Then and Now: Voter Intimidation

Compare to 2012:

“True the Vote’s founder, Catherine Engelbrecht, has said “we see again with this administration . . . it’s just stunning the assault on our elections that we’re watching gain steam with every passing day, so we found ourselves to be unwittingly on the front lines of an issue that I think will be the inflection point for this election.”

A reporter attending True the Vote’s Colorado State Summit described how one speaker told the crowd that “they should enjoy bullying liberals because they were doing God’s work. ‘Your opposition are cartoon characters. They are. They are fun to beat up. They are fun to humiliate,’ he intoned. ‘You are on the side of the angels. And these people are just frauds, charlatans and liars.’”  [Demos]

Inflection point? More like over the line back to the bad old days of voter intimidation and harassment.  Fun to beat up?  One could wonder if anyone was “having fun” during the following tragedies?

May 7, 1955 · Belzoni, Mississippi
Rev. George Lee, one of the first black people registered to vote in Humphreys County, used his pulpit and his printing press to urge others to vote. White officials offered Lee protection on the condition he end his voter registration efforts, but Lee refused and was murdered.

August 13, 1955 · Brookhaven, Mississippi
Lamar Smith was shot dead on the courthouse lawn by a white man in broad daylight while dozens of people watched. The killer was never indicted because no one would admit they saw a white man shoot a black man. Smith had organized blacks to vote in a recent election.

September 25, 1961 · Liberty, Mississippi
Herbert Lee, who worked with civil rights leader Bob Moses to help register black voters, was killed by a state legislator who claimed self-defense and was never arrested. Louis Allen, a black man who witnessed the murder, was later also killed.

June 12, 1963 · Jackson, Mississippi
Medgar Evers, who directed NAACP operations in Mississippi, was leading a campaign for integration in Jackson when he was shot and killed by a sniper at his home.

September 15, 1963 · Birmingham, Alabama
Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley were getting ready for church services when a bomb exploded at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, killing all four of the school-age girls. The church had been a center for civil rights meetings and marches.

January 10, 1966 · Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Vernon Ferdinand Dahmer, a wealthy businessman, offered to pay poll taxes for those who couldn’t afford the fee required to vote. The night after a radio station broadcasted Dahmer’s offer, his home was firebombed. Dahmer died later from severe burns.

April 4, 1968 · Memphis, Tennessee
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist minister, was a major architect of the Civil Rights Movement. He led and inspired major non-violent desegregation campaigns, including those in Montgomery and Birmingham. He won the Nobel peace prize. He was assassinated as he prepared to lead a demonstration in Memphis.
Sadly, there are many more listed here.

Some people don’t want to take their country back, they really want to take it backwards.



Filed under 2012 election, Politics, racism

2 responses to “Then and Now: Voter Intimidation

  1. G

    I hope you realize that all those examples you used of voter intimidation in the ’60s was done by Democrats. Martin Luther King Sr. and Jr. were Republicans.

    It is important that we take measures to ensure the integrity of our elections. One fraudulent vote for Candidate A oppresses a legitimate vote for Candidate B. Once we all agree on that, we can discuss the best ways to prevent voter fraud.

  2. Vote suppression is vote suppression no matter what party does it. President Lyndon Johnson was aware of the impact the Civil Rights acts would have on his party during his tenure, and he was correct — Republicans promptly launched their “Southern Strategy.”

    And, no, the proposition that a illegitimate vote suppresses a legitimate one only works if two people vote. This is roughly analogous to the excuse some couples give for not voting — “we cancel each other out.”

    On some esoteric hypothetical level election management does depend on the security of the voting rolls — HOWEVER, there is absolutely NO data to confirm the existence of widespread voter impersonation fraud, nor even of foreign nationals fraudulently voting in American elections. Voter ID bills and their ilk are simply the reintroduction of Poll Taxes, wealth based suffrage, and class based electorates.

    True election fraud these days consists of trapping, caging, destroying registration forms, the filing of un-flagged faulty registration forms, voter intimidation, and deliberate campaigns of voting mis-information such as telling voters they cannot vote if they have unpaid parking tickets, or telling them to vote on a day other than that set for the official election. And, please spare us all any recitation of the long debunked myth of the New Black Panthers….