KRIS KOBACH: AMERICA’S GREATEST THREAT TO DEMOCRACY by Jamie Moses

I was sitting in a late night bar recently and girl in her mid-twenties was ranting to me about how terrible Donald Trump was. I asked her if she voted. She said she never voted because her vote doesn’t matter, and asked what difference would her one vote make? I told her Donald Trump won Michigan by 10,705 votes and said I’d be willing to bet anything there are at least 20,000 young people in Michigan who didn’t vote because they think the same way she does. “Yeah, you’re probably right,” she said. She took a long sip of beer and said, “That’s really fucked up, isn’t it?”

Yes, it is fucked up, but at least she had the opportunity to vote. Millions of people will have their right to vote stolen if Kris Kobach gets his way.. 

Making America Great Again

It’s safe to say that from the moment the 2016 presidential election was over there was hopeful speculation on the left that Donald J. Trump might not finish a full term as president. After seven months in office, Trump hasn’t kept any major campaign promises, passed any legislation, has no clear foreign policy, runs a White House that’s always in chaos, has angered several senators in his own party and can’t shake an investigation into his election campaign. While that may reflect a failure of leadership none of those things would be a reason for him not to finish his full four-year term. However, there is an increasing possibility Donald Trump might resign or be indicted because of criminal activity for something unrelated to the election.

A POSSIBLE TURNING POINT IN TRUMP’S ODDS OF SURVIVAL

On May 9, Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.

On May 10, Trump proudly bragged to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at a White House meeting that, “I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Then as if confiding to coconspirators he said, “I faced a lot of pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.” In that same meeting, Trump also showed off how good his spy intelligence was by sharing classified top secret information with the Russians provided him by the Israelis. Of course, that shook the trust our allies had in us as an espionage partner.

Trump tells his Russian pals he fired FBI Director James Comey

On May 11, Trump did an exclusive interview with Lester Holt on NBC. In complete contradiction to his own White House staff, Trump told Holt that because of his handling of the Russian investigation he’d made up his mind to fire Comey even before asking for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s opinion. “I was going to fire Comey regardless of recommendations,” said Trump. That was the explosive story-of-the-day that came out of that interview.

Trump told the Russians the pressure was off, it wasn’t. His interview with Lester Holt added more fuel to his Russian problem with Trump now appearing to obstruct an FBI investigation. Within a week the Justice Department appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Near the end of the long interview Lester Holt said to Trump “the Senate intelligence committee wants information from the financial crimes unit about your finances.”

Then Holt asks “Can you tell me whether you, your family, your businesses, your surrogates have accepted any investments, any loans from Russian individuals?”

Trump’s eyes dart away from Holt for a moment and then he says “Yeah, in fact I just sent a letter to Senator Lindsey Graham from one of the most prestigious law firms in the country, a tremendous, highly rated law firm, [saying] that I have nothing to do with Russia. I sold a house to a very wealthy Russian many years ago. And I had the Miss Universe pageant —you know I used to own that – I had it in Moscow a long time ago. But other than that, I have nothing to do with Russia. I have a certified letter saying that, just so you understand. I’ve given the letter to Senator Lindsey Graham… and the letter says I am not involved with Russia, no loans, no nothing.”

Mark Twain once wrote, “The glory which is built upon a lie soon becomes a most unpleasant encumbrance.”

What Trump said in that interview was a lie. In 1984 a Russian with no apparent source of income walked in off the street and plunked down $6 million (equal $14 million today) to buy five condos in Trump Tower (one of only two NYC high-rises that accepted anonymous buyers). Trump personally attended the closing. The buyer was a Russian mobster and for the next thirty years the flow of Russian money to Trump from Russian shell companies and suspicious Russian characters never stopped. In fact, according to Kenneth McCallion, a former assistant U.S. attorney in the Reagan administration, when Trump’s entire business empire was about to collapse “they [Russians] saved his bacon.”

