Episode 158: Is Voting Suppression Still Happening?
I it's Natasha. Feels and we are the house of. Thank you do thank you for tuning into one hundred and fifty eight episodes of woken free. If you've been tuning in every week for woken Wednesday, you know that welcome free is all about being real and honest with each other and you we talk about everything and anything important to us you the world and nothing is off the table. This week we are discussing whether voter suppression is still like really happening, which is A. Deep, subject great, and it's important in these times right before an upcoming election. Yes. Indeed. I think many of us are sitting on the edge of our seats waiting for this upcoming accident remember. So before we dive deep into that subject which we know y'all can't hardly wait to discuss a couple of things ago over which is a year favorite time of the day, which is Tasha monologue because who doesn't like to hear someone talk to themselves for just a little bit. 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So if for instance you're like, oh I, listen to you on Itunes what can I do? You can go to Itunes and you can review woken free. Thank you for the five star reviews. Very much well appreciated but no jokes aside give us your review on the platforms you choosing to listen to this on. So go to woken free dot COM click on the listen page or listen tab, and then you can review the show on the platforms of choice that you listen to us on. Thank you. Thank you. Thank. You seen and already then Each week, we like to share a little bit about us before we dive into the topic for the episode last time. would. You rather be hot or stay cool. This week asking which celebrity born on the same day would you rather have lunch with Jennifer Lawrence or Ben Affleck quick question do you even confirmed that they had the same birthday? This is confirmed and it's confirmed. Okay because I don't want them either conduct. Yoho like love y'all but we don't have the same birthday but this is not a scenario. This is a actual questions. An actual question questioned not based on. Ideals Jennifer Lawrence being the hunger games right? DRE Law Okay so Vs Ben Affleck. Oh interesting. So I've loved Ben Affleck for many but actually. I think about it right now I would have to say Jennifer Lawrence because hunger games has been I mean I have a hunger games set to on my leg. So like it, you don't have a daredevil to. Definitely, not. Ben Affleck for so many years I think he's just adorable in amazing. But unfortunately Jennifer. Lawrence really speaks to my soul is kindness ever seen and she just I think is really bad ass and I think that she's like unapologetically beautiful an incredible and just like her own sweet and daring also, I would have to have lunch with Jennifer Lawrence and you my love I just go down the practical routes Ben. Affleck. He's like old man so I would go with Jay, law because she's closer in age to me so we think that the dinner. Chicago letter nature. Being ages but you know when there's generational gaps might be hard for people to Click. Isn't he only like ten years older than us? I don't know I. I don't know. But. I know he's older than J. Law so I know that you would be better to go. Have lunch with a hot check I. Got. You know that doesn't make sense she's going to Geez closer checks. This is all about just having lunch with somebody. That's other people. No sure. That's. It is but see mine is based on the age though you said I'm being an aide just but I'm just being I'm just thinking that practically she probably been. Interesting person to have lunch with I'm just so obsessed with like J. Law and how she's like navigated her career and how she's kind of really stood her own ground in the septic environment that Hollywood really in. And Yeah and it's really sad how they've treated her and mystery at her and she still has seemed to maintain some form of normality in some form of self dignity. So I just I really adore her and I love her so yeah. Yeah. Now. She's maintaining normalisation, but in these election times, can we maintain something of normality? Correct Good can transition Just wondering. A good thing to start with would be what is voter suppression absolutely. So as a proud graduate of New York Law School, we had a former S I had a former. President. Dean Strossen. Be. One. Of My professors as well as be a vital. Element and professor and leader at at my law school and I'm happy to give some information from ACLU as to what what voter suppression is and so on the website, and again all of our links you can find woken free dot com and with that ACLU says, the following voting should be easy and convenient as possible and in many cases it is. But across the United States too many politicians or passing measures making it harder to cast a ballot, the goal is to manipulate political. Result is severely compromised democracy that doesn't reflect. The will of the people are democracy works best when all eligible voters can participate in have their voices heard suppression efforts range from the seemingly unobstructed like. ID's and cuts to early voting to mass purges, voter rolls, and systemic disenfranchisement long before, election cycles even began legislators can redraw district lines that determine