White Stratagems: Interfering with People Of Color’s Vote

What in the world could Arizona’s challenge of the Voting Rights Act and the requirement passed in 12 states that citizens show government-issued picture ID’s before voting have in common? The answer is simple: Both are being used by white racists to impede people of color’s right to vote and nullify their vote’s impact.

One tactic is the removal of the Federal Government oversight of the often tainted state electoral process. The Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965 as part of Lyndon Johnson’s anti-racist agenda. It outlawed poll taxes and other obstacles that impeded people of color’s access to the ballot box.

Arizona has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of parts of the Voting Rights Act. The parts in question require states that did not meet certain requirements in 1972 to secure federal approval for any state legislation or change that could affect voting. Arizona is one of the states.

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, who filed the lawsuit, said that the original criteria for pre-approval are no longer relevant or constitutional, and Arizona no longer needs the federal government’s scrutiny. “The historical Voting Rights Act was meant to overcome horrendous voting discrimination that occurred in the South,” Horne said. “We are being severely penalized for something that happened in 1972 that was corrected in 1975.”

Many Mexican American legislators disagree. They argue that federal government oversight is still necessary in Arizona. They say that the Department of Justice was forced to intervene on numerous occasions, as was the case ten years ago when it mandated a redrawing of proposed legislative boundaries that would have put Mexican American voters at a disadvantage. Rep. Richard Miranda states their current goal succinctly:

We are asking the Independent Redistricting Commission not to dilute the impact of minority voters.

A second subterfuge pertains to the requirement that citizens show government-issued ID’s before they can vote. In an August 26 New York Times Op-EdJohn Lewis, a Democratic congressman from Georgia, discusses a law passed by 12 Republican state legislatures this year. The law requires “that citizens obtain and display unexpired government-issued photo identification before entering the voting booth.” It so happens that as many as 25 percent of African American voters lack adequate identification.

Conservative supporters of the law allege that this regulation is necessary to forestall voter impersonation. However, there is no evidence that voter impersonation is a widespread problem. When the state of Indiana defended its picture ID provision before the Supreme Court, it could not produce evidence of even one instance of the offense in Indiana. Similarly, in the last ten years Kansas, another state that passed the legislation, experienced a larger number of alleged U.F.O. sightings than claims of voter impersonation.

I believe that if these white attacks fail, more will follow. Racism is a tough nut to crack.


  1. Blaque Swan

    Okay, just for my personally clarification, enacting laws to prevent crimes for which there is scant evidence is okay – but enforcing laws to prevent crimes for which there’re mountains of evidence is not okay? And a law intended to prevent racism is unconstitutional just 5 years after being renewed?

    Besides, Tom Horne has already shown his colors with the ban on ethnic studies. He’s racist. Moreover, he’s a prime example of why any Democratic nominee for president gets 90%+ of the black vote. Without “big brother” looking over his shoulder, it just seems like “little brother” – state and local governments, that is – will do anything he can to curtail civil rights and racial justice. Or rather, when the cat’s away, the mice will play. (And there’s 3 of’em and they’re blind and racist.)

    • José Cobas Author

      The law in question is not merely a law “to prevent crimes for which there is scant evidence.” The issue is about a law used as an excuse to institute the ID requirement with the intention of making voting more difficult for African Americans.

  2. Tantoman4

    I rarely visit these kinds of grievance victimology BLOGs. Are you telling me the urban mythology among Blacks is that there is no such thing as widespread Democrat voter fraud? Democrat plantation politics depends on mob rule at elections to keep race baiting welfare distributionists in power. That is why large urban “minority” neighborhoods are never prosperous or taught self reliance and self improvement. Their elected politicos keep them down to keep in power and to share confiscated wealth (taxes) with white liberal grafters by delivering a guaranteed 90% vote. Chicago is the best example but all the big eastern cities have similar cultures. Are you attempting to say that Blacks and Hispanics can’t get a legal citizens ID card or drivers license or school ID and just vote just once, like the working educated middle class who pay much of the taxes barely have time to get to the polls? Extended early voting has one purpose, to afford lots of time to transport hundreds or thousands of illegals and unidentified “residents” and union activists to visit multiple polls where legal ID is not required, or as in many inner city barrios or “ghettos”, to polls where the officials are in on the joke. Of course it is difficult to quantify illegal voting by its very nature since no records can be made where voting authentication is not verified. Whinging about legal identification kind of gives away the game, don’t you think? I’ve had a legal ID of one kind or another carried in my wallet since age 12. Who do you think you are fooling? Remember, if it isn’t obvious already, if you wreck the economy of a city, state, nation with parasitic redistributionist politics, you destroy your own future opportunity and prosperity. [P.S. I say “much of the taxes” because the so-called “evil rich” the prosperous energetic business owners, pay about 80% of Fed and State taxes at the “progressive” rates]