For years Trump gambling casinos and hotels have been infested with Italian and Russian mobsters, but it’s the Russians who have been the cash cow that keeps on giving and it’s the Russians who have used Trump and his properties to both run their criminal activities and to launder dirty money.

Investigative reporters (and no doubt Special Council Robert Mueller) are looking far beyond collusion with Russia in the election campaign and looking into Trump’s thirty-plus year history of doing business with Russians–and Mueller has the authority to look at Trump’s ultra-secret tax returns. On August 1, Mueller added a 16th lawyer to his team of investigators, Greg Andres, a former deputy assistant attorney general in the criminal division, where he oversaw the fraud unit that targeted illegal foreign bribery.

Although there has been an occasional article here and there about Trump and casino dirty business with NY mobsters, since Trump’s NBC interview there’s been a burst of articles and news stories on his business ties with the Russians, and a lot of shady material is surfacing.

Craig Unger’s Married to the Mob cover story titled “Trump’s Russian Laundromat” in latest New Republic is well written, the easiest to read  https://goo.gl/o6V56m and the most comprehensive. But there are a slew of other articles that have been pouring out in just the past few days and weeks.

Fortune Magazine, “Donald Trump’s Disturbingly Deep Ties To Russia”

The Atlantic “Trump’s Been Talking About His Business Interests in Russia for 30 Years”

TalkingPointsMemo.com “Understanding the Trump-Russia Money Channel”

Vox.com “Set aside Putin and follow the money”

Politico “All of Trumps Russian ties in 7 charts”

Center for American Progress “Trump: Conflict of Interest in Russia”

BillMoyers.com A Timeline: Russia and President Trump

After learning the details and the long history of Trump’s business transactions with Russians, there are only two conclusions to be drawn: either Trump is knowingly mobbed up or he is the biggest and dumbest ever rich-American-white-boy patsy for Russian mobsters who’ve been laundering billions of dirty money through his businesses for over three decades. Sadly, it’s a tossup as to which one it is. If it’s proved he knew what was going on, he’s in deep trouble. If he’s just deaf, dumb and blind when engaging with criminals, that’s still bad, Ignorantia juris non excusat – ignorance of the law is no excuse.

KRIS KOBACH: A DANGEROUS MAN

President-elect Trump meets Kris Kobach in November. Kobach is holding a stack of papers titled “DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY” and “KOBACH STRATEGIC PLAN FOR THE FIRST 365 DAYS.” Kobach was recently fined $1,000 for lying to a Kansas court when he insisted the papers he carried were not relevant to a lawsuit he’s fighting with the ACLU. (Carolyn Kaster Associated Press file photo)

How does Kris Kobach the “King of Voter Suppression” fit into the Trump narrative and why is he such a threat to democracy? On November 27, 2016 Donald Trump famously tweeted “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally” –implying that over 3 million people voted illegally and they all voted for Clinton. The next day, an ABC interviewer asked adviser Kellyanne Conway where Trump got that information. Conway named Kris Kobach as a source of the erroneous claim.

When Green Party candidate Jill Stein sued for a recount in three states Trump and his team of lawyers insisted there was no evidence of voter fraud. According to a report on Democracy Now, in Michigan Stein wasn’t so much looking for a recount as she was trying to get included in the vote count the 75,335 votes rejected in Detroit and Flint because of voting machine failure. Those ballots needed to be manually read but the Republican Secretary of State in Michigan refused to allow that and ultimately a Federal judge halted the Michigan recount effort because Stein had little standing. Hillary Clinton needed to demand the recount and she didn’t.

On May 11, the same day as the Lester Holt interview, Trump announced that Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach was picked to run the newly created Election Integrity Commission. It’s a job that could best be described as Trump’s Chief of Voter Police (while remaining Kansas Secretary of State). Shortly after his appointment, Kobach announced that he’s running for governor of Kansas, as well. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Government from Harvard, a Master’s degree and a PhD in Political Science from Oxford, and a law degree from Yale. Kobach is very smart and very ambitious and you can bet if he wins governor of Kansas you’ll see his name touted by conservatives as a potential presidential candidate.

