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Stop GOP Suppression of the Black Vote

Rick Munroe
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(from moveon.org) Last month John Pappageorge, a Republican state representative in Michigan, told a journalist that the Republicans would do poorly if they failed to “suppress the Detroit vote.” Detroit, of course, is 83% black.[1]


Democratic officials expressed their outrage, and Pappageorge eventually apologized for his words, but his statement spoke to a bigger truth: Republicans continue to actively suppress black and minority votes in order to win elections through intimidation, misinformation, and tampering with voter rolls and records. In 2000, the black voters who were not allowed to vote would have almost certainly swung the election in Al Gore’s favor. And the practice continues: a recent report from the NAACP and the People for the American Way Foundation documents suppression tactics in use right now.[2]


The Republican Party's continued silence is shameful. We’re joining with Julian Bond, Chairman of the NAACP*, Reverend Jesse Jackson, President of the Rainbow/Push Coalition*, Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. and others to demand that the Republican Party abandon these racist, unfair, and undemocratic tactics and condemn anyone in their ranks who uses them. Please join us by signing the petition below:




Many of the leaders above and other signers will personally deliver this petition to the Bush/Cheney campaign headquarters next month, so please sign today and ask your friends to sign.


Just last week, Bob Herbert of the New York Times wrote a column describing armed, plain-clothes officers from the Florida state police (which reports directly to Governor Jeb Bush) going into the homes of elderly black voters and interrogating them, supposedly as part of an investigation into voter fraud. While ostensibly random, several of those questioned were members of the Orlando League of Voters, a group that has been very successful in mobilizing the city's black vote. According to Herbert, this supposed "investigation" has resulted in a blanket of fear, leaving organizers afraid to work and voters afraid of contact with campaign workers.[3]


Four years ago, Florida election officials removed over 52,000 voters from the rolls under the guise of “cleansing” the list of felons. Over 90% of those purged were not guilty of any crime and 54% were African-American, a group which, in Florida, are likely to vote Democratic over 90% of the time.[4] The company that provided the purge list warned Florida officials that thousands of eligible voters would likely be disenfranchised in the process, but Katherine Harris, the Florida Secretary of State who also served as state campaign manager for George W. Bush, went forward with the purge anyway. The result was thousands of voters not allowed to vote in an election that was decided by just over 500 votes.


It’s not just Florida. A joint report from People for the American Way Foundation and the NAACP "The Long Shadow of Jim Crow: Voter Intimidation and Suppression in America Today" highlights recent attempts to suppress African-American and minority voting, documenting instances of the following:[5]



Challenges and threats against individual voters at the polls by armed private guards, off-duty law enforcement officers, local creditors, fake poll monitors, and poll workers and managers.

Signs posted at the polling place warning of penalties for “voter fraud” or “non-citizen” voting, or illegally urging support for a candidate.

Poll workers “helping” voters fill out their ballots, and instructing them on how to vote.

Criminal tampering with voter registration rolls and records.

Fliers and radio ads containing false information about where, when and how to vote, voter eligibility, and the false threat of penalties.

Internal memos from party officials in which the explicit goal of suppressing black voter turnout is outlined.

Here are a few other incidents highlighted in the report and elsewhere:



In 2003, in Pennsylvania, men with clipboards bearing official-looking insignias were reportedly dispatched to African American neighborhoods. Tom Lindenfeld, who ran a counter-intimidation campaign for Democratic candidate John Street, said there were 300 cars with the decals resembling such federal agencies as the DEA and ATF and that the men were asking prospective voters for identification. In a post-election poll of 1000 African-American voters, seven percent said they had encountered such efforts.


In 2002, in Louisiana, fliers were distributed in African American communities stating, “‘Vote!!! Bad Weather? No problem!!! If the weather is uncomfortable on election day [saturday, December 7th], remember you can wait and cast your ballot on Tuesday, December 10th.” In a separate incident, apparently targeting potential supporters of Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu, the Louisiana Republican Party admitted to paying African American youths $75 to hold signs aloft on street corners in black neighborhoods that appeared to discourage African-Americans from voting.


