Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Voter suppression and protection season

Two years ago, according to David Plouffe's delightful rendition of the tale of the Obama campaign, the Democrats were ready for anything.

We also made sure our campaign counsel, led by Bob Bauer, had the most thorough, experienced, and dogged election protection team in place in all the states. A crack staff of hundreds of lawyers, almost all volunteers, would make sure the voters we were counting on -- new registrants, younger voters, and minorities -- were able to participate without facing the same degree of problems and malfeasance that had cropped up in recent presidential elections.

Let's hope Democrats are prepared again this year. Many Republicans consider any of the people Plouffe lists as intrinsically ineligible to take part in our governance. So they do everything they can to keep them from voting. Talking Points Memo is chronicling Republican voter suppression activities, ranging from completely scurrilous to the slightly more respectable. Meanwhile, on the ground in Ohio, Kay -- writing at Balloon Juice -- brings a luminous clarity to the conflict between visions of democracy.

There are two kinds of people who care about the actual voting process. There are conservatives, who look for fraud, and there are liberals, who worry about access. Conservatives believe that one fraudulent vote is one too many. Liberals believe just as strongly that one disenfranchised voter is one too many. There’s no middle ground. It’s adversarial. ... Conservatives simply don’t believe that voting is a right. They consider voting a privilege to be granted, not a right to be protected. There’s no reconciling those two positions.

...Voter protection is something liberals can put in place in every state and build on, because voter protection efforts are cumulative. Once the team is in place for one election, there’s then a pool of trained people who need only a refresher course and an assignment.

Her second point suggests Plouffe's 2008 work is probably still paying dividends, ensuring that eligible people who don't fit the right wing stereotype of a voter will still be able to cast their ballots.

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