One Person - No Vote

by Carol Anderson

Book Summary by Brian T. Murphy

Summary: In order to remain relevant in today’s political elections, Republicans, particularly in the past two decades, have unleashed a war on democracy. They are a party that is predominantly white and faces an ever diversifying electorate. To maintain their hold on governing bodies, they have employed three main Jim Crow-style strategies to target black and other minority voters in key states: create strict voter ID laws, remove citizens from voter rolls, and redraw congressional maps to eliminate Democratic competition. All of these assaults on democracy have been carried out under the false narrative of protecting our country against voter fraud, of which very few cases exist. Importantly, the magnitude and frequency of these laws have increased as a result of the 2013 Supreme Court crippling of the Voting Rights Act. As a result of targeted Republican policies, cases of voter disenfranchisement (which number in the millions, mostly African Americans) have been logarithmically disproportional to the few cases of voter fraud have been proven. This internal assault on our democracy has not only significantly revitalized the white nationalist structure in the United States, but through its false justifications and rhetoric has also provided fertile ground for external attacks that intend to weaken and divide our electorate.   

Major themes:

  • Voter ID: Anderson details the Republican strategy: “All that had to happen was for the GOP to reinforce the lie of voter fraud, create the public perception of democracy imperiled, increase the groundswell to "protect the integrity of the ballot box,” require exactly the type of identification that blacks, the poor, the young, and the elderly did not have, and, equally important, mask these acts of aggressive voter suppression behind the nobility of being “civic-minded.” P52

  • Voter Roll Purge: “Attorney General Jeff Sessions focused on ‘voter role maintenance,’ which has been the key to purging millions of American citizens from the voter rolls. The seeming legality of hiding behind the language of the ‘integrity of the ballot box’ and merely following the mandate of the NVRA for ‘voter role maintenance,’ all the while guarding the Fifteenth Amendment, is why purging voter rolls is really ‘undercover racism.’ ” p95

  • Gerrymandering: “Four of the justices were not persuaded. Led by Justice Antonin Scalia, they asserted in Vieth v. Jubelirer (2004) that partisan gerrymandering was beyond the scope of any judicial scrutiny. It was a political issue and not one where the court could insert itself…That decision combined with the increasing diversity of the cities, the mounting whiteness of the suburbs and rural areas, the rightward shift in the Republican party, the role of dark money and the Citizens United decision in elections, and the rise of powerful computer mapping software and analytics created a perfect gerrymandering storm that has not only affected state legislatures but also determined the ideological configuration and policy stances of the U.S. Congress, and, thus, the nation.” P104

  • “The subtle but destructive tinkering with the very sinews of the nation’s elections has shredded the constitutional logic of ‘one person, one vote’. Whether it was reconfiguring congressional district boundaries, removing polling stations from minority neighborhoods, reducing the dates for early voting, or ratcheting up the standards for those conducting voter registration drives, all those little, virtually unnoticeable until-it’s-too-late bureaucratic tricks had major consequences. They inflated congressional representation to create an impregnable majority that was also impervious to the will of the voters.” P97

  • “The lie of voter fraud has embedded itself into the American imagination and has proved resistance to facts, studies, court cases, and reports proving otherwise. As the tentacles of the lie continue to sink deeper and deeper into our democracy, they threaten to choke the very life out of the body politic and, in the end, severely weaken the United States…Years of gerrymandering, requiring IDs that only certain people have, illegally purging citizens from the voter rolls, and starving minority precincts of resources to create untenable conditions at the polls have exposed our electoral jugular and made the United States vulnerable to Russian attacks on our democracy.” P157

  • “Republican strongholds in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Kansas, Wisconsin, Michigan, North Dakota, and Texas unleashed purges, poll closures, uncounted ballots, election fraud, voting machines rationed as if there was a famine, and outright threats of state-sanctioned power in order to shut down millions of Americans demanding democracy.” P160

Chapter 1. A History of Disenfranchisement. 