Kobach is the nation’s loudest and most hysterical voice pushing voter fraud conspiracy theories and has for years been an effective tool for the Republican Party in suppressing Democratic voter turnout not just in Kansas but in 28 other states, as well. So when Trump appointed Kobach to run a Voter Integrity commission, that was like entrusting Voldemort with Harry Potter’s safety. Voter integrity is not what the Kansas Secretary of State is concerned with. Kris Kobach has spent more than a decade refining voter suppression methods and his number one tool is misusing and abusing the voter registration databases of the 28 states that participate in his Interstate CrossCheck system.

 

Here is how CrossCheck works and how Kobach misuses it. As Secretary of State of Kansas, Kobach has access to his state’s voter rolls and he’s convinced other Secretaries to allow him access to their state voter rolls. He will then ask, for example, the Republican Secretary of State in Ohio to send him a copy of Ohio’s voter rolls to “cross check” whether someone is registered in two states, and possibly voting twice. That sounds reasonable.

Kobach knows that almost 9 out of 10 blacks vote Democratic and 3 out of 4 Hispanics and Asians vote Democratic. He also knows, for example, that 90% of people with the last name Washington are black, and that 91% of people with the last name Garcia are Hispanic, and 94% with the name Kim are Asian, and so on.

With that in mind, Kobach has the CrossCheck system search for last names that are common to Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians, voters who typically don’t vote Republican that Kobach wants to purge from voting rolls. That would be names like Kim, Wong, Chen, Lee, Williams, Johnson, Brown, Davis, Jackson, Washington, Garcia, Rodriguez, Hernandez, Martinez, Lopez, etc.

This is when it gets evil. Although the voter databases contain date of birth, middle name, Jr. or Sr. and often the last four digits of the social security number, Kobach and his coconspirators don’t bother looking at anything but the first and last name.

So Robert James Washington, Jr. who lives in Missouri is considered as possibly the same person as Robert Jefferson Washington, Sr. who lives in Ohio. Kobach then includes both these men on a list he sends to Ohio and Missouri as someone to be purged for potentially voting in two states illegally. Both men will get a little postcard in mail from their Board of Elections to confirm their voting address. In small print they’re told if they don’t return the postcard they will be removed from the voter roll. Thousands of voters don’t realize that and don’t return the postcards. The CrossCheck purge list sent to Michigan before the 2016 election had  449,922 names on it and 55,000 voters were purged from the list. North Carolina’s CrossCheck purge list had  589,393 names.

 

Sample obtained by investigative reporter Greg Palast of CrossCheck voters with a common Black name identified as possibly the same person voting in two states even though their names don’t fully match. Before the 2014 election Virginia removed 41,000 voters from their rolls based on this misinformation.

The first thing that Kris Kobach did when he took the Voter Integrity Commission job was to demand voter I.D. rolls from all 50 states. There was a lot of publicity when several states resisted handing over that information. Some Secretaries of State like Alex Padilla of California knows Kobach wants to nationalize his CrossCheck program to suppress even more voters. No doubt he would love to decimate the Hispanic vote in California. Padilla and a few others made the rounds on news shows to condemn Kobach’s request to gather a national voter database.

It’s not like Kobach can point to any successful convictions as proof of his charge of mass illegal voting. In Kansas he campaigned on a platform that he was going to purge the state of the thousands of illegal voters that plagued Kansas elections. Within three months of taking office he got the legislature and Governor Brownback to sign off on his Secure And Faire Elections (SAFE) act which required not just photo I.D. but proof of citizenship like a passport or original copies of a birth certificate to vote. Not many poor people have passports. Over the objections of every district attorney in the state, he also got the legislature and governor to give him the power to prosecute voter fraud. He’s the only Secretary of State in the country with that power. After seven years of investigations and several hundreds of thousands of dollars spent routing out the rampant voter fraud in Kansas, Kobach has a total of 9 convictions. Those convictions are mostly older Republicans over 60 who own two homes in different states and were confused about voting registration.