      • dkINtechnicolor

        His point is that your article is ignorant and nonsensical. I can see how through some twisted, emotional logic you could conclude that requiring people of lower socioeconomic status to buy an ID card to vote is oppressive, but no. ID cards are extremely inexpensive and U.S. citizens should have them anyway for identification and security reasons. Are you saying that “people of color” are too poor or too lazy to go to the local DMV to get an ID?Are you saying “people of color” should be able to bypass the law because of who they are and what color their skin is? The “whites” aren’t trying to take away “colored peoples'” right to vote, they’re trying to take away a non-U.S. citizen’s right to vote. Does it sound logical to allow non-citizen of a completely different country to vote for the new leaders of our country? They don’t pay taxes here, they don’t live here; it’s not fair for the legal citizens who have an invested interest in their country. Okay, maybe voting fraud isn’t a “problem,” but it does happen and every fraudulent vote is one vote taken away from a legal, tax-paying citizen. Equality for all, not for some.

        • Seattle in Texas

          lol, this is too much. You and your friend above are way out of touch with this thing called “reality”–like way out of touch. You both demonstrate that through the questions asked and assumptions made–clearly the result your privileged membership of the at least middle SES. If you think the cost of ID’s are affordable and reasonable for people living in poverty–you’re seriously delusional. Did it ever occur to you also, that there are places that make it next to impossible for people with no transportation to even get to a DMV? For example, putting them in places where there are no bus routes at all…. Strange as it is, this is the case in some areas. And there are many reasons why people may not have an ID or valid ID without poverty or laziness being a part of the reasons behind them. But such reasoning likely wouldn’t occur to people who never have their identity questioned or the validity of their identification sources questioned–even further I’m thinking of how much further this goes, such as, with the practice underage privileged folks borrowing their friends ID to get into bars, I’ve heard of college students borrowing ID’s for exams in the larger classes–somebody sits in and does the exams for the students, to buy alcohol, etc. On a different note however, here’s one for Texas–they state that a person needs 3 forms of ID to get a Texas ID or driver’s license transferred from another state and on the list is a marriage certificate–yet they don’t apparently recognize a marriage certificate issued from Canada. Though, acceptable is a vehicle registration (even though no identification was necessary to get that…I think proof of auto insurance may have been necessary). My point being here is that getting “legitimate” identification is not always convenient and as easy as it may seem in many different situations–or maybe it is, as you suggest, though for people’s whose identities simply aren’t questioned and those who have full membership and participation in the larger privileged society….

          And yes, whites are trying to disenfranchise oppressed populations mainly of color, not just undocumented folks, just as they try to hinder the overall health and well being of oppressed populations through all the systemic and institutional “isms” here in this nation. Speaking of which, for one, the conception of “citizen” is a seriously problematic social construct in and of itself that serves to legitimate the inhumane treatment of human beings–members of this thing called the “human race.”

          What seriously makes you think undocumented workers and their families don’t work here and pay taxes??? You seriously believe this claim?? They pay a lot more than taxes–seriously, give me a break. Anybody who was born in this country, pays taxes and contributes to the health and well being of their communities–should be allowed to vote, regardless of citizenship. Felons should be able to vote. That’s “nonsensical” to suggest otherwise. Those who are hindered from participating in the voting process are those who are in most need of a say about their immediate and long-term circumstances of their lives.

        • Seattle in Texas

          Also, I would challenge anybody who shares your privileged assumptions to give something an honest try. Set out of your home or dwelling with no identification, no vehicle, and say no more than $500 and a bag of say 3 changes of clothes with one nice outfit. Aww shucks, you can take a blankey too–but only one. Block access to bank accounts and assistance from friends and family members–meaning you’re fully 100% independent. Figure out how to get by for a few months–perhaps with the first task being, trying to figure out how your going to get your ID–you’ll likely need the Yellow Pages or access to the Internet and a phone. You have some money, so you can perhaps find a place to live–maybe a roommate situation…though you might need to rent a room for a few nights until you get that situated–unless you prefer to save your cash and sleep outside–that’s always an option. Then go look for work–though on your applications, let’s be generous and say you’ve got a GED–nothing more while listing the positions you’ve held at your former employers as nothing more than minimum wage–that putting aside all acquired privileged credentials relating to cultural capital aside. You want to apply for your jobs while your in the process of getting your ID’s and social security card, etc., but just explain that you’ve lost them and you’re currently in the process of getting them (shouldn’t be a problem, right?).

