the voting roles by a wrongful determination that they were ineligible to vote as ex-felons, although their voting rights had been restored in other states and federal law required that they not be denied the right to vote in any other state.

Mr. Palast’s most recent book, Armed Madhouse, details how votes of African Americans can be challenged in a process referred to as “caging.” Independent analysis of so-called “spoiled” votes in the 2004 election showed that the chances of a black vote being spoiled and not counted (blacks vote 90% democratic) was 500 times more likely than the spoilage of a Latino vote (Latinos vote about 40% Republican). Even the votes of black soldiers serving in Iraq were successfully challenged when they returned to the states. Not having enough voting machines or functioning machines in predominantly black districts and poor neighborhoods, or at liberal colleges; stopping and searching cars with black occupants on the way to the polls; searching the households of blacks for potential voting fraud; not allowing election day to be a holiday or not extending the time for voting or having voting on weekends; not allowing D.C. to have representation in the Senate: all are ways of suppressing the black democratic vote. Gerrymandering and voter picture I.D.s, (many poor blacks don’t drive and may not have picture I.D.s) or some other test of voter eligibility, are more traditional tactics.

If the poor and black do manage to vote, their votes are likelier than not to be recorded on machinery designed to provide such ambiguous results as to be subject to challenge.
The GOP elites have never trusted democracy and are luxuriating in their present one-party rule. They will continue to find ways to assure that only “qualified” people vote, just as new loopholes will be created to allow the wealthy to buy votes through bogus campaign finance “reform.” And, if the poor and black do manage to vote, their votes are likelier than not to be recorded on machinery designed to provide such ambiguous results as to be subject to challenge. In 2004, 3 million votes were challenged in the 50 state elections. This is the sorry state of voting patterns in America.

In 2004, 3 million votes were challenged in the 50 state elections
All these activities mentioned are prohibited under the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and that is why the Republican Congress would like to see the Act expire. Mr. Palast put it this way: When I look over the caging lists and the scrub sheets, it’s clear to me that the GOP has traded in white sheets for spreadsheets.”
J. Russell Tyldesley, an insurance executive, writes from Catonsville, Md.


Copyright © 2006 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on June 29, 2006.
 


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