the weight of your vote eight gerrymandering. And then if you go to another website, which we also learned in episode here will confer Dot Com, which is demand. The vote says voter suppression is in, is any effort either legal or illegal by ways of laws, administrative rules and tactics that prevent eligible voters from registering to vote or voting and ever since the Supreme Court ruling Shelby County beholder in twenty thirteen Republican, legislators have introduced and passed as many voter suppression laws as they get through. So thus you could see he bipartisan in that. Freezing however the reality is is that there are forces at power here in this country that have been curtailing the rights of all people by limiting and making it more difficult to vote which thus intern is good or suppression what are your thoughts on the topic though? My thoughts on the topic just state one thing from the probably those Republicans that of. Those suppression laws of course, what they would say is there. They make these laws because they want to reduce fraud. That's that's the kind of guys they gotta go. About, suppressing fraud not suppressing people valid legal voting but that's bill. De. And I saw rolling stone article also mentioned some other sort of tactics that are considered boaters pressing and I think it's kind of a newer one is. That such as like blocking ballots, they intimidate voters, and then also the spreading misinformation all that comes together and that's all part of voting suppression. Absolutely does eighth. Grade. Tag. When to vote devote things like that or how how vote validly. Are President said that you can do a mail in vote. Then you can go in person and vote and that's that's project and you can't do that or act yeah job. You can't do that if you own your vote then that's your. Vote in person yet wrapped. Yeah. All right. We'll now that I think everyone's on the same table same page asked what is voter suppression I, guess the key question and the crux of this episode really lies in is voter suppression still happening today do the article that I just mentioned from rolling stones at said, the Republicans are now reporting that mail in voting leads to voter fraud and it also went on to talk about how they. Like to launch lawsuits, actually prevent the expansion, a mail and voting. So Mellon Vote Mellon ballots are good because they allow people to vote who wouldn't been able to vote otherwise, not everybody can take a day off or they have a certain kind of work schedule where they have no time to vote. So without the mail in ballots, how they do that absolutely dimension if you're overseas and you have to vote. Mellon votes. Able to you may not even be present here during the times when voting is there. So I think that's kind of like the latest form of suppression is trying to present Mellon, Mellon bow and trying to decrease the rate rated that states expanding male imbalanced because there was a time where they were actually growing it in the lot of states were and it was a bipartisan thing and everybody agreed that mail in voting was good but then something happened and everything pulled the switch now Republicans are all up in arms against Jeff that's A. New thing though yeah I mean to be frank and honest right because that's what he's all about. There has been an election period where I physically was incapable of voting because I was working we lived in Long Island I was working in the city and I didn't get off until like well past the time for when I could vote in person and at that time New York did not allow the male invalid. I. Still Don't think I'm not sure absentee valid but you gotta make a valid reason you do it with a certain cutoff. Hard do able to vote, but it just turned out changed I've got home at nine, thirty, six in the ballots closed at like nine, and that's what it was and so if we had more options availabilities for people to vote than, we don't curtail people from being able to live their lives because some people can't take off from work some people don't have the luxury of being able to vote we. Live and work in hours apart from each other it becomes a problem. So absolutely, I really excited to be in a state like Arizona where we have Mellon of voter options and that's and do for standard author just as a standard tastic egg given what's going on with Kuban exactingly, you can mail it in and not be discomforted. So love it. Love it. Love it. Now, when it comes to is voter suppression real the answers hells there, and again going back to aclu they break it down into kind of what are the different categories for which is voter suppression is happening. So this is a long conversation. Let's go through a guys bursts voter ID. Laws. So they say thirty six states have identification requirements at the polls. Seven states have strict photo ID laws which voters must present one of a limited set of forms of government issued photo I. D.'s in order to cast regular ballot. No exceptions. These strict laws are part of an ongoing strategy to suppress the vote and it works voter ID laws have been estimated by the US. Government. Accountability Office to review reduce voter turnout by two to three percentage points translating to tens of thousands of votes loss in a single state quite significant. Now, over