          Chances are, if anybody who believes that and were bold enough to take on such a venture, and if they are white and especially male, they would still have many advantages that would make this endeavor easier than if they were a person of color of either gender with all things being equal–some of the advantages whites of either gender would have are things such as, having an easier time acquiring legal identification, finding a place to live in lower SES neighborhoods without discrimination, finding a job without discrimination and being given the opportunity to advance in the work place faster. White males opting to seek manual labor will have an advantage by being hired on at jobs that pay a little better and only hire white men and sometimes Latino, but rarely, if ever Black men. Nonetheless, I would challenge anybody who shares your assumptions to set out on that adventure and live it for a while with the rules being as laid out above and starting off with no vehicle, no place to live, no job, no ID, no access to assets, and no cheating–cheating being, getting money and other assets from anything you may have now and from friends and family members throughout the course of this individual level experiment, and using no previously acquired experience and credentials that exceed that of a person from poverty who has an education of no higher than a GED, etc., etc., etc. (and while on this venture, keep a diary of your daily life–note when things go well and why that is while also noting things that don’t go so well and why that is too, etc. note the various characteristics of those around you in your living space, work place, etc.) Good stuff 😀 Seriously

          • Blaque Swan

            Not wanting to respond to unfounded charges of “grievance victomology,” whatever that means, and other uninformed comments, I’ll just respond to you. And since I first hope to educate, I’ll try my level best to resist the urge for, er, uh, let’s move on.

            Here’s what I explained on a separate post in June:

            Here’s the thing about the voting process people don’t seem to be aware of: precinct workers.

            I was a precinct election chief in 2004, and I was a precinct election assistant in 2006. What I learned may differ in other states, but I feel assured that the basics are the same. Precinct workers/judges are the people who take care of the nuts and bolts of things at the poll. They set up the voting machines/booths, plug in the ballot counter, ask for your name and address before handing you a ballot. It’s those people I’m talking about.

            -When you vote early, your name is marked to let the poll day workers know you shouldn’t vote again.

            Election after election, it’s usually the same poll workers and the same voters.

            -As much as possible, the poll workers come from the precinct they’re working in. Ie, the same community.

            So, it’s near impossible to commit fraud at the poll because — drum roll please — the poll workers will recognize you and know whether or not you can vote!!

            Think of it like this, you can go to any local branch of your bank and do business. Most people go to the same branch to make large deposits, withdrawals, or what have you. The benefit of doing this is that the branch employees will get to know you; and if there’s an emergency where you need to get some money but don’t have your checkbook, chances are you’ll be able to access your account because the people know you.

            It’s the same way in terms of voting at the poll. The workers come to recognize who can and who can’t, who should and who shouldn’t vote. Maybe so many people are buying into the nonsense because they’re thinking of what happens at “other” polls rather than what happens at their own. But by law, polls work the same way across the state. So just like you probably know Mrs. So’n’So at your poll and Mrs. So’n’So knows you, other people know the Mrs. So’n’So at their poll and she knows them, too.

            Let me reiterate:

            Just like you probably know Mrs. So’n’So at your poll and Mrs. So’n’So knows you, other people know the Mrs. So’n’So at their poll and she knows them, too.

            Therefore, it is near impossible to commit voter fraud, no matter how long the early voting period is. That’s why there are so few documented incidents of voter fraud even when finding and convicting people of fraud is a government priority. It’s much, much easier to commit voter suppression. And even though the SCOTUS voted 5-4 to allow voter ID laws, the decision admits there’s no need for them. The reason the laws were deemed constitutional was that the conservative justices didn’t feel the ID requirement constituted undue burden.

            But the same conservatives also felt that admitted suppression of exculpatory blood evidence and the fact that the Louisiana country DA held no workshops or reviews on the prosecution’s duty to turn over evidence was not enough to sue the DA for a wrongful conviction and death sentencing.

            These same 5 justices also believe a corporation constitutes a person with the same 1st amendment rights as actual people. By actual people, I mean individuals who’ve been born and are still alive in a human body.

            So I think when it comes to the pursuit of justice, it’s fair to take their opinions with a grain of salt.

            Or maybe several dozen grains of salt and a shot of tequila. Just saying.