  • Anderson describes the Mississippi plan, “poll taxes, literacy tests, understanding clauses, newfangled voter registration rules…” designed to prevent blacks from voting. Although it had an effect on poor white voters, it had a devastating effect on the black community: “African American registered voters in Alabama plunged from 180,000 to fewer than 3,000 in just three years.” P3-4

  • “During World War II, for example, Louisiana spent almost four times as much per capita on white elementary school children as on African American students…In addition, for most of the twentieth century, many Jim Crow schools systems did not have high schools for African-Americans. That set the stage for…” literacy tests that prevented the majority of blacks from voting. P5

  • Each of the eleven states in the former confederacy adopted a poll tax. The tax was cumulative, meaning a person wishing to vote would have to pay the tax for each prior year of not voting. This was in the 1940s. “…the National Committee to Abolish the Poll Tax estimated that 10 million Americans were denied the right to vote because they simply could not pay.” P9-10

  • Is important to note that blacks did not have the say (vote) at a time when major policies that builds America’s middle class were instituted.

  • Nice summary: “…denying the vote to millions of American citizens was so deeply rooted in the fabric of the nation, twisted into the mechanics of government, and embedded in the political strategy and thinking of powerful government officials that this clear affront to democracy was not going to change on its own. Fortunately, local resistance and global condemnation combined to take America to the brink of democracy.” P17

  • Anderson lays out the context of these laws in the middle 19th-century: “The dilemma was clear. Domestic politics and the disproportionate power of the Southern Democrats demanded that the federal government fully capitulate to Jim Crow, while foreign-policy, and the need to woo the emerging Third World nations and defeat the Soviets, required that racial discrimination end once and for all.” P19

  • “The Civil Rights act (1957), while seemingly a landmark piece of legislation, was actually a paper tiger that had no ability to protect the right to vote.” P19-20

  • “The Voting Rights act (VRA) passed with overwhelming majority in the House of Representatives (328–74) and the Senate (79–18). Johnson signed the bill into law on August 6, 1965…The VRA was nevertheless a seismic shift in thought, action, and execution for the U.S. government when compared with the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and it’s equally enfeebled companion legislation of 1960…As might have been expected, that potential for an actual thriving, viable democracy was the threat that set the stage for a backlash that would gain momentum and velocity in the ensuing decades, all the way to 2013, when the act will be largely gutted.” P22-23

  • Anderson describes the depths to which white’s prevented the black vote. To resist Brown, “…they shutdown school districts throughout Virginia, funneled tax dollars into all-white private academies so that white children could continue their education, and provided no educational opportunities whatsoever for black students. This went on for years…after that, the state changed its laws so that those who were illiterate would not be able to vote.” P24

  • Anderson makes this point over several pages, that “… the reason the Voting Rights Act worked was the advent of vigorous federal intervention, not because the racism that required the law in the first place had stopped.” P27

  • Note: The GOP built its strength on “wooing” Southern Democrats into their parts. Its entire modern foundation rests on racism.

  • P34-35 is a detailed description of how Jeff Sessions used racism to drive antidemocratic policies from his office and preserve white power.

  • Anderson discusses the 2000 Bush v Gore election, arguably a judiciary coup. “Secretary of State Katherine Harris had used faulty data to purge approximately twenty thousand names, mostly of blacks and Hispanics, from the voter roles…There was also a limited number of working voting machines in polling stations that had sizable minority populations. In some areas, none of the machines tallied even one vote for a presidential candidate. Not one…Gore therefore requested a hand recount. And that’s when the momentum swung, as Bush’s margin of victory begin to shrink rapidly, from 1,784 votes to 327, then to 154. It was at this nail-biting moment that the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in, overruling Florida’s highest court, and ordered that the recount stop. Five conservative justices, who often denounced what they called an activist judiciary, and federal overreach in general, now ruled that Florida did not have the right to count the ballots in the election held in its own state. In fact, no entity could tally those votes.” Obviously, this philosophy is completely contrary to Republican doctrine. P35-36

  • “Therefore, 2016 was the first federal election in fifty years held without the protection of the Voting Rights Act. As a result, the rash of voter ID laws, purged voting rolls, redrawn district boundaries, and closed and moved polling places were the quiet and barely detected fire that burned through the 2016 presidential election, evaporating millions of votes and searing those who haven’t even been under the original VRA. In Wisconsin, for example, Black voting rates plummeted from a high of 78 percent in 2012 to less than 50 percent in 2016. In Milwaukee County, which is overwhelmingly African American, fifty thousand fewer votes were cast in a state that Donald Trump won by only twenty-seven thousand ballots.” P42

  • When analyzing the 14% drop off in the black vote in Georgia, polling expert Nate Silver said “It’s puzzling only if you don’t understand how the various methods of voter suppression actually work.” P43

Chapter 2. Voter ID. 