twenty one, million US citizens do not have government issued photo identification. Let me repeat that according to the ACLU over twenty one, million US citizens don't have government issued photo identification that's because I be cards aren't always. Accessible for everyone, the idea itself can be costly an even when ideas are free applicants must incur other expenses to obtain the underlying documents that are needed to get the ID. This can be a significant burden on people in lower income communities. Further, the travel requirement at is an obstacle for people with disabilities, the elderly on people living in rural areas. Sorry to note. So that's one. Voter suppression next would be voter registration restrictions. So restricting the terms and requirements of registration is one of the most common forms of voter suppression according to the ACLU restrictions can include required documents to prove citizenship or identification onerous penalties for voter registration drives limits. The window of time which voters can register politicians often use unfounded claims of voter fraud like you mentioned to try to justify registration restrictions in twenty eleven Kansas Secretary of state. Chris Quebec championed the law requiring Kansan people from Kansas to vote citing false claims of non-citizen voting. Most people don't carry the required documents on hand like a passport or birth certificate, and as a result, the law blocked over thirty thousand people from Kansas from voting the ACLU sued and defeated the law in two thousand eighteen incredible that. Just in this country alone now, some states require strict registration by allowing people to register long in advance of an election. For example, New York requires voters to register at least twenty five days before the election, which imposes an uneasy burden on the right to vote by forcing voters to register before the election even becomes saline to the public. It discourages people from registering in the first place these outdated. Restrictions which were designed for a time when registration forms were exclusively completed with pen and paper and transmitted via snail mail can significantly impact voter participation. For instance, Aclu says, in the Twenty Sixteen presidential election over ninety thousand New Yorkers were unable to vote because their applications did not meet the twenty five day cutoff and the state had the eighth worst turnout rate in the country that You're York place. That's one next type of voters. voter suppression to think about is voter purges of cleaning up the voter rolls can be responsible part of election administration because many people move dire become eligible to for other reasons. But sometimes, states uses process as a method of mass disenfranchised disenfranchises chance men, which means that pershing eligible voters from rolls of for illegitimate it illegitimate reasons or based on inaccurate data, and often without adequate noticed the voters a single purge can stop up to hundreds of thousands of people from voting. Often voters only learn they've been purged when they show up at the polls on election day that's Uber. Stills voter purges have increased in recent years a recent Brennan Center study found that almost sixteen million voters were polled words from the roles between twenty fourteen in two thousand sixteen and that jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination, which are no longer subject to pre-clearance. After the Supreme Court gutted the voting writing acts and had significantly higher purge raids the most common. Purging voter rolls are to filter out voters who have changed their address died or have failed to vote in recent elections. States often conduct such purges using in data booting voters who don't even fall within the targeted category in Two Thousand Sixteen Arkansas purged. Thousands of voters for so-called felony convictions even though some of the voters had never been convicted of a felony at all and in two thousand thirteen Virginia pers thirty, nine, thousand voters. On data that was later found had an error rate of up to seventeen percent. You are now listening to Logan free. And Free Bokan free. podcast gets real and personal. Again, this is all coming from ACLU. You can find the link. DOT, com super disappointing, and highly enraging. Type of Voter Suppression Felony Disenfranchisement Franchise meant. So here a felony convicted conviction can come with drastic consequences including the loss of your right to vote. But different states have different laws obviously some band voting only during incarceration some ban voting for life. Some Ban people while on probation or parole others ban people from voting only while incarcerated and some states like Maine, and Vermont don't disenfranchise people with felony convictions at all the fact that these laws vary. So dramatically only adds to the overall confusion that voters face, which is a form of voter suppression itself right because if you don't know where you stand because you have to look at, it's not. Unanimous Law all the state was unanimous. As I did as well so that interesting and ACLU goes on to say due to racial bias in the criminal justice. System Felony disenfranchisement laws disproportionately affect black people who often face harsher