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Watch Samantha Bee Break Down Republicans’ “Shameless” Love of Voter Suppression

"They know they're not popular enough to win without cheating."

As Republicans’ supporters are dwindling, they’re having to find, let’s say, creative ways to bolster their numbers. Dishonest tactics like gerrymandering and voter suppression are nothing new, but leading up to the midterm elections, they’re not even trying to mask their actions with even the appearance of subtlety or legitimacy. Honestly, the Republican Party has basically reverted back to 1960s tactics. We’re barely a step away from the reinstatement of the 1960s’ “literacy tests.”

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On last night’s episode of Full Frontal, Samantha Bee gave a rundown of some of the many ways in which Republicans are currently working to suppress voters.

In North Dakota, a new law requires voters to show a form of identification that includes their home address. North Dakota, though, has a large population of Native Americans living on reservations in rural areas, using PO Boxes instead of street addresses.

Native Americans have long been heavily disenfranchised when it comes to voting, but this new law is an undeniable direct attack meant to guarantee they’re unable to vote. Making this extra transparent is the fact that Senator Heidi Heitkamp (the only Democrat left in a statewide office in ND) was last elected on a slim margin of just 3,000 votes, and her win was largely credited to Native American voters. This new law would prohibit about 5,000 Native Americans from casting their vote. What a weird coincidence, no?

In Georgia, Stacy Abrams is running for Governor against Republican Brian Kemp and their polling numbers are pretty much equal. So it was great news for Republicans who don’t care about democracy as much as they do the success of their party when a hold was put on more than 53,000 voter registration applications, about 70% of which belonged to Black (potential) voters. (That’s in a state that Bee points out is only 30% Black, by the way. “So if I do the math in my head, that’s … fucking racist.”)

That hold was overseen by Georgia’s Secretary of State, who happens to be–get ready for it–Brian Kemp! You’d think that would be a conflict of interest from which he should recuse himself, but again, ethics apparently aren’t a thing the Republican Party can even be bothered to pretend to care about these days.

Those are just two of the major examples of voter suppression. It’s happening on smaller scales all across the country, from trying to prevent potentially Democratic voters (like women and POC) from reaching the polls to making sure they can’t vote if they do get there. That’s where voter ID laws (among other tactics) come in. And I’m sure some of you are saying to yourselves, “Well, that’s all terrible, but people do need to be required to show ID when they vote, right?” Except they don’t.

During the 2016 election, I volunteered to be a poll worker. I was living in California at the time, one of 17 states (including D.C.) that require no form of ID to be shown by voters at the polls. Still, I was amazed by the huge number of people who came through that polling place and were shocked to learn I didn’t need to see their ID. Many people genuinely don’t know that those states have deemed the requirement to show ID to be unconstitutional. They assume that ID laws prevent voter fraud because otherwise, anyone could just give any name, both corrupting the outcome and denying someone else of their vote, right? But in-person voter fraud is extremely rare. Like, 30 cases in 14 years rare.

Requiring a government-issued ID, on the other hand, can potentially keep hundreds of thousands, in not millions of voters across the country from being able to take part in the voting process. And wouldn’t you know it, when voter ID laws are in place, turnout skews more conservative.

As Bee says, “Republicans are getting more creative and more shameless about their attempts to block the vote because they know they’re not popular enough to win without cheating.”

If you want to learn more about voter suppression and what you can do to help fight it, Let America Vote is an awesome organization to check out.

(image: YouTube)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.

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