  • In the 2000 election, “The St. Louis City Board of Elections have not only illegally purged nearly fifty thousand names from the voter rolls in key Democratic precincts but had also failed, as the law required, to notify the people the board had just disenfranchised…Democrats filed for an injunction…” that would allow those voters (who showed up and were told they were not registered) to cast their vote. A judge agreed, though Republicans eventually spun this clear case of election board wrongdoing “into a torrent of accusations against the overwhelmingly black residents in St. Louis and the Democrats.” They touted this as election fraud despite the fact they were the ones who were breaking the law. “It was, instead, an illegal purge of 49,589 eligible voters by the Board of Elections.” P46-47

  • “In 1992, for example, nonwhite voters made up 13 percent of the electorate; by 2012 they made up 28 percent.” P47

  • P49 details how the 2000 election was stolen for Bush. As Gore was gaining ground in a recount, Carpenter intervened (as directed by Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris and Jeb Bush employee Mac Stipanovich). Tactics included denying a full recount (“voting machines had to be completely broken, not simply malfunctioning”), moving up deadlines for manual counts, altered rules that determine whether an absentee ballot was valid (these rules changed based on whether the county was Republican or Democrat leaning). “…as a result, George W. Bush, although losing the nationwide popular vote, carried Florida by 537 votes, won the Electoral College, and, with a very key assist by the U.S. Supreme Court, became the forty-third president of the United States.” P49

  • Anderson detailed the Republican strategy that worked: “The final, and perhaps most important, lesson, was to lie. Lie often, loudly, boldly, unashamedly, and consistently. Lie until it drowned out the truth. Lie until no amount of evidence could prove otherwise. Lie until there was no other raining narrative. Just lie.” P50

  • More on Republican strategy: “In 2005, ‘Hearne was pushing allegations about voter fraud in St. Louis from 2000 that have been thoroughly debunked in 2002. It didn’t matter. Republican voters came to believe there was a vote fraud epidemic.’ ” p54

  • In 2006 Indiana passed the Senate Enrolled Act 483, which centered on voter ID. The problem with this legislation was that’s it was "a solution in search of a problem.” There have been no documented cases of voter fraud in Indiana in history, and no one was ever charged with the crime. This clearly exposes the intentions of the legislator. All Democrats voted against it, all Republicans voted for it. Similar voter ID laws were implemented in Georgia (H.B. 244) that banned twelve types of identification, used mostly by low-income, thus predominantly black, voters. Even though it was determined to be a return to the Jim Crow era where blacks were targeted by anti-voting campaigns, political appointee John Tanner overruled attorneys and made the law a reality. P60-62

  • “In 2011 and 2012, therefore, the flood gates for voter ID laws opened and “180 bills to restrict who could vote and how” simultaneously appeared in forty-one states. This volume of bills targeting a single cause “hadn’t been seen…since the end of Reconstruction”, when similar measures were undertaken. P63

  • “The point was to eliminate the voters who are resistant to right-wing policies and, thereby, have a much smoother road to re-create the civil rights order of the early 1950s and the economic environment of unregulated capitalism of the 1920s. Two key U.S. Supreme Court decisions greased the path. One, Shelby County v. Holder, made the Voting Rights Act as ineffective as the 1957 Civil Rights Act. Prior to this ruling, as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s dissent noted, ‘between 1982 and 2006, DOJ objections blocked over 700 voting changes based on a determination that the changes were discriminatory.’… the other key Supreme Court decision was Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010), which ruled that the laws borne out of the Watergate scandal that limited corporate donations to political campaigns actually violated businesses’ right to free speech… the flood of hundreds of millions of virtually untraceable dollars, so-called dark money, poured into the coffers of the GOP while the counterbalance of a majority of citizens who wanted a nation more vibrant, more inclusive, and less discriminatory came under vigorous assault by the rash of ALEC-drafted voter suppression bills. Now that the Republicans controlled most of the states’ electoral machinery, as well as Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court, they continued to saturate the air with the lie of massive voter fraud…” p63-64