sentences than white people for the same exact offense. So it should come to no surprise that many of these laws are rooted in the Jim Crow Era when legislators tried to black. To Block black-americans newly one right to vote by enforcing poll taxes, literacy tests and other barriers that were nearly impossible to me to this day the states with the most extreme disenfranchisement laws have also have long records of suppressing the rights of black people in Iowa system permanent disenfranchisement paired with the most disproportionate rate of black people in the nation has resulted in the. Disenfranchisement of an estimated one in four voting age black men. So that's really interesting. Now, the next form of voter suppression would-be Gerrymandering. So every ten years states redraw district lines based on population data gathered and the census legislators use these district lines to allocate representation in Congress and state legislators when redistricting redistricting is conducted properly, district lines are redrawn to reflect population changes. And racial diversity but too often states use redistricting as a political tool to manipulate the outcome of elections that's called Gerrymandering, a widespread undemocratic practice that stifling the voice of millions of voters. So guys it goes on and on but the ACLU A if you've never checked them out is such a wonderful incredible resource. I mean I'm biased because like I said Nadine Strossen was. Obviously leader of that organization and a prominent voice at NASA, my law school. So I'm partial to them but definitely check them out. Now, what are your thoughts on all of those things before we kind of keep the train moving? It's good to know about our you go there. You really get can get caught off guard with all the people being incarcerated the black men specifically credible and. There was some good information in there. The Mark I said never knew before I thought I thought it was like a federal thing that you couldn't. I didn't. I didn't realize by states. So then technically states could just say it doesn't matter if you're correct convict, you can still sell empower people who have felony convictions eight because they know the history of what it is to be a person of color in the criminal justice system and your wrongly convicted. Years Lawson voting like, what's the? What's the retribution for that and I mean, I don't even understand why you suppress the con- well, I mean, I understand why they do it but I don't think. You committed crime. Now you lost the right to vote I don't see. I think just because he violate crime. Violate law doesn't mean you're completely lawless in nature. It means you made a mistake potentially not necessarily potentially you made a mistake, but are we not a system that gives second chances as American the system of American dreams and pursuing your goals so why be? Maybe if they were committing some mass voting. Yeah, if you. committed. against. The system against booting. Oh Yeah you might be trying to try game but other than that of these are unrelated. Crime or if you did like petty. Link essentially you know mayor would even I mean it's messed up. But even if you did armed robbery, you can't vote now I know why does that? Have to do with the I think. Oranges, here it seems different. Just, because you're willing to do that means you don't know you want to up your. Voice, no longer matters which is very, it's an interesting stance. As a nation that we're taking on that, and so they really need to think about the deeper picture here, and it's like, what are we saying to that popular? Because just because you make a mistake and you enter our criminal justice system, do we not want these people to be active participants when they serve their time? They do what they need to do how are they ever GonNa? A yeah. They're still American citizens. They're still human beings and their voice will always matter has always been they'll be affected by. Iraq. So don't they have a right to choose who's impacting their direct? Pay Taxes like you're. Didn't. Of. Taxes. Right now, how they WANNA roll here very interesting. What do you think we can do to prevent this voter suppression. Absolutely. So either, I really liked what ACLU suggested, which is not too many things but I think it's meaningful each and every that they provided. So I states can enact measures to encourage rather than suppress voting automatic online and same day voter registration encourages participation and reduces chance of error early voting helps people would travel or accessibility concerns participate in the process and states must enforce the protection of the Voting Rights Act, and then on an individualistic level, they suggest the following the best way to fight voter suppression is to vote and here's how to ensure your vote is protected. One speaking to our senators to pass. The are a which would reinstate critical protections against voter suppression left behind was Prime Court. Got after they gutted the voting rights act in two, thousand thirteen, and then of course, knowing your rights, the ACLU has a guy that again when you click on the link will confer dot com you can see a lot of the times whether it's like what you were saying, which is with misinformation or being intimidated. There's