Last month, in South Dakota, Native American voters were sent to the wrong polling places, and given misleading information about the ID they need to vote.[6]

Stopping eligible voters from voting is a basic affront to democracy. It is an outrage for any political party to condone or encourage the practice, especially given the history of African-Americans and other minorities being disenfranchised in our country. In the vast majority of these cases, Republicans are the perpetrators or it's a Republican candidate that stands to benefit. Call on Republican leaders to to publicly disavow the suppression of the minority vote by signing the petition at:




Thanks for all you do,


-- James Rucker, Laura Dawn, and the rest of the MoveOn PAC team

MoveOn PAC

Thursday, August, 26th 2004


1 http://www.freep.com/news/statewire/sw101420_20040721.htm

2 http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default.aspx?oId=16368

3 http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/081704C.shtml

(original: http://nytimes.com/2004/08/16/opinion/16herbert.html?hp)

4 http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20040517&s=palast

5 http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default.aspx?oId=16399

6 http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default.aspx?oId=16362



Other links:


1 million black votes didn't count in the 2000 presidential election"



Commentary in Detroit Free Press

Commentary in Detroit Free Press"> http://www.freep.com/voices/columnists/eholl27_20040727.htm">Commentary in Detroit Free Press


"The Long Shadow of Jim Crow: Voter Intimidation and Suppression in America" (pdf)



*Organizations named above are for identification purposes only.


PAID FOR BY MOVEON PAC http://www.moveonpac.org

Authorized by Maxine Waters and Jesse Jackson, Jr.

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Could you also supply for the class a link that shows that any of these claims have resulted in a prosecution?


I'm sure the main stream (aka liberal) press would love to know about it since they've yet to report on a single example of someone being arrested for voter suppression.


In the meantime, they love reporting voter urban legends.


The only example of vote tampering I can think of at the moment was the woman in Michigan(?) who was giving cigarettes to the homeless if they WOULD vote.


For Gore.




Don't you just hate it when that happens?


Informatively yours,



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>Hmm. How about that list of so called felons that Katherine

>Harris used to illegally disenfranchise black voters in

>Florida in 2000?



The link showing the class where she has been charged with a crime please?


Or weren't you paying attention earlier when I asked for links and not voter urban legends?


Exasperatedly yours,



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First of all, I don't do requests, and I don't goosestep. I'm not a Republican.


Secondly, how did you think that Harris would ever end up being prosecuted when she was acting at the behest of JEB! and was rewarded for her perfidy by support for the Congressional Seat she now holds?



Perhaps that was because Bush's well-placed cousin wasn't the only high-profile ally he had who was willing to get in under the hood and tweak things to Bush's advantage. In the critical state of Florida, alone, he had Secretary of State Katherine Harris who was also his state campaign co-chairman, and of course, he had his brother, Governor, Jeb Bush. Plus he had both houses of that state's legislature and the US House of Representatives. Finally (and tragically) it shakes out that he "has" as well, five of our nine US Supreme Court Justices.


Harris's disingenuousness did not begin with her certifying Bush the winner long before it was appropriate, thus underscoring the illusion of Bush's "inevitable" victory. Months before the election, according to the London Observer on December 10, Harris had acted on an archaic Florida law which permanently disenfranchises felons and ex-felons. In addition to those currently serving time and those ex-offenders who were once incarcerated in the Florida system (estimates range from 450,000 to 700,000) (3), Harris consulted ChoicePoint, an Atlanta based company run and funded by Republicans, from whom she purchased a list of supposed ex-offenders from (you guessed it!) the state of Texas. The list turned out to be false, misdemeanor offenders, only, and some not even that. Names of several hundred others from 35 states were obtained by Harris, too. In this manner 8,000 additional people were stripped of their vote, pending appeals.


I considered writing "WRONGFULLY stripped" in the preceding sentence, but that would imply that I believe the ban on ex-felon voting is proper or defensible, to begin with. According to radio personality Laura Flanders, 31% of all black males in Florida are either felons or ex-felons. Almost one third! Disenfranchised for life! Human Rights Watch reported on November 8 that "nationally one in fifty adults, an estimated 3.9 million Americans, were not able to vote because of felony conviction." 1.4 have served their time and are no longer on probation or parole. Where is the propriety in that? The "regularity?"


