Republican legislatures across the country have been methodically engaging in voter-suppression schemes for the last decade. In recent years their efforts have expanded in a naked attempt to reduce minority and youth electoral participation and preserve conservative majorities in state legislatures and Congress as well as at the local level. These measures include odious voter ID laws, the reduction of early voting periods, the redlining of polling sites to avoid college campuses and minority communities, and the elimination of same-day registration.
Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka, Green Party Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates, condemn these partisan maneuvers as toxic to the very concept of democracy and demand an immediate halt to these practices as well as long-term reform to election systems throughout the United States.
"Expanding voter access to the polls should be the goal of any democratic society, not the reverse," says Mr. Baraka. "The systematic disenfranchisement of Black voters is particularly offensive given the long and painful history of barriers to representation they have faced."
Recently, investigative journalist Greg Palast spotlighted another blatant voter-suppression program known as "Interstate Crosscheck," which could target as many as 7.2 million voters for de-registration in the November 2016 election.
The program, developed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, uses voter databases to flag people who have registered in different states using the same first and last names as well as unique identifiers such as middle name, date of birth and social security numbers - exact matches would then identify potential duplicate registrations. However, documents obtained by Palast indicated that in thousands of cases, the system used only a voter's first and last name.
In Virginia, for example, 41,000 voters have already been purged from the state's voter rolls, which represented 12.45% of the Crosscheck voter list in that state. If other states follow suit, at least one million voters are potentially at risk to lose their right to vote because they have the same first and last name as another voter in a different state. As the investigation noted, this will disproportionately affect minority turnout: The Crosscheck list contains the name of several hundred thousand voters with the last names Jackson, Hernandez, Kim and other ethically identified surnames that skew heavily toward Black, Latino and Asian populations.
"This is reminiscent of the stolen 2000 election, when the state of Florida electronically purged tens of thousands of overwhelmingly African-American voters from the rolls. It's past time to raise the alarm and fight back against the growing attacks on voters' rights, including voter ID and other voter suppression laws that deliberately target voters of color for disenfranchisement," said Jill Stein, Green Party Presidential candidate.
Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka call for an immediate halt to the use of all voter suppression tactics, including "Interstate Crosscheck," to prevent the inevitable disenfranchisement of countless voters. Stein and Baraka pledge to guarantee the right to vote for all U.S. citizens and to fight what the Reverend Joseph Lowery calls "Jim Crow all over again."