  • Alabama: Anderson details more legislative efforts to prevent blacks from voting: “Governor Robert Bentley…‘closed 31 driver’s license offices in mostly black counties.’ ” He was purportedly saving money ($200,000 from a budget ranging from $100 to 200 million). “While the financial savings were meager, the impact on access to the ballot box was profound…‘more than 100,000 registered voters in Alabama can’t vote because they don’t have the photo identification required by the state.’… with no viable public transportation, no access to vehicles, and the closest DMV sometimes nearly fifty miles away and open for only a few days a month, many Black Belt County residents were simply and completely disenfranchised.” p67-68

  • North Carolina: African American voter registration had increased by 51.1 percent in the state and blacks also had a higher voter turnout ‘rate than white registered voters in both the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections.’ Republican legislators, therefore, gathered the data on the types of identification blacks had and didn’t have, then tailored the list of vote-worthy IDs to favor whites. Their actions were so brazen that the federal court ruled that the law was targeted at African-Americans ‘with almost surgical precision.’ The Fourth Circuit also blasted North Carolina’s voter identification legislation as designed to ‘impose cures for problems that did not exist.’ ” p68

  • When the Shelby County v. Holder decision happened, Texas passed S.B. 14 two hours after the decision! “The law skewed acceptable government issued photo IDs to those ‘which white people are more likely to carry,’ such as guns licenses. It made driver’s licenses the virtual Holy Grail of IDs because nearly one-third of the state’s counties, including some of those that are heavily minority, do not have DMV’s.” Republicans even removed language that would have reimbursed citizens from traveling to get their license (in Texas up to 200 miles away). This is a poll tax. These actions are calculated. Not at all based on an existing problem, but on surgical precision of restricting minorities and poor from voting booths. P69

  • Gist: “The goal of all GOP voter ID laws is to reduce significantly the demographic and political impact of a growing share of the American electorate. To diminish the ability of blacks, Latinos, and Asians, as well as the poor and students to choose government representatives and the types of policy they support. Unfortunately, it’s working.” Anderson follows with stats comparing states that have and do not have voter ID laws. The gap is staggering.

Chapter 3. Voter Roll Purge. 

  • Anderson describes the Congress’ 1993 National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), which over a few years increased voter registration by ~3.3 million, passed only if demands from Republicans were included. “…they insisted that the law had to require routine maintenance, scrubbing even, of the voter roles…It all sounded so reasonable and so mundane. Except it wasn’t. That innocuous language… became yet another weapon in the Republicans’ arsenal to disenfranchise as many citizens as possible.” Anderson outlines how Republican secretaries of state have ignored language in the law and purged voters for, of all reasons, not voting. P73—74

  • Harrowing statistic: “From 2011 to 2016, Secretary of State Jon Husted [OH] has wiped more than two million people from the state’s list of registered voters. Most important, 1.2 million of those have been eliminated solely because they voted infrequently.” Of course, law, in addition to common sense, states that voters can’t be removed for voting infrequently. Republicans argued that voting wasn’t important to those people, however “failure to vote is not a legal, viable reason to purge someone from the voter rolls.” P74-75

  • “Secretary of State Jon Husted [OH] and his Republican predecessor Kenneth Blackwell have, for example, limited the number of polling stations for early voting in urban areas, thus creating untenable four-to-five-hour wait times in cities. These election officials have also tossed tens of thousands of absentee ballots, supposedly because they were cast on incorrect paper stock or had a spelling error.” P77