things that you need to understand when it comes to what your rights are when you go to vote and if people try to stand in your way or get in your face or whatever. So there's that and then of course, utilizing social media to spread awareness about. Yourself. We spend a lot of time on social media talking about funny cats and dogs and working for Jesus. Are we talking about voting I love a good work I love a good about voting I've seen ads and stuff about that. Okay. But we've seen ads but again is the same type of attention. We're GONNA pay to as as we are when everyone in our community is talking about it right when we can't like same thing when Watt came out, people can't stop talking about what I can't stop thinking about what Lake that's wrong is everything. It's nuts but like you need the for voting song like that. A Walk. In this house. Votes and there's house is out the boats the. Better would. You. Better, go out and vote Y'all get your life together. But either way we really eat up certain can have social content or content just lends for the levity of life but we also camper get that we as a community also speak on things that are not so fun and that don't require working such as suppression. Things that are getting in the way of us being able to have control and have our voice be heard in this political system, which we all agree to what we want and need in this society. Okay I think of like a few concrete things to happen and I think asked to happen on a federal level and we need to have the option for universal Mellon voting also universal online voting on. Let's get together. If, you have a social security number. You should be able to vote what's this register or a Dhaka number you know gear you know there's other numbers to whatever it is but you if you have certain forms that help you pay taxes, you should build a vote. But definitely need to be right. because. You're paying the politicians that you can't let that doesn't make any sense how you electing people. That, you don't have your taxes, but you don't. You can't vote I mean that doesn't make any sense shouldn't even be an issue everybody vote easily and they're. Paying for food bedroom seeming crazy good. Just needs to be a federal law they need to up that suppression act and just make a universal boating. That's to be to be like a universal voting act that makes it. So everybody does have an opportunity to vote and that's an factions. Do we can't get an all like nitpicky and stuff and just because people want to manipulate who actually gets elected has not cool like we need to make it very standardized like standardized tests or needs. Something everybody has access to let's act in this day and age of communication we can't get everybody to vote makes no sense. There's votes in this house. Exactly. Exactly. Go here we go. So what's what's what's the scenario? It's scenario time guys scenario one Ivan walked down to his local polling place where he was promptly greeted by group called morally conscious voters united. They asked if Ivan had voter's registration corn, he did not and was turned away. Is this a form of voter suppression? Yes. It definitely is because Adair are depending upon the state you live in their multiple forms of identification that you can. Provide, maybe he didn't have a voter registration card, but he could have had his State ID card. He could have had his birth certificate. He could have had his passport he could have had also there are some things where you can Kinda like put in a vote, but then it needs to be substantiated at a later date forget the term that's used with that. But there are multiple ways you shouldn't just go to voting Poland. Bill or no possibly. There's different different. Yeah. It might be an Ansi belt but either way he shouldn't have gone. He shouldn't have been turned away and this is a form of voter suppression because by sending him away, that's one less vote that's GonNa Count, and that is not correct. So shame on that or fictional organization, I hope. Yes. The scenarios based off of real life thing that actually happened and it happens the all this is part of voter suppression like you just said he at the nail on us because there's actually groups out there funded by the Republican like packs. The ones they fund these groups that go out in the name of voter fraud prevention. That's what they go by, but they actually do this then they ask them questions. Yeah. Because then asking for that registration car when it wasn't even needed and he was already in the like he didn't even the person didn't even get to enter the polling place they they weren't even allowed to enter. Even though their name was on the books and they're ready to vote. No that legal, it was called the police about. Called somebody the end of the day, he should be entitled to vote so that Yeah. Definitely. Alert guys that's voter suppression though that is not called voter fraud prevention that that is not what that is. You're actually not allowing someone who can vote vote come on now pretty, and it's real stuff scenario to Marianne and egon think they can prevent voting fraud in their district they planned to hire navy seals as poll-watchers who can challenge any voter to prove their legitimacy. Is this a good idea or just voter suppression