Salon answers its critics

We’ve uncovered GOP voter-suppression scandals since 2000, and we’ll keep at it, but there’s still no proof Republicans “stole” Ohio. Plus: A sample of the raging online debate.

By Joan Walsh

Jun. 06, 2006 | Farhad Manjoo’s article criticizing Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s Rolling Stone piece “Was the 2004 Election Stolen?” generated hundreds of letters, most of them critical, and hot debate in the blogosphere (with most but not all lefty voices raised to criticize Salon). You can read the letters to Salon here, and we’ve sampled some of the leading blog responses below. Kennedy himself has replied here, and you can read Manjoo’s response as well. But with people denouncing Manjoo, and Salon, as pawns of Karl Rove, it’s worth taking a minute to place this debate in its proper political context.

Salon has aggressively covered Republican efforts to suppress Democratic voter participation going back to December 2000, when we revealed how Florida’s program to purge supposed felons and other people allegedly ineligible to vote prevented thousands of eligible voters, most of them African-American, from casting ballots — just one example of the many GOP maneuvers that suppressed votes for Vice President Al Gore. (Writer Greg Palast brought us the story, and a team of Salon reporters contacted county election officials in Florida to report it out with him.) Just a few days later, we followed up with a feature on the Republican-connected firm that carried out the purge, ChoicePoint, along with a history of GOP efforts at voter suppression. (The storyline is old and simple and continues through today: Republicans tend to back efforts to aggressively “purge” voter rolls of those who’ve moved or who vote infrequently, while Democrats tend to oppose them, since they usually scrub low-income voters who move more, vote less, fail to work the system adequately and — surprise — happen to favor Democrats.) We’ve followed the story doggedly ever since.

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