  • Anderson details the war on democracy waged by Georgia’s Secretary of State Brian Kemp. “… even as its population climbed, its number of registered voters since 2012 has actually dropped.” “He has displayed a tendency to consistently err on the side of disenfranchisement: such as “when his office lost voter registrations for 40,000 Georgians, the vast majority of whom happened to be people of color”; and when his office leaked the social security numbers and driver’s license data of voters not once but twice; and when he refused to upgrade the voting machines throughout the state that had received an F rating because they were easily hackable and ‘haven’t been updated since 2005 and run on Windows 2000.’…He actually launched a criminal inquiry into the registration of 85,000 new voters, ‘many of them minorities,’ but ‘found problems with only 25 percent of the registrants, and’ not surprisingly, after all the time, money, and publicity, ‘no charges were filed.’ ” p78 “A decade later, as the Washington Post reported, despite all the baying at the moon, there were no cases prosecuted in Georgia for voter impersonation fraud...Just as the Mississippi Plan in the 1890s used the poll tax to identify the characteristics of those the state did not want to vote, George’s twist of the law does something similar.” P79

  • [continued] “In March 2007, using the specter of voter fraud and the cover of the NVRA’s requirement for voter role maintenance, Georgia insisted that the names in its voter registration database match those in the Department of Motor Vehicles in every way…a missing ‘e’ in the name Carole, a hyphen where one was not supposed to be, an errant ‘y’ instead of an ‘i’ in Nikki, or any of other numerous typographical errors that can happen when two large bureaucracies are processing millions of applications. All this had a horrific effect on voter registration, especially for minorities. African Americans, who were one-third of the applicants, accounted for 64 percent of the tens of thousands of voter registrations that Georgia’s secretary of state canceled or ‘placed in ‘pending status’ ’ for data mismatches between 2013 and 2016. Meanwhile, ‘Asian Americans and Latinos were more than six times as likely as white voters to have their applications halted.’ ” p80-81

  • Anderson details the antidemocratic work of Kris Kobach, a “ ‘key architect behind many of the nation’s anti-voter and anti-immigration policies.’ ” His mentor (Samuel Huntington) was racist and anti-immigrant. He served in the Bush Administration DOJ and as secretary of state in Kansas. “Once he was at the helm, Kobach’s first electoral battle cry was a menacing thrust at the ‘massive’ and ‘pervasive’ voter fraud that had purportedly engulfed Kansas.” P82 provides a few details, though focuses mainly on his large nationwide impact. “…in the 2016 election, Kobach’s office, for instance, rejected more ballots then even Florida did, despite Florida’s population being seven times larger. That sledgehammer approach makes clear that Kobach’s goal is not to get it right. The goal is to tilt the electorate to the right.” “Kobach, therefore, suspended the right to vote of 35,314 Kansans because they could not produce ‘proof of U.S. citizenship.’ More than 12,000 of those he simply purged outright because the disparate access to citizenship documents played right into Kobach’s belief about who is American and who is not, and thus who has the right to vote.” “His most devastating weapon to date, however, has been Interstate Crosscheck, which he has nurtured and promoted as an important device to eliminate voter fraud from the American political landscape.” P82-85

  • Anderson details the grueling facts and implications of Kobach’s Interstate Crosscheck system. “Since the database’s launch, 7.2 million voters have been flagged as suspect. Based on the individual lists the states received back from Kobach, massive purges have wiped more than one million American citizens from the electoral map.” In the 2016 election, states used Crosscheck to purge voters from the system in Arizona (~271,000), Michigan (~450,000), North Carolina (600,000). “The staggering numbers fueled the narrative of massive, rampant voter fraud; of voter roles so unkept that the dead had ample opportunity to rise from the grave and tilt and election…But up close, neither the lists nor the database could withstand scrutiny. The problem is twofold. First, despite the hype and the marketing, the program does not actually match on every parameter. Not all states require the same information that Crosscheck uses to purge the roles. Social security numbers, for example, are rarely used. Ohio doesn’t bother with a person’s middle name either. Suffixes rarely make it in, as well. As a result, it believes that James Willie Brown is the same voter as James Arthur Brown, as James Clifford Brown, as James Lynn Brown. The possibility for error is exponential. In Georgia alone there are nearly 400 James Browns. And in North Carolina, the supposedly more than 35,000 illegal voters simply evaporated when the state hired an ex-FBI agent to ferret them out and bring them to justice. He found ‘exactly zero’ double voters from the Crosscheck list. In fact, researchers at Stanford, Harvard, Yale, and the University of Pennsylvania discovered that Crosscheck has an error rate of more than 99 percent…it is the program ‘infected with racial and ethnic bias.’” Anderson then discusses the bias Crosscheck gives toward minority names: “…whites are underrepresented by 8 percent on the purge lists, while African Americans are overrepresented by 45 percent; Asian Americans by 31 percent, and Hispanics by 24 percent.” Investigative journalist Greg Palast commented on the GOP effort to skew election results: “…they’re not going to use white sheets to keep away black voters. Today they’re using spreadsheets.” P86-88

