Show Details for October 19th, 2008

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This week’s guest:

— Prof. CHANDLER DAVIDSON reviews the history of minority vote suppression


 —  Prof. CHANDLER DAVIDSON reviews the history of minority vote suppression

Our guest is Professor Emeritus CHANDLER DAVIDSON of Rice University.  We’ll ask him to review the history of minority vote suppression.  The first major nationwide GOP “ballot security program” was in 1964, named “Operation Eagle Eye.” He wrote in 2004 that Republican ballot security excesses continue to pose a threat to minority voters, some forty years after the Voting Rights Act was passed.

–Republican Ballot Security Programs: Vote Protection or Minority Vote Suppression-or Both?, (co-author), A Report to the Center for Voting Rights and Protection, Washington, D.C. (2004).

–Protecting Minority Voters: The Voting Rights Act at Work 1982-2005, National Commission on the Voting Rights Act, Washington, D.C. ( 2006).

–Quiet Revolution in the South: The Impact of the Voting Rights Act, 1965-1990
–Race and Class in Texas Politics

“Forays by white, affluent pollwatchers or challengers into minority neighborhoods that the same whites would almost
never go into otherwise, in the name of “ballot security,” has been a prominent feature of Republican political strategy for at least fifty years. On many occasions these forays on Election Day have also been accompanied by other measures, such as posting at the polls uniformed men, sometimes with badges or guns, who are intended to look like law
enforcement officers; posting off-duty police officers at the polls; photographing or videotaping voters; aggressive, hostile questioning of potential voters or polling officials in ways that can embarrass or humiliate; spreading false information about voting requirements, candidates, and the election date in the days before the election; challenging voters on the basis of inaccurate registration lists that disproportionately winnow out low-income people; or a combination of these tactics. When successful, these measures are a form of vote suppression, which is a polite term for the
disfranchisement of eligible minority voters. 
“Moreover, ballot-security programs gone bad are often not simply the work of a few renegades who are out of touch with the GOP leadership structure. On the contrary, as this Report will demonstrate, evidence indicates that some of the unsavory practices of ballot security efforts are approved or winked at by the top echelons of the party
hierarchy and conducted by well-educated professionals, particularly lawyers, and sometimes paid for by the Republican National Committee.”   —  Republican Ballot Security Programs: Vote Protection or Minority Vote Suppression-or Both?








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