The Black vote in Florida has tended in recent elections to be between 90 and 93% Democratic. Prior to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 the old Jim Crow laws of the deep South were effective deterrents to the exercise of that franchise: poll taxes, literacy tests, loss of jobs, and the ever-present threat of lynching. Now the state of Florida compensates with more subtle, but equally effective methods of intimidation, such as police setting up roadblocks in black precincts to profile black voters on their way to the polls.


Black voters found their names purged from the rosters, this election. The laptop computer system set up to link precincts to the county databases allocated one computer in black precincts to four or five in white precincts, making it virtually impossible to connect to the system and thereby verify the legitimacy of a voter whose registration was in question..


Blacks were required to show registration cards, whites were not. Blacks were denied assistance. Black precincts were moved or eliminated without notice to residents. Blacks voted with antiquated punch card voting machines which had not been cleaned out for years leaving no room for chads to be completely and properly detached. Black votes were disqualified at the rate of four and five to every one white vote.



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>and was rewarded for her perfidy by support for the Congressional

>Seat she now holds?


Last time I checked, and please correct me if I'm wrong here, Republicans support the Republican nominee and Democrats support the Democrat nominee. I fail to see anything sinister is this standard practice.


Your hatred for anything Republican is strangling your logic.


That's assuming there IS any logic in your position.


Logically yours,



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>>and was rewarded for her perfidy by support for the


>>Seat she now holds?


>Last time I checked, and please correct me if I'm wrong here,

>Republicans support the Republican nominee and Democrats

>support the Democrat nominee. I fail to see anything sinister

>is this standard practice.


>Your hatred for anything Republican is strangling your logic.


>That's assuming there IS any logic in your position.


>Logically yours,




It's nice to see that your time at Reborglican Assimilation Camp went well. Never deal with the facts when insults can do SO much better.


Locutusly yours,



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> Never deal with the facts when insults can do

>SO much better.



Ah yes, fall back on the usual tactic of whining like a little girl that someone is being mean to you instead of directly addressing my point that people support candidates of their own party.


I think the thing that makes me sickest about the current Democrat Party is that they can say the most hateful things (likening Bush to Hitler) and then don the mantle of victimhood if someone dares question their judgment.


Currently, John Kerry seems to be running not for Commander in Chief but rather Victim in Chief.


Heroically yours,



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>Ah yes, fall back on the usual tactic of whining like a little

>girl that someone is being mean to you instead of directly

>addressing my point that people support candidates of their

>own party.


in fact, Mark Steyn said it best the other day........


"Americans should be free to call Bush a moron, a liar, a fraud, a deserter, an agent of the House of Saud, a mass murderer, a mass rapist (according to the speaker at a National Organization for Women rally last week) and the new Hitler (according to just about everyone). But how dare anyone be so impertinent as to insult John Kerry! No one has the right to insult Kerry, except possibly Teresa, and only on the day she gives him his allowance."


I want to have Mark Steyn's baby.


Romantically yours,



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Guest zipperzone

>I want to have Mark Steyn's baby.


>Romantically yours,




Wouldn't it be painful getting it through your birth canal? Guess you could always try a caesarean section.

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from past postings, it should be clear that i do not like either bush or kerry; neither one is my ideal candidate. as a protest vote i would like to vote for ralph nader; the state i live in is not one of the states that could go either way so it really doesn't matter except for a national vote total which does not mean much as al gore knows.


however, in my state the democratic party worked hard to keep ralph nader off the ticket. they challenged every name on the petitions to get him on the ballot. across the country, the democratic party is doing all it can to limit voter choice and hoping that the protest vote goes to kerry since it can not go to nader if he is not on the ballot. the republicians may keep felons from voting but the democratic party is keeping people off the ballot to limit choice. while not exactly the same, it does show that both parties play hardball to get a win in an election.

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