“More than 80 percent of the population of Detroit is black. This is very well understood by John Pappageorge, who is white and a Republican state legislator in Michigan. “If we do not suppress the Detroit vote,” said Mr. Pappageorge, “we’re going to have a tough time in this election.”
Oops! Republicans aren’t supposed to actually say they want to suppress black votes. That’s so retro. It’s so Jim Crow. This is the 21st century, and the thing now is to do the dastardly deed, but never ever acknowledge it. …
A lot of other Republicans have similar views about the vote in areas with large African-American populations. Most blacks vote Democratic. If those votes can be suppressed, Republicans benefit. And there is increasing evidence that a big effort to suppress the vote among blacks and some other heavily Democratic voting groups is under way, which is why it is important to keep the following phone number handy:
That’s a hot line set up by the Election Protection Coalition, a group that was formed to identify and stamp out attempts to disenfranchise voters, especially in predominantly black and Latino precincts around the country.
On Election Day in November, the coalition expects to have as many as 25,000 volunteers, including 5,000 lawyers, available to provide assistance to voters who encounter irregularities or feel they are not being treated fairly at the polls. Voters who call the hot line will immediately be put in touch with volunteers in their local area. …
The attempt to prevent blacks from voting has been a staple of America’s political history, like long-winded speeches and balloons. I wrote three columns last month about a situation in Orlando, Fla., in which armed state police officers went into the homes of elderly black voters to question them as part of a so-called criminal investigation involving absentee ballots. This tactic sent a definite chill through voters who were old enough to remember the torment inflicted on Southern blacks who tried to vote in the 1950’s and 60’s. ..
In Texas, students at the predominantly black Prairie View A&M University were threatened with arrest by the local district attorney, a Republican, who suggested they were not eligible to vote in the county in which the school was located. This was nonsense. Students can vote in their college towns if they designate the campus as their home address. The whole point, of course, was intimidation. The threat of arrest is an excellent way of deterring someone from voting. … “