 

Greg Palast, an American investigative reporter employed by the BBC and The Guardian newspaper of London has been investigating voter suppression since the controversial Florida recount in the 2000 Gore vs. Bush race. Palast has said he is neither for the left nor the right, that his concern is that citizens are not deprived of their right to vote. Palast has been investigating Kris Kobach’s voter suppression tactics for the past 5 years. www.gregpalast.com

KOBACH IS JUST A GOOD OLE KANSAS BOY

Kansas is the home of the Koch brothers and where Koch Industries is headquartered. The two most devastating Supreme Court decisions affecting the American election system were both funded by the Koch brothers. The first was the 2010 Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission which opened the floodgates for corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on political advertising. Citizens United was founded and is supported with Koch funding .

The second devastating Supreme Court decision Shelby vs. Holder on June 26, 2013, when the Supreme Court ripped the heart out of the Voting Rights Act. The Act had prevented 900 cases of attempted discriminatory action by a state against its citizens, like passing laws you had to speak fluent English, moving polling stations to where they were inaccessible, canceling elections because too many Blacks were on the ballot. Selected districts with a history of discrimination had to present any changes to the court for approval. If deemed discriminatory they were denied. Chief Justice John Roberts noted the law was immensely successful “at redressing racial discrimination and integrating the voting process” but that it was no longer necessary. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in her dissent compared Roberts line of thinking to  “throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”

Cheif Justice Roberts position wasn’t surprising. Roberts had a long history of opposing the Voting Rights Act. When he was a young lawyer in Reagan’s Justice Department he led the failed charge against reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act.

Within hours of the decision, Alabama passed a law requiring a drivers license to vote and then shut down most of the motor vehicle offices in the ten largest “black belt” counties. Other states soon followed with voting restictions they had not been previously allowed to enact.

Shelby, Alabama is a dirt poor rural county and it costs an incredible amount of money to take a case all the way to the Supreme Court.  Shelby lost in Federal District Court. It appealed and lost again in the U.S. Court of Appeals. Finally, it appealed to the Supreme Court. Where did little Shelby get the mountain money to pay for the teams of lawyers needed for this? The money behind Shelby came from Project on Fair Representation. The money behind PFR came from Donors Trust. The money behind Donors Trust came from The Charles G. Koch Foundation. The Koch brothers paid for it.

So the two most significant Supreme Court decisions affecting our elections were both engineered and paid for by the Koch brothers.

KOBACH on a Koch brothers weekend retreat with other Republican Secretaries of State from around the country.
Trump with his deputy campaign manager and Citizens United president and chairman David Bossie.

FLORIDA 2,000 CREATED THE DATABASE SUPPRESSION MODEL

JOHN HUSTED of Ohio, is another voter suppressing Secretary of State who is running for governor and probably has an eye on the presidency.

After the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State John Husted joined Kobach’s CrossCheck gang and in 2014, Ohio saw 43,000 black voters vanish from the voting rolls by ignoring middle names and Jr. or Sr. Like Kobach, John Husted has announced that he too is running for governor in 2018 and he probably has dreams of someday occupying the White House, too.

Lawyer, author and professor of Political Science at Columbus State, Robert Fitrakis, said Husted is only looking at first and last names “because he doesn’t want to actually match people by using the middle name, too. He wants to purge black and Hispanic voters because the only way to make Ohio winnable [for Republicans] is by stealing American citizens votes.” Karl Rove wrote in article in the Wall St. Journal, that “if the share of the African American turnout drops just one point in North Carolina, Democrats winning margin there is wiped out.”