            So everybody agrees that the law serves no particular concrete purpose. Fraud is not so frequent as to make such laws necessary. In fact, they’re completely unnecessary. The only thing they accomplish is making it more difficult to vote. The SCOTUS majority opinion was that the laws were okay because they didn’t make it too difficult to vote. The dissent opinion was that since the law was unnecessary, any additional requirement to vote was unconstitutional.

            So, in summary –

            1 – it’s near impossible to commit voter fraud because precinct workers are from the same community and everybody knows everybody.

            2 – incidents of voter fraud/impersonation are enormously rare.

            3 – the final question wasn’t whether there would be a positive impact, it was whether or not there would be a negative impact. Which is to say the issue wasn’t whether or not the laws would result in more valid elections, but whether or not citizens with the constitutional right to vote were unduly burdened by the additional laws. The final question was whether or not there would be a negative impact and if the impact was such to make the laws unconstitutional.

            Because voter fraud in a drum conservatives beat for the expressed purposes of holding down Democratic votes.

            Now, I apologize for the lengthy comment, but I want to be as clear as possible. There aren’t millions or even thousands of undocumented workers voting illegally. There aren’t millions or even thousands of dead people voting (illegally). There’s just no point to having these laws. The only result they’ll have is to keep legal voters from voting. That’s it. There’s no other expected impact. None. Not even from those who claim to fear voter fraud’s impact on the democratic process. At best, the laws will have zero effect. At best. So why risk the laws’ negative impact except to keep the poor from voting?

            Besides, Jose didn’t even mention laws that strip away the right to vote from convicted felons. That’s a whole ‘nother story of “white stratagems interfering with people of color’s vote.”

  3. cordoba blue

    @ Mr. Cobas. “The law requires “that citizens obtain and display unexpired government-issued photo identification before entering the voting booth.” It so happens that as many as 25 percent of African American voters lack adequate identification.”
    I am confused on this point. Why is it that 25% of African Americans don’t have government issued identification? Are you sure about this statistic? I’ve never heard anything about this before. I am not trying to dispute the main crux of the argument. I’m just curious as to the reason behind this statistic.
    I am asked for a photo ID frequently..when cashing a check where I don’t bank, using a debit card at some locations, boarding a plane, getting a driver’s license, or buying alcohol. I am white by the way. If you have the time to explain this I would appreciate it. Thank you for your time Mr. Cobas.

    • Nicthommi

      Are you questioning the validity of his numbers and wondering about the source, or are you really so ignorant and privileged that you don’t know how someone could go through life and not have valid ID?

      Several of the examples of things that you do that involve ID are not going to be done by people at the bottom of the economic ladder. They are also not going to be done by people who live sheltered lives in rural areas. How exactly does a homeless person get an ID? I’m seriously curious.

      One of my grandmothers has never had a driver’s license, has never been on a plane, and certainly never had a debit card. The reasons for those things began with her skin color and economic position, and then continued because my grandfather did those things, and since he passed away her children take care of that business for her.

      She has lived in a tiny town in the rural south her entire life…the kind of place where someone could “purchase” goods in a store b/c they know you and would just write it down and let you settle it later.

      I have no idea of the numbers but I’m sure there are loads of people in this country who don’t drive, don’t fly, and certainly don’t have bank accounts and debit cards.

      Life without an ID is hard but a lot of people have lives where they don’t really need them or make do without them. These laws hurt undocumented people but they hurt the poor too, and I don’t think that was unintentional(since they cannot all be counted on to vote against their own self-interests).

      Plus, I’ll point out that ID or not, my grandparents lived in a county that had no black voters registered until the early 70’s, and I’d imagine that after being disenfranchised that long, a lot of people never developed the habit OR are still actively discouraged. I have relatives who were thrown out of school and had their records destroyed during these times for helping with voter registration. Do I believe that just 40 years later things are peachy keen?

      We do not all live in the same USA. We do not have the same opportunities and privileges. We do not get treated the same. Why is that so hard for so many people to digest and accept?

  4. cordoba blue

    @ Nicthommi who stated:”or are you really so ignorant and privileged that you don’t know how someone could go through life and not have valid ID?”