in disguise definitely voter suppression again, that's a form of intimidation. It sounds like to me you're trying to hire a group of people which I don't even know lake the legal. Consequence of that, but depends on the state, some states allow anybody to be a poll watcher Haas. Yes. That is a real term. There's going to be very, very ability per state however that to me sounds like voter suppression, it sounds really illicit and also just downright like just nasty right because you know obviously navy seals most likely they're going to present in a more serious. Intimidating manner you're not like oh I think I'm going to vote I'm GonNa hire a bunch of elderly citizens and dress them up in. Buddy outfits like. Welcoming people for Christmas just like yeah. Like fear take it. Word Stinks Ed. You're like oh my gosh. Imagine if they had like rifles on their back to O.. Polling Slot. Close and like a cloak Ahmad now. Ready to technically they can. Be Like Oh okay. Okay. Okay Stadium. So. Definitely. Not Cool your thoughts. My thoughts is this is a terrible idea like even if even if someone try to say it's not voter suppression why Navy Seals wasting their time being poll-watchers we don't do that. I know yeah, they might be. Hey, it's. Like we. Don't know what they're paying, but this is definitely terrible. Voting should be something that you like fear to be something that. You decide who? Jesus. Goldbach. Oh I don't know if I want to do this. Let me go home instead like you should have to make a decision. You should just be able to vote and just make your vote count. This is crazy. You can't. But again, this is based off a real situation. Because that's what I liked about real life. Well you know what's sad is that like? Fiction scarier than reality, but it's actually the inverse reality is usually scarier than fiction. which begs the question months going on with human beings. And why are we doing these things that's for Scenario three waylon lives in Philadelphia where black people make up forty one percent of the population a lawyer who has advised the National Republican Senatorial Committee said this is likely the epicenter of voter fraud and efforts need to be made to remove invalid voters is this unsubstantiated claim another case of voter suppression absolutely. So again, you cannot try to identify and or presuppose that there's going to be voter fraud based on the demographics of a population right? So having more black or brown or whatever type of group. Of, people in a community doesn't infer that there's going to be an uptick in voter fraud. So that type of rhetoric in in beuys the idea that we're going to make it harder for people to vote in that community because we think that that population is up to no good which in turn is and black people typically black people, disabled people disenfranchised people are the people who hurt the most from voter suppression. So this is not only voter suppression, but this is also symbolic for some of the racial. Crimes and injustices that are taking place in this country to day. So shame shame shame on that scenario and that lawyer. Yeah. That was very unethical I guess you didn't take the. Take that too serious. And he he would need to be. He would have some interesting because it's happening. The real right now. He's a saying that. All right. There's mostly black people they're they're going to vote for the other parties. So let's just not let them vote. So they don't get a chance to vote the other party office. This is really happening like people like the seems like there's a bunch of Republicans that are scared that everybody's GonNa Vote Democrat and if they are maybe you need to change our ideas. If you WANNA get those people to vote for you exactly does do that maybe that'll help out. Elation then look to the needs of that population. Right if you want the black vote, then you need to speak to the morals and the needs of the black community. It's not about people only voting for party lines. It's about people voting base ideology. So what do black Americans need in this country there are lots of things we can have all episodes about it. That is correct. Yes. Seek to that. Even if they're even if they're going to be like the classic politician and brought to promise, these are are doing speaking just to say not really mean it at least it. That's currently happening in this current. and. Climate to be honest. It's not. From crazy times there another real case to. Absolutely. So in looks like we are at that time again, I know it is really challenging because we could go on and on on this topic. But with that, it is coming to the end of one hundred and fifty eight episode of. Well Dan quite the EPA discussing voter suppression is still happening. You listen to the episode. You know what the answer is. Will we leave you hanging what our next episode will be about Drum Roll please? On our next episode, we will be doing another welcome free storytime call twenty one questions about success. Make. Sure. You follow us on social media to follow along conversation and makes you tune in next week for woke. Everyone's eight to join the conversation AB WOKEN FREE DOT COM if you'd like to be a guest on the show which so many people have hit us up. 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