Rove should know. The value of playing fast and loose with data was a lesson well learned in the infamous purging of Florida voters in the contested Bush vs. Gore 2000 presidential race. While headlines at the time focused on hanging chads, butterfly ballots, armies of lawyers and the antics of Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, the deciding factor in the Florida 2000 election was probably the purging of Black voters.

A year before the election Florida contracted with Database Technologies (DBT) to begin purging convicted felons from the voting rolls using state databases they were given.  James Lee, vice president of DBT said Emmett “Bucky” Mitchell of the Florida Board of Elections directed DBT not to look for exact matches and said that an 80% match was close enough. In testimony after the election, Lee went on to say that the state then ordered DBT to shift to an even lower threshold, allowing names to be reversed (thus a person named Richard James could be taken to be the same person as James Richard). Besides this, middle initials were skipped, Jr. and Sr. suffixes dropped.

Lee testified that “DBT told state officials that their rules for purging would mean a significant number of people who were not deceased, not registered in more than one county, or not a felon, would be included on the list.” DBT made suggestions to correct the criteria rules. According to Lee, the state told the company, “Forget about it”.

88% of the people purged from the voter rolls were Black. The NAACP sued Florida after the election and as part of the settlement DBT ran the names on its purge list again but this time using a corrected, stricter criteria for matches. It found 12,000 people had been wrongly removed from the voting rolls.

On election night Bush was declared the winner by 1,784 votes. The Florida Supreme court granted Gore a recount by hand in counties where votes were discarded because Optiscan and punch card machines failed to read the voter’s choice. Gore began catching up to Bush once rejected ballots were examined by human eyes. An army of Bush lawyers and political operatives converged on Florida with one objective, stop the recount. In a dramatic climax, the U.S. Supreme Court in a widely criticized decision ordered the recount halted, apparently just in time. George Bush won the election by only 537 votes and would likely have lost had the counting continued.

Edward Hailes, general counsel for the Civil Rights Commission determined that it was not a stretch to conclude that the purge of black voters cost Gore the election. “We did think it was outcome-determinative,” Hailes said.

Hailes also observed that “Other people began to see that in very competitive elections, you could make a difference by keeping certain voters from participating.” We have seen that the easiest way to do that is to create a phony hype about voter fraud and then institute laws that restrict voting. But it’s even easier if you can manipulate databases to surgically remove whoever it is you want to keep from voting.

THE PRESIDENT’S VOTING INTEGRITY COMMISSION DOESN’T CARE ABOUT ELECTION INTEGRITY OR VOTER SECURITY

 

Hackers at DEFCON in Las Vegas targeted 10 different voting machines in use

Voting machine hacking is what should be at the top of the list for a commission on election integrity, particularly with intelligence experts predicting Russia will continue trying to hack our elections and solid evidence Russians attempted to hack election machines or election offices in 21 states in the 2016 election. But hacking is not on the top of the commission’s list. In fact, it’s not even mentioned.

Last Friday, July 28, one of the most talked-about features of the annual DEF CON hacker conference in Las Vegas was “Voter Village.” Hundreds of cyber security experts took turns over 3 days cracking into 10 different voting machines and voter registration systems. It took about one minute for Carten Shurman, a computer science professor from Copenhagen, to get into a machine currently used in Nevada. Schurman gained administrative-level access to the voting machine, giving him the power to see all the votes cast on the device and to manipulate or delete vote totals.

Politco.com reported that “Anne-Marie Hwang, an intern the digital security firm Synac, demonstrated that by bringing a generic plastic key to mimic the ones given to poll workers and plugging in a keyboard, she could simply hit control-alt-delete and enter the voting machine’s generic password to gain administrative access.” A track at DEFCON “Hacking Democracy” explored direct manipulation of voting tallies and voter registration lists.

This is alarming stuff, but no one from the Voter Integrity Commission was there to witness it. By contrast, a couple years ago when the hackers convention announced a track on hacking self-driving cars Elon Musk sent a Tesla Vice President to the convention to watch everything they did.