    First of all there are supposed to be guidelines that discourage commentators from addressing people as “ignorant” on this site. And yes, I asked the question in earnest. It so happens that 25% of African Americans are not registered to vote. That’s another statistic that I don’t understand. Are YOU SO IGNORANT that you believe everybody was raised in Little Mississippi Junction and therefore just assumes that obtaining a driver’s license is out of the question. I was raised in a large city in North Carolina, as I’ve stated before, so I don’t know how they do things in Shucks Folks, Arkansas. So it’s a problem to obtain A DRIVER’S LICENSE even if you can’t afford a car? I didn’t know that. Every place I frequent, like Circle K gas convenience stores or food markets usually ask for ID and I see African Americans readily showing ID’s all the time.
    I already know that ex-cons are not allowed to vote, which I believe is unfair and extremely discriminatory. I am not disputing the validity that there is voter discrimination against people of color: I am simply asking WHY so many African Americans lack government issued ID. 25% of the black population amounts to 8 million people. So yes, it’s confusing since I myself have never lived in rural Mississippi.
    Don’t address me again, Nicthommi. If I didn’t care about racism or think it was an issue, I wouldn’t comment on here as frequently as I do. Plus, the question was directed at Mr Cobas, NOT YOU! I can see that all your Ivy League education hasn’t taught you anything about diplomacy when you’re having a supposedly intellectual discussion on an educational site. I’d love to see how you’d manage giving a lecture on racism. Would you respond to all the questions from the audience with “Are you so ignorant?”

    • Nicthommi

      @Cordoba. I will respond to questions that I think are ignorant in the way that I think is appropriate. I can comment as I like because I am not breaking any rules and make valid and relevant points. And you attempting to insult my background won’t change that. Also, since I am not living in the times that my grandparents live in, you cannot order me about. We don’t take orders like that anymore.

      I gave you an example of how it is possible for someone to go through life without ID. One example. There are many others, and unlike you, I can acknowledge that they exist even though I have not experienced them or know people who have. I know people who have grown up black and poor in both cities and rural areas, and not having an ID(or a valid and current ID) is real for them. Just because all of the black people that you know have IDs does not mean that many more do not. You do not know all of the black people in the U.S. Neither do it. And it’s not just black people who have this problem. Or illegal immigrants for that matter. That was your question, and I think that anyone who has an answer is entitled to give it, since you do not run or moderate this blog. If you want to control comments, start your own blog.

      Disagreeing with you hardly makes me a troll, and your passive-aggressive attempt below to strip me of my right to comment openly is frankly pretty lame.

      You only seem to care about commenting if people agree with you and congratulate you for being such a good person for caring about racism.

      But you are unwilling to admit your privilege or acknowledge that many people do not share it.
      How can you really help advance any anti-racist cause if you attempt to dismiss people who really do live through the experience and who know things that you do not? I do not understand why so many non-minorities think that they have all the answers about what is racist and what isn’t, and question the realities that people of color face in this world.

      I am not the first person on this blog who has upbraided you for being patronizing or condescending or just simply refusing to get it, and I will not be the last. You can share your opinions, I can share mine, and you should learn not to care if someone disagrees with you. I certainly don’t care that you disagree with m.

      Don’t try to derail honest discussions about race by making it all about you

  5. cordoba blue

    If anybody here can’t communicate effectively with anybody who isn’t black and poor, then the entire point of the blog is lost. Isn’t the whole purpose of the blog to educate the rest of the country as to the plight of African Americans? That will not be accomplished by addressing people who post as “ignorant” and treating them with contempt. You can’t tell the difference between sincere commentators and rude trolls? Then there’s a problem here.

    • Seattle in Texas

      lol, I can’t bring myself to honestly respond to this…Well with one exception…then let’s have a white privilege ignorant party!! yay!! *croud yells and whistles* Prozack’s on me y’all! (I’ve got it stockpiled on my luxury yacht docked at Shilshole–lemme get some…shhhh) *passing out the Prozack* *throwing pills in the crowd* Okay cordoba blue–better? 😀

      It’s all good lol, lighten up cordoba blue–after all, members of oppressed groups are expected to do the same when extremely insulting comments are made hurled at them on here from whites–both intentional and unintentional. Why does everything always have to be double sided with whites? 🙁

      • cordoba blue

        LOL! You’re correct. I’m over-reacting. If Nicthommi thinks I’m ignorant, it’s cool. I’m just being a white person with an attitude I guess. Us white people don’t like to be called names, but that’s because we can’t stand it when we’re not THE BOSS Man in town. LOL! Pass me some Prozac and let’s all sing “It’s a Small World After All.” Thank you for the perspective. I needed that!

    • Nicthommi

      I am both amused and horrified that you are attempting to use “tears” and privilege to take away a black woman’s right to comment on an anti-racism blog in a discussion about whites interfering with blacks’ rights to vote. I feel as though this should be somehow added to Webster’s Dictionary under the definition of irony, or perhaps added to that Alanis Morrisette song.
      If you don’t see the irony and hypocrisy inherent in your actions, that is a much bigger problem.

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