Here is an excerpt from an the Boston Occupier describing modern day voter disenfranchise methods. #2, just behind Voter ID laws, is restricting the time and place of voting.
I still maintain that Richland County's voting debacle was just gross incompetence. We CAN NOT stand for anything that resembles anything but complete and fair elections. That is why we must act on forcing Lillian McBride to resign from her office as Director of Elections in Richland County.
The full article is HERE.
Restricting the time and locations of voting
Some legislators utilize the tactic of selectively reducing the times and places where citizens can legally vote in order to shrink the voting population. If fewer people are able to vote, or voting becomes too inconvenient for many people, then the voting pool can be shrunk without any overt disenfranchisement.
Through the closing of voting locations, or the under-supplying of selected locations with voting stations, partisan officials can significantly affect the vote. A lack of functioning voting machines in a voting district often leads to huge lines and sometimes even the complete shutdown of the polling place. Officials who wish to manipulate the vote through the allocation of resources simply under-supply the districts which are likely to vote against their candidate; this allows them to keep up the pretense of a fair election, but to weight the vote in favor of their interests.
As voting day is not a holiday in the United States, long wait times at the polls are particularly damaging to poor workers who are unable to get significant amounts of time off. Long lines at the voting booth act as a de-facto poll tax, and those who are unable to leave their jobs for long periods of time, if not take the day off, bear the brunt of this disenfranchisement.
In addition to selectively manipulating voting resources in districts, politicians can manipulate early voting hours in order to reduce certain populations’ ability to vote. The poor, disabled, and elderly find early voting to be extremely advantageous, as early voting reduces the amount of time and effort that must be put into voting. Elderly and disabled Americans, who would be physically unable to wait for hours at the polls, find it far easier to exercise their right to vote when they are allowed to utilize early voting. Poor Americans often find early voting advantageous because it allows them to vote during the weekend, thus avoiding the loss of a full day’s work that would have resulted from waiting at the polls on election day.
Some African American churches have adopted the effective and socially beneficial practice of organizing voting drives during the Sunday before elections (souls to the polls); this practice is both highly laudable, and extremely good at getting those who would otherwise be unable to vote to the polls. Through their prominent connection to their community, these churches are able to organize large numbers of African American voters (most of whom support Democrats) to vote. If early voting is not available, efforts by these groups to organize voting drives—such as those by African American churches—are not possible.
By reducing early voting and absentee voting in the months before the 2012 election, conservative politicians have attempted to reduce the minority, poor and elderly populations which vote in the next election. Mike Turzai, the Republican House majority leader of Pennsylvania, described the true goals of the voter identification movement perfectly when he said: “Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.” Most politicians aren’t as honest (or simply loose-lipped) as Rep. Turzai, but it is virtually inarguable that the primary motivations for voter ID laws are based in voter suppression.
Mia McLeod released in her latest scalding, no holds barred newsletters another dose of reality.
The biggest revelation was disclosing some of the goings on in a back room meeting of the county delegation.
"During our meeting, the delegation chair advised us that the elections director had, in fact, tendered her resignation letter (effective on January 8, 2013). And although Rep. Rutherford accurately conveyed that information to the media, delegation leaders took issue with the messenger and his timing, promptly advising McBride (only moments later) to deny that she had resigned. Today, he emailed a letter advising that she now has no intention of doing so.
This is yet another classic example of the Old Guard’s style. It’s their way, in their time, by their rules. The only problem is those of us who refuse to play by them. Sadly, even Ms. McBride seems complicit in these senseless and shameful games they play, leaving little doubt as to whether she’s a victim or perpetrator. "
Rep James Smith prefiled legislation designed to ensure that the Richland County election breakdown NEVER happens again. It sets minimum standards and establishes training on how to run an election responsibly. However it continues the practice of using the legislative delegation to oversee County's Board of Election and Voter Registration.
Overall the McBride Bill, H-3198, adds a few key requirements
- Adds greater oversight to the Executive Director of the State Election Commission
- Allows State Election Commission to establish clear qualifications and training for Election Directors
- Cleans up wording on who will appoint election commissioners
First minimum qualifications and training are positive change. This will those that have no experience in running elections making key errors due to ignorance of the law and inexperience. McBride just rubber-stamped a error that left hundreds of voting machines in a warehouse causing up to 6 hr waiting times.
The State Executive Director will be required to be "consulted" about evaluation, hiring and pay of the county head of elections. Not sure what consulted means. Posed that as a follow up question to Rep. Smith.
What I don't like is that the County Legislative Delegation, NOT the county council, will be able to appoint the members of the County Election Commission. I'm a small government guy. This task should be performed by the county council. These are elected officials that should control county specific matters. This is a continued encroachment on home rule in this writers opinion.
Richland County Legislative Delegation approved McBride with NO qualifications running an election. They appointed the Election Commission that failed to provide oversight. They will never be able to provide as much attention as County Council to local County matters. Nor should they. Our legislators require full time attention representing out interests on state wide issues.
This is no change though, just a continuation of what is already in place. I would hate to see the positive aspects of the bill derailed by the portrayed stripping of state legislature power. This is part of a larger culture that has to be remedied in SC.
This is a great jumping off point for Election Reform. Its something that is measured and passable even with the limited functionality of legislature.