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Prison-Based Gerrymandering (2)…

It’s been axiomatic since 1964 that the only way Democrats have won a national election is by burying the Republican vote thru a massive turnout. Even winning the popular vote is not enough, as Al Gore with some 500,000 votes over Bush found out in 2000.

The Bush-Cheney Gang blatantly stole that Florida election and thus the White House. In 2004, they did the same with Ohio and Florida again.  Given that this November will most likely be a close election, I predict that Romney & Company will be able to steal whatever they need.

What caught my attention in 2000 (I was incarcerated at FCI McKean, PA) was that based on exit polls the major networks called Florida a winner for Gore.  Exit polls are very scientific and have always accurately predicted the actual vote within a fraction or so.

Then a funny thing happened. Fox News called the election for Bush and the game was on.  Democratic votes were “lost” en masse, and Bush votes “found.”  Not since 1877, when Republican Rutherford B. Hayes sold out the Union, had there been such an obvious theft of democracy.

The US Supreme Court’s Gang of Five eventually stepped in and (s)elected Bush as President of the United States despite there being a higher authority.

The US Constitution clearly states who that ultimate authority is: “We the People…”  The only lawful role of the Court in such circumstances was to ensure an accurate vote count.

Given Obama’s Clintonian abandonment of his popular base, I believe one can assume that the Republican candidate will prevail.

(Click on image to enlarge…)

In addition to controlling the governorships, legislatures and electoral machinery of 29 states from the 2010 election, the Congressional districts–redistricted during that Census year–have been effectively gerrymandered to reflect even greater electoral powers.

In combination with the “model legislation” of ALEC, the Koch Brothers and the avalance of corporate moneys (again, due to the brazen interference of the Gang of Five), Republicans are engaged in creating Voter ID laws to disenfranchise even more Democratic votes.

The primary focus of this article is on prison-based gerrymandering and felon voting. We’re not talking about inconsequential numbers.

In 2000, there were 4.7 million disenfranchised felons in the US. (1.2 million are in Florida alone.) In 2004, there were 5.3 million. Today, according to the NY Times, that number is 5.5 million. Studies indicate that were those felons allowed to vote, up to 80% would be Democratic.

The black count is proportionally higher. While blacks only comprise 12.6% of the general population, they make up 38.2% of the US prison population.

Not only were these felons disenfranchised from voting, but the vast majority of in-prison felons (2.4 million) are imprisoned and counted by the US Census Bureau mostly in Rural Republican districts (where they build prisons). Much the same circumstances existed during the antebellum period in the US with the slave count.

While we hear much of the Justice Department’s suit against Florida’s disenfranchisement practices, the Republican governor and his district election officials (as well as other Republican states) are simply ignoring the feds. (What’re they gonna do about it? Send down US Marshals?)

Personally, I think we’re approaching the last gasp of the Weimar Republic, 1933. It won’t be long before the Corporatist-Republican-Fundamentalist cabal simply assume power over what’s left of the democratic republic. (What’re we gonna do about it? Send in Homeland Security? Hardly…they own it all.)

To be fair, last month the US Supreme Court upheld Maryland’s 2010 “No Representation Without Population Act.” Naturally, too-little-too-late for this November.

The Act should eventually forbid counting prisoners in districts where they do not and never will reside. As with students and other part-transient populations, they should be counted by the Census where they usually live, their home districts.

The prisons themselves register their inmates at their home addresses. Also, most of the local prison facilities and these rural communities have rules and ordinances that make it a crime for released prisoners to remain longer than it takes them to catch a bus out of town.

New York, Delaware and California already count prisoners at home for census purposes.  RI, NJ, IL and OR are considering such. The Fletcher v. Lamonedecision should move that along.

Red: Republican Governors…

Interestingly, Maine and Vermont allow felons to vote, including incarcerated felons! What many Americans don’t realize, is that states control the process of voting, not the federal gov’t (albeit, the federal Voting Rights Act [1965] abolished discrimination.)  Another 13 states plus DC automatically allow felons to vote once they return to their communities.

When I got out of federal prison after 20 years (2010), I returned to Detroit and picked up where I left off.  In fact, I’m my district’s elected Democratic Precinct Delegate. (I’m a member of the Democratic Socialist faction.)

Five other states allow voting after completion of prison and parole, and 18 states after prison, parole and probation are concluded. Twelve states prohibit felon voting for life.

Had felons been allowed to vote in Florida in 2000, Al Gore would have polled an estimated 500,000 more votes to bury Bush. Of course, that’s precisely why Republican states do their best to prohibit felon enfranchisement.  If felons voted Republican, they’d be singing a different song.

This site certainly advocates universal voting as both a right and a responsibility. In fact, in order to increase that figure, I would favor a quadrennial budget to issue a $100 voucher at the polls to all voters who certify their incomes at or below the listed poverty line.  About the cost of one hi-tech war machine.

Not only would there be far more democracy in the electoral process, but easily 99% of that moneys one can be assured to reenter the market immediately. A negligible investment money-wise, a significant investment to the democratic health of the nation.

Dr. Publico

Category: VoteCensus
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