BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
Thanks to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), in the field of elections, it seems the United states and the Republic of Armenia are going in opposite directions (hence the minus sign in the title), the former getting worse and the latter on the cusp of changes for the better.
But interestingly, even the bad practices are inverted in that one, the U.S., has sectors of society who want to steal elections by REDUCING the voting population unjustly, while the other, the RoA, has been rigging elections by artificially INFLATING the number of people who allegedly voted! (hence the inverse in the title).
The case is named Husted vs. A. Philip Randolph Institute, and the Court ruled 5-4 that the State of Ohio COULD purge its voter rolls.
What does it mean to purge voter rolls?
People who register to vote but do not participate in elections for some period of time (even if they voted initially), or for other reasons specified by law, become “inactive” voters. In California, for example, such people stop receiving election materials, but can show up and vote simply by confirming their address. They never cease being eligible to vote. What this SCOTUS decision does is to enable states such as Ohio, to throw people off the voter lists. They can lose their eligibility to vote and have to start all over and register anew. They are not informed this has been done to them, so if they show up to vote, they are denied that fundamental democratic right.
Why do some states want to do this to their citizens? What would they lose if these people were kept on the voter lists? It’s no more work or cost to the state to keep them on. In fact, it takes time to compile the names of these voters and remove them!
The real concern is partisan, not civic. It is not a state that has a vested interest in eliminating voters. Rather, it is a party, The Republican Party. Its platform and the current president who stands for the worst elements of it, are so unpalatable to an ever-growing majority of citizens that party leaders know they are doomed in the long run. Their support base is either dying off or being repulsed by what they see. Plus, demographic changes are working against the Republicans. So, they are trying to stave off the inevitable by reducing the number of those eligible voters who are likely to vote against them, hence the urge to purge.
This is not only bad for people and democracy in the U.S., but all over the world since authoritarian leaders can now point mockingly to the U.S. and contend that it doesn’t practice what it preaches to the rest of the world.
Write your state and federal representatives to let them know you want to increase, not decrease, voter options and interest in the coming years.