  • The history of this system is well documented, and given the near zero rate of voter fraud compared to the number of voters that are disenfranchised as a result, this represents a monstrous attack on democracy. “Kobach’s track record, therefore, set off alarm bells when he stepped out of a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump carrying some papers that were partially visible with talking points about how to restrict access to the polls under the new regime. Papers, by the way, that he consistently lied about and refused to produce until a court order and one-thousand dollar fine forced him to reveal that he proposed altering the NVRA to require proof of citizenship.”

  • Pence tried to escalate this system of disenfranchisement (Commission on Election Integrity): “Democrats were also blindsided by the commission’s request for data that was sent to all fifty secretaries of state. In addition to voters’ names, dates of birth, and the last four digits of the Social Security numbers, the Pence Commission wanted party affiliation and voting patterns for every voter on the rolls, as well as information on any felony convictions. This would have been Crosscheck on anabolic steroids…The backlash to the request for voter information was therefore intense… the Immediate response was a 2,150 percent increase in citizens in Denver canceling their voter registration, and there were similar cancellations in Arizona, Florida, North Carolina.” Surprisingly, this infringement on privacy went too far for Republicans and did not garner enough support. P90

  • “In 2016, one in thirteen African Americans had lost their right to vote because a felony conviction, compared with one in fifty-six of every non-black voter. The major villain in this set piece is the War on Drugs, which was a targeted hit on black people. African Americans statistically do drugs no more and any other racial or ethnic group but are imprisoned for drug charges at almost six times the rate of whites.” P93

  • Ex-offenders in Florida can apply to have their voting rights restored. The predecessor of Republican Governor Rick Scott “ ‘restored rights to 155,315 ex-offenders’ over a four-year span. Since 2011, however, Scott has approved only 2,340 cases.” Disgusting.

Chapter 4. Rigging the Rules.  

  • Anderson opens by describing Karl Rove’s serious escalation of past Democratic efforts to “…make the outcome of elections a foregone conclusion…How do we let candidates identify and choose their own voters instead of the other way around?” p96-97

  • “In 2016, the Economist Intelligence Unit, which had evaluated 167 nations on sixty different indicators, reported that the United States had slipped into the category of a ‘flawed democracy’…The deft art of gerrymandering, ‘the nastiest form of politics that there is,’ is key to understanding the decline of democracy in America.” p97

  • “Two distinct types of gerrymandering emerged on the American landscape. One was racial; the other, partisan. Both were lethal…racial gerrymandering is designed to create an all-white power structure virtually impervious to the rights, claims, and public policy needs of minorities.” P98

  • “Four of the justices were not persuaded. Led by Justice Antonin Scalia, they asserted in Vieth v. Jubelirer (2004) that partisan gerrymandering was beyond the scope of any judicial scrutiny. It was a political issue and not one where the court could insert itself…That decision combined with the increasing diversity of the cities, the mounting whiteness of the suburbs and rural areas, the rightward shift in the Republican party, the role of dark money and the Citizens United decision in elections, and the rise of powerful computer mapping software and analytics created a perfect gerrymandering storm that has not only affected state legislatures but also determined the ideological configuration and policy stances of the U.S. Congress, and, thus, the nation.” P104

  • “Control of the legislature and the governor’s office in 26 states, especially after the completion of the 2010 Census, gave the GOP the authority to draw congressional district boundaries at will…Some Republicans, like those in North Carolina, brought in their top mapmaker, Tom Hofeller, who provided ‘the most cravenly political results… with calculating prudence.’ “ Hofeller converted a 7-6 Democratic majority in Congress to a 10-3 GOP majority. Similar results happened in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Georgia, among other states. P105

