Ending the Addiction of Voter Suppression

A national plan for intervention and recovery.

Photo by Parker Johnson on Unsplash

In his March 27 blog, historian Timothy Snyder called the Republican Party’s obsession with voter suppression, an “addiction,” one the party will not be able to break without outside intervention.

For the past year, I’ve thought a lot about our nation’s crutch of White supremacy, misogynistic patriarchy, systemic racism, and apartheid through the lenses of recovery. My own journey has not only included reading and counseling, but active participation in a 12-step recovery program through my home church.

At its core, recovery is about personal responsibility. Coming out of denial of wrong and taking full responsibility through repentance and amends to those hurt by their actions.

This is the key principles of recovery.

Repentance and amends.

It isn’t enough for the addict to just say they’re sorry, they also must show it, in both word and deed. This is the principle behind reparations, either monetarily or otherwise, to racial groups and colonialized nations throughout the world. Wealth, land, and in some cases, life, that has been stolen, must be returned to the victims.

This isn’t about revenge, but about healing, true forgiveness, and a continual attitude of humility. One, so opposite from the White, patriarchal view of unearned privilege, inequality, and outright dehumanization of those you see as “less than” for the way they look, act, believe, worship or love.

Snyder summarizes this truth in his piece, “Voter suppression is racist authoritarianism. Making [suppression] impossible means starting from the principle that it is everyone’s individual responsibility to vote — and America’s collective responsibility to make it as easy as possible for every citizen to vote (emphasis added).”

As with any addiction, the only cure is intervention. For an addict in relapse, “self-help” is simply impossible. Only government intervention will stop a relapsed addict.

Snyder goes on to expand on his own plan for protecting the vote. His plan is listed for simplicity.

“Voter registration should be automatic. The goal should be to have every eligible American registered.

“No one should be purged from a voter register without being contacted.

“There should be no shenanigans with IDs: before you require them, you hand them out, and not the other way around.

“There should be no lines: it is grotesque to make people wait.

“If people want to mail a ballot, make it easy for them.

“No one should have to work on Election Day except the people at the polls. It should be a national holiday.”

I would also be so bold as to add one more proposal Mr. Snyder’s list: Establish a national voting standards; while maintaining local control of the elections process.

It’s been said that government is best, when it governs the least. In our standards for local elections, this brazen, hands-off approach has proven disastrous. Left unchecked, this will be the end of democracy as we know it.

In addition to the passage of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of 2020 (which, as of this writing, appears dead because of Senator Joe Manchin’s obstruction), national standards in elections is a key intervention in battling the addiction to voter suppression.

The following must be established in this policy –

· National automatic voter registration for all eligible American citizens on their 18th birthday; par the standard of most democratic nations worldwide, and as has been passed in 19 states, and the District of Columbia.

· All laws of voter disenfranchisement; including, but not limited to, fines, restrictive voter ID laws, and the barring of those convicted of a felony and/or are presently incarcerated, will be eliminated nationwide.

· The use of the absentee ballot, vote by mail system will be expanded nationwide, using Washington State, Oregon, California, and Colorado as models.

· The vote by mail “excuse” provision will be eliminated nationwide; anyone who wishes to vote by mail will be able to do so.

· A drop box will be provided in each county, with the amount of boxes and locations, determined, not by partisan state officials, but by the population demographics of each county.

· Require the resignation of any official involved in local elections, before filing for partisan office; local, state, federal, tribal or territorial as to eliminate the presumption of impropriety, or conflict of interest.

· All persons running for the position of Secretary of State, or any local or state office that runs elections locally, will run as non-partisans.

· All individuals, organizations or media, questioning the integrity of a certified election, without probable cause, will be subjected to legal prosecution. Any public official, who questions the integrity of a certified election, without probable cause, will also be subjected to legal prosecution; including, but not limited to, removal from office.

· Any media organization, including social media, that questions, or encourages the open questioning, of the integrity of a certified election, without probable cause for fraud, will face legal prosecution under the legal provision of “willfully spreading false and/or misleading information,” and are subjected to legal liability; which includes, but is not limited to, a removal of their right to publish in the United States, or worldwide.

· Any organization requesting an “audit” of certified election results, without probable cause for fraud, will face legal repercussions; including, but not limited do, criminal prosecution.

For too long, government has enabled the addiction of voter suppression, systemic racism, inequality and apartheid. Only a direct intervention by government, at all levels, along with these common sense measures, will save our democracy, and end the addiction to voter suppression.



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Tiffany Elliott

Writer with 15 + years experience; journalist, editor, freelancer, and play write. Advocate for the arts and rights of expendables. tiffanyelliott84@gmail.com