The Huffington Post reports what anyone who has ever covered elections could already tell you, that the Republican “poll watchers” and vote challengers go almost exclusively to districts with high percentages of poor and minority voters. Because those voters will tend to vote Democratic.
A partial list of precincts targeted by a Pittsburgh Tea Party group working on behalf of the Republican Party shows that nearly 80 percent of the voters in those precincts are African-American, compared to 13 percent countywide, according to civil rights and union groups who on Monday called on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate.
An Ohio political blog is reporting that forms submitted to election officials by Tea Party spin-off group True the Vote in Franklin County — which includes Columbus — show poll watchers heading to 28 precincts, where most voters are African-American. Overall, the county electorate is 20 percent African-American.
“We’ve been concerned from the beginning that the efforts of True the Vote and aligned groups were going to be targeted largely in communities of color,” said Eric Marshall, manager of legal mobilization for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “We’ve seen in the past where these kinds of tactics can lead to intimidation and harassment of voters.”
A potentially even greater concern now is that the groups will use the voter challenge process “for the express purpose of creating lines and confusion,” Marshall said.
This is always the case. When the news outlet I edited, the Michigan Messenger, reported in 2008 that the Republican party in Michigan was planning to use foreclosure lists to challenge voters, they would have done so in those precincts with high foreclosure rates. That means areas where the residents are mostly poor minorities, like the city of Detroit. And the purpose of that is precisely to create chaos at the polls, to make people wait longer, to make them have to cast provisional ballots that are not counted until long after election day, and to make other people have to leave before they can vote. It’s all part of the massive effort at voter suppression that the Republican party has been doing for the last 30 years, at least.