  • 2016 Pew Research Center: 2% of Republican voters are African American; Democrats: 57% white, 21% black, 12% Hispanic, 3% Asian, 5% other. P107

  • In Texas, “whites are 45 percent of the state’s population but control 70 percent of the congressional districts.” P108

  • This is not democracy: “After gaining control of the Wisconsin legislature in the 2010 election, the GOP set out to ‘create a map for state assembly elections that would guarantee them large legislative majorities even with a minority of the statewide vote.’ A handful of Republican legislators and aides virtually sequestered themselves in a hotel room working diligently over the course of four months to ‘engineer maps with the aid of sophisticated’ social science statistical techniques. During this process, the mapmakers excluded all Democrats from participation and ‘even rank-and-file Republicans were largely left in the dark, shown only information relating to their specific districts and only after signing nondisclosure agreements…There would be no scenario, regardless of the votes, in which the Republicans would not come out dominating the state legislature…In the 2012 election, although Obama carried the state by seven points and Democrats received more than 50 percent of the vote, they garnered only 39 percent of the seats in the Gen. assembly.” P109

  • This is madness. The WI district court found (in a 2-1 decision) that the state violated its citizens’ Fourteenth Amendment rights. Anderson then detailed Neil Gorsuch’s contempt for the court decision and attempts to meddle in the political affairs of a state. When addressed in the Supreme Court, “The conservatives on the bench had dug in behind Scalia’s claim in Vieth that partisan gerrymandering was not justiciable. And that it would sully the court to insert itself in the political process.” p115

  •  “The damage to democracy is exacerbated by another feature of partisan gerrymandering: there are deliberately fewer competitive districts. Not surprisingly, then, in the 2016 election, 97 percent of incumbents in the U.S. House of Representatives won reelection.” P116

  • Anderson introduces a second theme to subvert democracy: “The undermining of democracy is also achieved in the way long, seemingly interminable lines at the voting booth have been artificially created.” P117

  • “In 2012, on average, blacks had to wait in line twice as long as whites. In the ’10 Florida precincts with the longest delays…almost 70 percent of voters were Latino or black.’ ” p117

  • “Minority neighborhoods, despite their population density, have been allocated significantly fewer resources by election officials. There are fewer poll workers. Fewer operable machines. And fewer opportunities to vote, as Republican legislatures, such as those in Ohio, Indiana, Florida, and North Carolina, have slashed the days and times available for early voting.” P117-118

Chapter 5. The Resistance.  

  • Alabama’s disgusting targeting of blacks: “In 2011, the Alabama legislature rushed through a strict voter ID law that eliminated utility bills, bank statements, in other documents as viable proof of residency…That bill, not surprisingly, lay dormant for years. But a day after the Supreme Court came down with its decision gutting the Voting Rights Act, Alabama implemented this law–one that never could have passed the VRA’s litmus test.” Further details about Alabama’s law are disgusting. “African Americans make up 71 percent of 'the State’s federal public housing residents.’ And yet the key government-issued photo identification for those who lived in public housing was not on the ‘approved’ list for voter IDs…Those qualified voter IDs could be obtained at the Department of Motor Vehicles, but then Governor Robert Bentley closed the DMV locations in the six counties where African Americans made up more than 70 percent of the population, and he shuttered the DMVs in another eleven counties where blacks made up more than half of the residents. The impact was devastating…Alabama issued only 5,070 voter cards out of the quarter of a million its own calculations estimated were actually needed, and the link on the secretary of state’s website ‘directing voters to places where they could get a free ID led to a blank page.’…As if that wasn’t enough, by August 2017 [secretary of state John] Merrill purged the voter rolls, ‘putting 340,162 people…on inactive voter status.’…Finally, in addition to all other methods of voter suppression, the state had gerrymandered districts that were so obviously racially biased that the federal courts eventually slapped them down.” P124-125

  • P125-148: Anderson details extensive grassroots efforts to turn out the black vote. The end result was a loss for Roy Moore, though he lost only by 20,000 votes, despite being a pedophile. Regardless, it is sad that such extensive efforts are necessary simply to retain the right to vote.

