Editorial: Vote to Suppress the Suppressors

Well over 30 million Americans have already cast their ballots in the 2020 presidential/general elections, including some three million in Florida. However, despite the significant turnout, voter confidence is lacking since mary voters are uncertain about the outcome of their votes and others wonder whether their votes will even be counted.

With so much riding on this election and an obvious and persistent attempt is being made to intimidate voters, disrupt the submission of mail-in ballots and create obstacles, voters are opting to vote before Election Day, November 3. Voters are also aware that all the shenanigans could delay the outcome of the election for days, and possibly weeks.

Toss up states, such as Florida, are targeted heavily since the traditional slim margin of victory between Democratic and Republican candidates makes it more susceptible to voter suppression.

In Texas, for example, polling stations and drop-off sites for mail-in ballots have been significantly reduced. Other tactics are purging voters’ lists, giving voters less time to return their ballots and the supervisor of elections offices less time to count the votes. Here in Florida, many ex-Felons, who should have been able to cast votes this in this election, were disenfranchised.

While these tactics are not new, they have escalated since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2013 against Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which required certain states and local governments to obtain federal preclearance before implementing any changes to their voting laws or practices. Without this provision, some states have wantonly implemented laws that continue to voting difficult, particularly for Black and Latino voters.

Meanwhile, recognizing these new rules to suppress the vote would likely result in a rash of lawsuits, Republican governors across the country have packed their courts with Republican-leaning judges, and the incumbent U.S. president and Majority Leader in the U.S. Senate have focused over the past three and a half years on packing the federal courts with Republican-leaning justices. This has resulted in a tug-of-war in state and federal courts over the constitutionality of several of these stunning voting laws.

Often, as occurred in Texas last week, a state judge overturns a governor’s imposition of a law that deliberately suppresses the vote, resulting in an appeal to a related federal court where the ruling of the state court is overturned. A similar situation also occurred in Florida when initially a Florida court blocked Governor Ron DeSantis’ decision to overrule the Constitutional Amendment approved by voters in 2018 making it possible for ex-felons to vote. In short order a federal court condoned DeSantis’ decision to disenfranchise ex-felons unless they pay off all outstanding court fees and fines. Just last week an email was disbursed by the DeSantis administration to strike ex-felons off the voters’ list although not in time for November’s elections.

The absolute mess taking place nationwide to frustrate and suppress votes and voters is shouting out for a new U.S. Congress consisting of a majority Democratic House and Senate, and a Democratic President to pass a law that once again protects the rights of voters in every state in presidential and general elections.

A large majority of Caribbean Americans still cannot understand the lack of uniformity in U.S. presidential and general elections. Every state control how voting is conducted in that state, and there’s wanton confusion deliberately backed by federal and state laws. Some people argue it’s impossible to have a uniform federal voting system, since the US constitution give states the right to determine their peculiar electoral system. But, there seem to be no reason why there cannot be a new law that protect voters in each state from having their votes suppressed in federal elections.

What is a certainty is that voters can vote in such huge numbers that the final tally of their votes overcome attempts by the suppressors to suppress their votes. It’s encouraging to observe that with several days to November 3, voters are inclined to vote heavily.

To ensure there’s a fundamental change in the US presidency, the outcome of the election overcome all attempts at voter suppression, and leave no doubt who wins the election, American voters must seek to break the record of 81.8 percent of votes cast among people of voting age in 1876. Voter turnout has been generally poor since then, except for1960 when it was 62.8 percent. Even in 2008, when the election between Barack Obama and John McCain created much excitement, voter turnout was only 57.1 percent.

There is still sufficient time to break the 1876 record, especially with more voting options now than in that year. Voters are encouraged to continue to vote aggressively, in droves, and suppress the suppressors.

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