Growing up in Baltimore, my family played a lot of games. We didn’t have a lot of money but we had a lot of games. You name a game and I’ve probably played it—from board games like Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Scrapple to card games to physical outdoor games. And I learned that there are three rules to games. You don’t lie, cheat or steal to win. You could outsmart your opponent but never by breaking the rules of the game.
In reality, that’s the opposite of the Republican lawmakers game plan to win the 2012 election. They’ve done everything possible to win by lying, cheating and hoping to steal the election. In 2000, it was the hanging chad and rescue of the Supreme Court that resulted in the questionable win for George W. Bush. In 2012, the Republicans are betting the farm on the voter ID laws and the ongoing litigation and confusion surrounding the laws to make the difference for them.
First, the GOP concocted the lie that Voter ID laws were needed to combat the rampant voter fraud. After study after study proved there was no in person voter fraud or dead people voting, Republicans admitted that there was no real proof of voter fraud necessitating voter ID laws. Pennsylvania lawmaker Mike Turzai boldy announced this summer that the purpose of the voter ID laws is to get the win for Mitt Romney. By then, over 34 states had enacted some form of voter ID laws—most since 2008, which are in effect disenfranchising many minorities, students and the elderly.
In playing games, the rules are set at the beginning of the game. And the rules don’t change midway through the game or near the end of the game when you are losing. That would be cheating. And that’s exactly what the Republicans are doing.
In states where there has been litigation, the GOP lawmakers supporting these voter ID laws keep coming up with late breaking game changing rules. In Pennsylvania, they insisted ID different from the required ID could be provided to voters. And in South Carolina, where a court decision is pending with almost 40 days to the election, South Carolina officials refuse to back down from changing the law. Federal judges asked South Carolina officials if they would consider having any voter ID law go in effect in 2014, if upheld. They declined as that did not serve their purpose.
Even if the court sides with South Carolina, it will be so confusing to voters and election officials as to what documentation is needed to vote. And that’s exactly how the Republicans want to play this game. But the same court hearing South Carolina’s case ruled against Texas on a similar voter ID law.
Republicans are literally making up the rules to the game as they go along. Unfortunately, this is not a game. This is the future of our country—where everything is at stake in this election.
In 2000, the Florida vote was won by 537 votes—at least those that were counted. And in 2008, both Florida and North Carolina were narrowly won by President Obama, with the difference of about 35 votes per precinct in Florida and 5 votes per precinct in North Carolina.
As for stealing the election, that’s what the Republicans are hoping to have happen in 2012. They know that with an out of touch candidate like Mitt Romney who dislikes and will ignore almost half –47% of the country, chances are unlikely they can win fair and square. So they resort to voter ID laws and intimidation practices.
Intimidation and bullying voters is plan B in conjunction with voter ID laws. If you do show up to the polls in certain and mostly minority areas, Republican Tea Party groups intend to blast voters with false and misleading robo calls on where, when and how to vote. These right Wing conservative groups like True the Vote, are the ones who tell voters that police will be waiting to arrest voters who have warrants or outstanding traffic tickets and challenge legitimate voters in person at the polls.
Any suspicious activity, questionable rants or intimidation of voters must be reported immediately to the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights at 866-687-8683. They are the nation’s largest non-partisan voter protection coalition. They have workers in all 50 states to protect the integrity of the vote with English and Spanish speaking workers.
All the while, Republicans have been busy with their unscrupulous scheme to lie, cheat and steal their way to the White House, Democrats and President Obama have been busy moving forward in the polls, making their pitch to the American people—all 100% of them. The hard work has started to pay off. Most polls, including those by Republicans show President Obama is leading by a slim lead.
But when you are dealing with cheaters, that’s not enough to win. The polls term what are “likely voters”. And those likely voters need to vote early and encourage their friends, family and co-workers to do the same. This is not 2008 and Democrats do not have euphoria going into the election. But at least for now, Democrats, in this marathon political race, have the wind at their back—heading into the home stretch.
Washington, DC based Debbie Hines is a former prosecutor and founder of LegalSpeaks, a progressive blog on women and race in law and politics. As a legal and political commentator she has appeared in national and local media including the Michael Eric Dyson Show, NBC, ABC and CBS affiliates, RT TV, CBC- Canadian TV, NPR, XM Sirius radio, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, Black Enterprise among others. She also writes for the Huffington Post and the Women’s Media Center.