IF ENOUGH PEOPLE TELL THE SAME LIE DOES IT BECOME TRUE?

Besides Kobach, other members of the commission include Hans von Spakovsky, who Slate.com labeled “The Dark Prince of Voter Fraud Alarmism” and Ken Blackwell. Blackwell is the notorious former Ohio Secretary of State who removed voting machines in Columbus, the state’s most populous city and added machines to the suburbs, falsely advised voters they couldn’t vote if they were on probation, rejected voter registrations for not being printed on 80# paper, removed voter registration forms from social services offices, and forced 41 counties to use the frequently malfunctioning voting machines made by Diebold, a company that was the focus of the HBO documentary “Hacking Democracy” and a company Blackwell held a large amount of stock in. Taking his lead from Kobach, Blackwell insists we have a huge problem with voter fraud.

So far, it has been shown that the primary perpetrators of voter fraud are not illegal aliens or people double voting, but Secretaries of State willing to cheat voters of their right to vote so their party will win an election.

The same day convention hackers were breaking into voting machines in Las Vegas von Spakovsky published a piece on the Heritage Foundation website, an organization funded by ultra-conservative billionaires and election meddlers like the Koch brothers and the Mercer family.

Von Spaskovsky wrote about “A New Bombshell Study” that showed “why President Donald Trump’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity has such an important job ahead of it.” The source of the “Bombshell Study” is the Government Accountability Institute which “concluded in its report that thousands of votes in the 2016 election were illegal duplicate votes from people who registered and voted in more than one state.”

The president of the Government Accountability Institute that issued this report is Peter Schweizer, who has been repeatedly criticized for incorrect reporting and conclusions not supported by facts. Schweizer is part of the triumvirate of himself, Steve Bannon, the late Andrew Breitbart who together created Breitbart News, funded by the Mercer family. The source of Schweizer’s allegation of double voting is Kris Kobach. What we have is a group of friends and conspirators citing each other to substiate the lies they tell.

HERE IS THE BIG PROBLEM

Behind the fireworks on the floor of the senate, behind the headlines driven Trump tweets and the bluster and chaos of the White House, lifelong Republicans are quietly implementing agendas they’ve been pushing for decades and they are hoping to use Donald Trump to get it done the same way Russian mobsters used Trump to launder dirty money. As Republican über-conservative lobbyist Grover Norquist said in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, “We don’t need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go. We just need a president to sign this stuff. We just need to pick a Republican [candidate] with enough working digits to handle a pen.”

Even though the pussy grabbing, draft dodging, non-taxpaying Trump is not the president Republican leaders wanted, they know he shares their agenda of dismantling citizen protections and providing welfare for the wealthy–give bountiful gifts to the rich and powerful and kick the poor and middle-class in the face.

The Trump cabinet and other appointments are designed to do that.

If you’ll remember the Trump team didn’t really expect to win the election. While Hillary Clinton no doubt had a prepared government in waiting, Team Trump was visibly lost, caught flat-footed and having to suddenly create an administration from thin air.

Trump billionaire backers, the Mercers and Party leadership were there for Trump, supplying the names of people he should bring into the new administration who execute their longstanding agenda. Trump, who campaigned as an outsider, would stack his administration with ultimate insiders.

  • Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, who as Oklahoma Attorney General repeatedly sued the EPA and lists himself on his bio as “The leading advocate against the EPA.”
  • Rick Perry, Secretary of Energy, a department he once said he wanted to eliminate.
  • Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, who wants to funnel money out of Public Schools and into Christian based private schools as a means to “advance God’s Kingdom” (her family donated $200 million to Republicans).
  • Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior, who believes climate change is “unsettled science” and want to open up Public Lands to oil drilling and coal mining.
  • Tom Price, Health and Human Services, a rabid Obamacare foe who spent 12 years in Congress fighting against things like requiring the government to negotiate for lower drug prices for Medicaid beneficiaries.
  • And of course, there is a boatload of Wall St. and Goldman Sachs executives including the Treasury Secretary, Commerce Secretary and Director the National Economic Council. Trump has the wealthiest administration in history.

