THE BEST OF THE WORST IN GERRYMANDERING

By George Smith

The most recent national verbal dust-up caused by President Trump opening his tweeter is about the right of every citizen to vote in open and free elections.

Federal and state governments, if  shareholders believe that all eligible  people should be able to vote in any vote in any election, should make it easy for folks to vote.

Instead, in the national game of “Suppress the Vote of The Opposing Party,” no trick is too dirty, no late-night state law change is unethical, no excuse to put up deterrents to open voting for those philosophically opposed to a specific group voting is beyond the possible.

From outright discrimination to selective tactics — poll tax, intelligence tests, gerrymandering, disabling voting processes, closing voting sites — discrimination aimed at diluting the voting power of specific groups has always been a part of American political history.

Controlling or funneling votes of the
opposition is not limited to the GOP of Donald Trump in 2020, it’s just that the ham-handed tactics of Trumpeters in suppressing opposition voters is just so blatant. (In 1975, Arkansas Democratic Party legislators gerrymandered a U.S. representative district that included a county as far north as one abutting the Missouri line and as far south leaning on Louisiana and Mississippi. (See map in comments below.)

The GOP is 2020 is against voting by mail … now. In 2016, the day party heavily promoted absentee to its base.

Now, however, GOPers are pulling out all stops to squeeze the life out of opposition voters.   Absentee voting is bad, too much chance of fraud; voting with a valid ID is the only way to ensure registered voters cast ballots; dramatically shrinking the number of polling locations will hold down turnout; blasting TV, radio and social media ads negatively listing possible problems (from pandemic exposure to violence) negatively affects turnout.

Changes are needed on a national basis to ensure every single eligible voter is encouraged  to vote and energized to do so.

—Change dates for election to encourage maximum participation by all eligible voters: 1. Major elections moved to Saturday; 2. If on a weekday, general elections become a national holiday; 3. No-excuse absentee and/or mail-in ballot available for every eligible voter; 4. Mandate a voting location for every (x-number, to be determined) registered voters.

Can the U.S. be a true democracy without ensuring and encouraging every citizen to vote and making it easy for them to do so?

And your answer is…?

Below: 1976 gerrymandering of Arkansas 1st Congressional District held by Democrat Bill Alexander contained 80 percent of the state’s minority population.

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