Thursday, November 22, 2007

Another great moment in voter suppression

Once again the conservatives prove that while they cannot run government and cannot get elected in fair elections where every valid voter votes, when they put their minds to it they can do an excellent job of keeping likely Democratic voters from casting their ballots. Mark Kleiman points out that:
"They've very skilfully arranged that hundreds of thousands of citizenship applications filed last summer won't be approved in time for the new citizens to vote. Remember, this crew makes no actual distinction between campaigning and governing: everything is geared toward winning the next election."
But if you know anyone going through the immigration/greencard/citizenship process or who is looking for fairness in the deportation process, you will recognize what the Republicans have been doing.

In Texas the busiest immigration office was and remains the one in Mesquite, TX. Back when Dick Armey was House Majority Leader, The Mesquite office of what was then the Immigration and Naturalization Service had ten people processing paperwork for visas, Green cards and citizenship. Republican Congressman Armey very carefully cut six of those jobs from INS budget, creating the longest backlogs for processing the paperwork in the U.S.

That action had the dual effect of reducing the number of legal immigrants and reducing the number of new citizens (who mostly vote Democratic, since they know who to blame for their difficulties.)

The Washington Post's article presents the Bush administration's excuse:
Bush administration officials said yesterday that they had anticipated applicants would rush to file their paperwork to beat a widely publicized fee increase that took effect July 30, but did not expect the scale of the response. The backlog comes just months after U.S. officials failed to prepare for tougher border security requirements that triggered months-long delays for millions of Americans seeking passports.

Before the fee hike, citizenship cases typically took about seven months to complete. Now, immigration officials can take five months or more just to acknowledge receipt of applications from parts of the country and will take 16 to 18 months on average to process applications filed after June 1, according to officials from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is part of DHS. Such a timeline would push many prospective citizens well past voter-registration deadlines for the 2008 primaries and the general elections.
That amounts to the Republican version of "The dog ate my homework." This backlog was planned. The conservatives then did what conservatives always do with government when a problem is anticipated: nothing.

In this case, doing nothing is very effective and well-planned voter suppression. It goes hand-in-glove with the effort by Florida Republicans to prevent likely Democratic voters from getting registered to vote.

They can't do anything else effective with government, but the Republicans are quite good at making sure that likely Democrats either aren't allowed to vote, or that their votes are not counted.

No comments: