Sunday, March 7, 2021

The Journal of Steffanie Rivers: Voter Suppression from the Blindside / WATCH

*When it comes to fending off an attack, most people instinctively protect their frontside. But it’s their blindside that leaves them most vulnerable.

When it comes to politics most voters give all their attention to federal government issues, such as who’s the president and his cabinet picks. Yet it’s in state legislatures where policies are created concerning funding for education, funding for criminal justice initiatives and voting. To ignore your state legislature is akin to leaving your blindside unprotected.

Widespread debates over 2020 federal election results have led state legislators around the country to push laws that curb your voting rights. Since last November more than 100 bills in 28 states have been filed and advanced to pre-vote status in an effort to tame voters’ rights in future elections. These state bills seek to restrict who can vote by mail, needlessly strengthen photo ID requirements and make it easier to purge registered voters for frivolous reasons. 

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black voter - hands & pen check marksThis time last year only 35 bills in 15 states focused on voting rights. Some people don’t like that you exercised your right to vote last November. So they want to change the rules with hopes of blindsiding you in upcoming elections.

Voter suppression is being led by Republican state lawmakers. According to the Brennan Center For Justice, Pennsylvania leads other states with 14 proposals in 2021, followed by 10 in New Hampshire and 9 in Missouri. Mississippi, New Jersey and Texas each have 8 proposals. If you live in these states or know anyone who does, you and they should get involved and tell legislators how to represent you.

In Georgia where voter turnout was so strong that it took two runoff elections for Democrats to win both senate seats, Republican lawmakers want to ban ballot drop boxes. They want to abolish ballot drop boxes all over the state of Georgia. Ballot drop boxes are where absentee voters conveniently drop off their ballots in the weeks leading up to an election. Republicans want to get rid of them. 

So how and where will absentee voters cast their ballots? Apparently Georgia Republicans want voters to submit them at yet-to-be named locations where they must show IDs! That defeats the purpose of absentee ballot voting typically used by military people, those physically unable to get to the polls or residents who plan to be traveling on election day. It seems Republicans don’t care about that. 

And if that’s not blatant enough of an example of voter suppression, Barry Fleming makes his intentions clear. Fleming, who represents the 121st congressional district in the state house, initiated a bill to eliminate Sunday voting. That’s because 72,000 Georgia voters cast ballots on Sundays during early voting last November. Most of those votes were for Democratic candidates. One-third of those Sunday voters were African-Americans. 

If you live in Georgia tell your state representative to support early voting every day of the week, especially on weekends. As for Fleming, he should focus on being a better representative for his constituents, especially those in Augusta, GA where 57 percent of the population is African-American. 

In Arizona where Democrats flipped this traditionally Republican state, legislators no longer want every registered voter to receive a ballot by mail automatically, as has been the rule for decades. Now they want to put stipulations on who can receive mail-in ballots, because making it easy to vote is bad … for Arizona Republicans. Another Arizona lawmaker wants to purge voters from the polls who don’t consistently participate in elections, sort of like a ‘use it or lose it’ privilege. 

If you live in Arizona tell your state legislator you support mail-in ballots sent to every registered voter in your state the same as they’ve always done. And tell them to strike down the bill designed to purge people just because they didn’t vote in the last election cycle.

Here’s how bad it’s getting for Republicans: A recent poll just showed as much as 47 percent of currently registered Republicans admit they would abandon the GOP for Donald Trump if he started his own political party. Nearly half would vote with their feet, walk out on the GOP and join Trump’s new party. Traditional Republicans are running scared trying to salvage their crumbling party. One of their plans is to keep you from voting by changing the rules. 

Don’t let them do it! To protect your blindside you must have a game plan. Know the rules and play the game better.

Click on the video to find out how to make quid pro quo agreements work in your favor and how you can create your very own political action committee to support the candidates of your choice.

Steffanie Rivers

Steffanie Rivers is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex. Email her at [email protected] with your comments, questions and speaking inquiries.



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