Conclusion. At the Crossroads of Half Slave, Half Free.  

  • Russians capitalized on decades-long GOP fearmongering and built off their narrative to further divide us. P150 details efforts by the Russians to claim that minorities are using fake identities to commit voter fraud.

  • “In 2017, ‘99 bills to limit access to the ballot have been introduced in 31 states… and more states have enacted new voting restrictions in 2017 than in 2016 and 2015 combined.. ” p153

  • In 2015, Oregon pioneered automatic voter registration (AVR)…Under AVR, Oregon added 68,583 new voters in just six months.” This increased to 222,197 new voters by the end of July 2016. “And equally impressive, it’s voter turnout rate in the 2016 election increased from 64 to 68 percent, ‘more than any other state…’ ” p153

Afterward. "We are Going to Warrior Up".  

  • When Native Americans rallied to exercise their voting prowess and elect a representative (Heidi Heitkamp, US Senate, 2012, N. Dakota), the GOP response was fiercely undemocratic. “First, in 2013…it passed a law that specified only three types of identification would be acceptable to vote–a North Dakota driver’s license, a North Dakota identification card, or a tribal ID.” In follow-up bills, Republicans in N. Dakota “directly targeted Native Americans. Using the smokescreen of preventing voter fraud, the legislature now required IDs to have street addresses. There were 580,000 voting-age-eligible residences in North Dakota and 70,000 didn’t have any of the state-approved IDs to vote. In fact, Native Americans were twice as likely as other residents in North Dakota to not have the IDs. And, reservations, where 60% of indigenous people in North Dakota lived, did not have street addresses for their homes.” P161

  • “As the Brennan Center reported, in the two years before the 2016 presidential election, sixteen million voters were wiped off the rolls. This wasn’t routine or normal. The eliminations, it turns out, were at a substantially higher rate than they were before the Supreme Court’s Shelby County v Holder decision. In fact, the ‘increase in purged voters was most significant in parts of the country with a history of racial discrimination’ and that were previously under the preclearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act.” P170

  • Another example of Brian Kemp’s attack on democracy in Georgia: “During 2017, he erased 668,000 voters from rolls, most of whom were removed because they had ostensibly left the state. But a further analysis demonstrated that 340,134 of them were ‘wrongly purged.’ They still lived in Georgia and had never moved…From 2016 to 2018 he eliminated more than 10% of George’s voters from rolls. Three months before the midterm election, his office purged an additional eighty-five thousand.” P172

  • P178 details Pence’s Electoral Integrity Commission and their efforts to get private information of voters and their political affiliations. I wrote “This is fascist shit.”

  • P180-183 details one of the few cases of voter fraud…by Republicans! In a North Carolina Congressional race (R-Mark Harris v D-Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr), Harris’ campaign led a coordinated effort to steal votes. The Republican party offered an insane response, particularly in context of the non-existent voter fraud they passed legislation to stop: “ ‘the reality is that there aren’t enough ballots in question to change the outcome of the election.’ ” Of course, this was untrue.

  • Another example of Brian Kemp’s attack on democracy in Georgia: “In total, Cobb County Lost access to 550 voting machines; Fulton, 700; and DeKalb, 585. As journalist Charles P. Pierce noted, Kemp ‘locked up the voting machines from important democratic counties…Not surprisingly, ‘all three counties impacted by the shortage favored Democrat Stacy Abrams over Republican Brian Kemp.’ ” p186

  • More Kemp: “It only happened when those who lived in predominantly African American neighborhoods voted via the machines–the ones that were vulnerable and susceptible to hacking–on election day. Then their votes evaporated. All 127,000 of them. Just gone. Whereas the typical drop off vote rate from governor to lieutenant governor is 0.8 percent, in these black neighborhoods it was a staggering 13 percent…In the face of this conundrum, the state–Brian Kemp and his elected successor as George’s Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger–saw no need to investigate. Meanwhile, the Democrat, Sarah Riggs Amico, lost her election bid by 123,000 votes.” P188

Think for Yourself. Dissolve your Allegiances.