The point is that Donald Trump could leave the White House in handcuffs or a straight jacket and all these people will remain in place working hard at destroying protections the American people need and count on. This Voter Integrity Commission could be the most dangerous of all the Trump creations because if Kobach gets his way it could ensure a very long, if not permanent, Republican rule and a further drift towards an American oligarchy.

These guys were hoping to use Trump to advance their agenda. That’s proving difficult.

NOT MY PROBLEM

When you don’t live in a state afflicted by voter suppression or are not a member of a voter suppressed group it’s too easy to be ambivalent or unconcerned, but a national expansion of something like CrossCheck should concern everyone.

I would like to paraphrase the well-known poem written by the German Lutheran pastor Martin Niem Martinöller about the Nazi’s rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group while the German people stood by, watched it happen, and did nothing.

First, they came for the Black vote, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not Black.

Then they came for the Hispanic vote, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not Hispanic.

Then they came for the Asian vote, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not Asian.

Then they came for my vote—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Voter suppression and intimidation aren’t new. We should all be familiar with tactics like sending postcards to black communities telling them they should go to the polls on a different day (the day after the election); forcing minorities to wait in line for hour because of very few polling stations and not enough voting machines in poor neighborhoods but plenty in wealthier white neighborhoods and the suburbs;; claiming you must be able to speak fluent English to vote; insisting you must bring a drivers license to vote even if it’s not legally required.

On the eve of the 2016 election students at a liberal college in Maine who vote overwhelmingly Democratic received a document falsely saying they had to re-register their vehicles in Maine and get a Maine driver’s license or renew their current driver’s license before they could vote; in Fort Worth, Texas senior citizen Latino voters who voted by mail were visited by “people” who told them what they were doing was illegal; South Carolina mailed brochures to black voters claiming that law enforcement agents would be “working” the election, and warning voters that “this election is not worth going to jail.” A Texas district attorney told students at a black college they could not vote in the county their college was located in.

However, those kinds of dirty tricks will no longer be necessary if Kris Kobach is allowed to assemble a national CrossCheck database. There is no doubt he would use it to purge millions of voters who don’t vote Republican. All that’s needed is to hit the delete button

NO NEED FOR ATTACK DOGS, FIRE HOSES AND NIGHTSTICKS TO KEEP BLACK PEOPLE FROM VOTING. NOW IT CAN BE DONE WITH THE CLICK OF A COMPUTER KEY

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., leads a march in Selma, Alabama

 

KLU KLUX KLAN still alive and well in 2016

 

HERE ARE SOME PEOPLE WHO DIED FOR THE RIGHT TO VOTE AND KRIS KOBACH SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO TAKE THAT RIGHT AWAY

