A report on GOP "ballot security" programs
From a new report by Chandler Davidson, Tanya Dunlap, Gale Kenny, and Benjamin Wise: There are several noteworthy characteristics of these programs. They focus on minority precincts almost exclusively. There is often only the flimsiest evidence that vote fraud is likely to be perpetrated in such precincts. In addition to encouraging the presence of sometimes intimidating Republican poll watchers or challengers who may slow down voting lines and embarrass potential voters by asking them humiliating questions, these programs have sometimes posted people in official-looking uniforms with badges and side arms who question voters about their citizenship or their registration. In addition, warning signs may be posted near the polls, or radio ads may be targeted to minority listeners containing dire threats of prison terms for people who are not properly registered—messages that seem designed to put minority voters on the defensive. Sometimes false information about voting qualifications is sent to minority voters through the mail.
The purpose of this Report is to provide a brief history of some of the most indefensible Republican ballot security programs from the 1950s on, but particularly, in Chapter 6, from 1981 through 2002. These case studies, along with the description of events in Louisville, Kentucky in 2003, presented in Chapter 1, are intended to give the reader a sense of the nature of Republican ballot security excesses, and why they continue to pose a threat to minority voters some forty years after the Voting Rights Act was passed. -- REPUBLICAN BALLOT SECURITY PROGRAMS: VOTE PROTECTION OR MINORITY VOTE SUPPRESSION—OR BOTH?