The right’s attack on ACORN (with the acquiescence of the Democrats), and their other, more covert steps to thwart registration drives, have obviously done what they were meant to do: keep the great majority of eligible voters from the polls. The fewer Americans vote, the likelier the GOP can either win for real or “win” by just enough so that the press (and Democrats) will raise no questions as to whether such a victory was real.

So here’s another grand bipartisan achievement; for if Obama and his Democrats had stood up in defense of ACORN, and otherwise did everything they could to make sure everyone who has the right to vote could do so (just as the GOP has fervently accused them all of doing), they wouldn’t be where they are now, scared witless that the Tea-Baggers will pull off (or seemingly pull off) a landslide.

The problem here, in other words, is not just that the Democrats are largely spineless and/or too right-wing themselves (although that is a fact, and an immense betrayal).

The problem also is that even if they had some guts, and were far more progressive, they still would be in trouble now (if not as dire), because so many of their natural constituents are scared even to register, much less go out and vote.

What we need, as we have needed it for years, is a great re-commitment to the fundamentals of American democracy; and that means going all out for universal voting rights, and an election system not computerized, and not owned and maintained by private companies.


With Voting Rights Groups Reeling, New Registrations Decline
By Jesse Zwick

After more than a decade of success expanding voter rolls, voting rights advocates are noting a disturbing
trend in the run-up to the 2010 elections. Dramatically fewer groups are engaged in registering voters during
the current election cycle than in previous midterm elections, and fewer voters, especially in poorer areas
that are traditionally underrepresented and therefore the usual target of voter registration drives, are
registering to vote as a result.

Registration patterns vary significantly from state to state, but 26.7 percent fewer new voters have registered in Florida this year than in 2006, along with 21.4 percent fewer in Maryland and 16.9 percent fewer in Tennessee, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, a public policy and law institute at New York University. And while there’s no single cause for the decline, experts point out that many independent
organizations are withering under a combination of public attacks by conservative activists alleging voter
fraud and new state laws making it difficult for such groups to operate.

“A four-year wave of attacks on voter registration drives, both in terms of state laws that either shut down voter registration drives or made it too onerous to do it, and other public attacks have certainly had an
effect,” said Wendy Weiser, director of the Brennan Center’s Voting Rights and Elections Project.

Read more.

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