REV. GEORGE LEE Used his pulpit and his printing press to urge others to vote. White officials in Midnight, Mississippi told Lee to end his voter registration efforts. Lee refused and was murdered. May 7, 1955
LAMAR SMITH A black farmer, World War I veteran and an organizer of black voter registration was shot dead August 13 1955 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.
HERBERT LEE, A Mississippi cotton and dairy farmer was one of the few local African Americans with a car. Lee spent hours driving from farm to farm to talk about voting. On the morning of Sept. 25, 1961, Lee pulled up to a cotton gin outside Liberty with a truckload of cotton. Several people watched as Mississippi State Rep. E.H. Hurst approached Lee and began shouting at him. Lee got out of the truck, and Hurst pulled a gun out and shot Lee in the head. The legislator was never arrested.
LOUIS ALLEN, was murdered in 1964 for trying to register to vote. He had been a witness to his friend Herbet Lee’s murder.
WILLIAM LEWIS MOORE, a postman from Baltimore, decided to walk from Chattanooga, Tenn. To Jackson, Miss. to hand deliver a letter he wrote to Gov. Ross Barnett urging an end to racial intolerance and to accept civil rights. On April 23, 1963, Moore was shot twice in the head at point-blank range near Attalla, Ala., and left on the side of road. Floyd Simpson, a Ku Klux Klan member, was suspected of committing the murder but was never charged.
MEDGAR EVERS Was a WWII veteran, college educated, and a leading civil rights activist from Mississippi. Following the Supreme Court ruling in Brown vs. Board of Education declaring segregated public schools were unconstitutional, Evers worked to gain admission for African Americans to the University of Mississippi and became a field worker for the NAACP. He also worked on voting rights and voter registration. In the early morning of June 12, 1963, Evers pulled into his driveway. His family was waiting for him, and his children told his wife, Myrlie, that he had arrived. Emerging from his car and carrying NAACP T-shirts that read “Jim Crow Must Go” Evers was struck in the back with a bullet fired from an Enfield 1917 rifle; the bullet ripped through his heart. Evers staggered 30 feet before collapsing in front of his wife and children. After hearing of Evers murder Bob Dylan wrote the moving son “Only A Pawn In the Game.” On June 21, 1963, Byron De La Beckwith, a fertilizer salesman and member of the White Citizens’ Council and the Ku Klux Klan, was arrested for Evers’s murder. Twice in 1964, all white juries deadlocked on De La Beckwith’s guilt and failed to reach a verdict. Since blacks were disenfranchised voters by Mississippi’s constitution they were also excluded from juries, which were based on registered voters. In 1994, De La Beckwith was prosecuted by the state based on new evidence. He was convicted of murder on February 5, 1994, and died at age 80 in prison in January 2001.

 

 

In June 1964 JAMES EARL CHANEY, ANDREW GOODMAN and MICHAEL HENRY SCHWERNER, three young civil rights workers, were arrested by a deputy sheriff in Philadelphia, Mississippi and then released into the hands of Klansmen. All three men were shot, and their bodies were buried in an earthen dam.

 

In February, 1965, JIMMIE LEE JACKSON died after he was brutally beaten and shot in Marion, Alabama by Alabama State Trooper James Bonard Fowler as he tried to protect his grandfather and mother from a trooper attack on civil rights marchers. His death led to the three Selma-Montgomery marches, including the famous “Bloody Sunday” at the Pettus Bridge, and the eventual passage of the Voting Rights Act.
REV. JAMES REEB, a Unitarian minister from Boston, was among many white clergymen who joined the Selma marchers after the attack by state troopers at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Reeb was beaten to death by white men while he walked down a Selma street.
JONATHAN MYRICK DANIELS, an Episcopal Seminary student in Boston, had come to Alabama to help with black voter registration in Lowndes County. In August, 1965 he was arrested at a demonstration, jailed in Hayneville and then suddenly released. Moments after his release, he was shot to death by a deputy sheriff.
In March, 1965, VIOLA GREGG LIUZZO, a housewife and mother from Detroit, drove alone to Alabama to help with the Selma march after seeing televised reports of the attack at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. She was ferrying marchers between Selma and Montgomery when she was shot and killed by a Klansmen in a passing car.
VERNON FERDINAND DAHMER, was a black businessman who owned a grocery store in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and offered to pay poll taxes for those who couldn’t afford the fee required to vote. In January, 1966, the night after a radio station broadcasted Dahmer’s offer, his home was firebombed. Dahmer died from severe burns, his home and business were destroyed and his members family suffered burns, as well.

 

 

On April 4, 1968 DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., was assassinated as he prepared to lead a demonstration in Memphis. His murderer, James Earl Ray, was a convicted felon and campaign worker for the segregationist Governor of Alabama George Wallace.

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