Yes, A Blue Wave–But We’re Still In The GOP’s Election Fraud Crosshairs

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The “blue wave” cometh!

Tuesday’s mid-term election results were historic, to say the least.

Hopefully they are a harbinger of the progressive direction the nation is heading as we look ahead now to unseating Trump and company in 2020 (if not sooner).

But it’s not actually over yet.

At the time of this writing, there are still 11 House and three Senate races yet to be called.

Despite the optimism, the American public remains caught in the crosshairs of the Republican party‘s secret weapon–voter suppression; i.e., election fraud.

Ground zero is the state of Georgia, where gubernatorial candidate, former Secretary of State Brian Kemp, is fighting for his political life against former Georgia House minority leader Stacey Abrams.

Despite Kemp declaring himself the victor, Abrams refuses to concede because of the blizzard of uncounted absentee and provisional ballots, and the discovery of over 340,000 “canceled” voter registrations of residents falsely accused of leaving the state.

In what National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) president Derrick Johnson called “textbook voter suppression,” more than 85,000 voters were purged from rolls in just the three months leading up to election day.

The Associated Press reported that on Kemp’s watch, at least 53,000 voter registration applications–mostly from black voters–are being delayed for “additional screening.”

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution668,000 were purged in 2017; between 2012 to 2016, 1.5 million, a staggering increase from the 750,000 purged from 2008 to 2012.

Abrams’ campaign manager, Lauren Groh-Wargo, said from Stacey Abrams’ campaign headquarters Thursday:

“All of the votes in this race have not been counted. All the voters of Georgia deserve to be counted before the now-former secretary of state announces his victory.”

Days before early voting commenced, a civil rights group sued Kemp “over the state of Georgia’s discriminatory and unlawful ‘exact match’ voter suppression scheme” which requires voter registration applications to precisely match the state’s Department of Driver Services or Social Security Administration data. If they do not match, applicants are supposed to be given an interval to correct discrepancies like misspelled names, middle names not being fully stated, or missing hyphens.

This suit resulted in a federal court ruling the thousands improperly flagged as “non-citizens” in state voter databases must be permitted to vote.

But on the first day of early voting, a bus full of African American senior citizens en route to polling places was turned away.

A few days before election day, a white supremacist group released racist robocalls impersonating Oprah Winfrey who was in the metro Atlanta area stumping for Abrams.

One of the voters prohibited from casting her ballot was 92-year-old Christine Jordan–Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s cousin–who has voted in Georgia for 50 years.

Some who showed up were not even allowed provisional ballots, which the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) requires so voters wrongly purged can cast ballots and fight to have them counted.

One such voter is Yasmin Bakhtiari, who stated:

“The whole process was designed to use any excuse to not have you vote. This was a strategy from Kemp to discourage people from voting.”

Many who reported to their respective polling sites were subjected to long lines that in some cases lasted hours.

This was, of course, avoidable since Georgia officials kept almost 2,000 additional voting machines locked away in storage, hindering every voter in Cobb, DeKalb, and Fulton counties.

And then there’s Florida.

Yes, Florida is at it again.

Donald Trump is teaming up with Fla. Republican Gov. Rick Scott to accuse elections in danger of being “stolen” after Secretary of State Ken Detzner ordered recounts in the Senate and gubernatorial races when unofficial results fell within the margin to legally trigger a recount.

Scott, running for U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson, lashed out, telling reporters:

“I will not sit idly by while unethical liberals try to steal this election. Every day since the election, the left wing activists in Broward County have been coming up with more and more ballots out of nowhere.”

Nelson’s campaign filed a motion in federal court over provisional and absentee ballot signatures’ validity.

As of late Friday, Scott was beating Nelson by fewer than 15,000 votes–0.18%.

In the Florida governor’s race, Republican Ron DeSantis leads over Democrat Andrew Gillum by 36,000 votes or 0.44%.

Gillum said, after rescinding his Tuesday night concession:

“This process is not over until every single vote is counted. The outcome of this election will have consequences beyond who wins and who loses. How we handle this election in this process will have reverberations for democracy, for an entire generation of voters.”

This has caused MSNBC “Morning Joe” co-host and former Florida GOP congressman, Joe Scarborough, to call Republican attempts to stop counting pending votes “third-world country stuff.”

In his 1795 Dissertation on First Principles of Government, Thomas Paine wrote:

“The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which other rights are protected. To take away this right is to reduce a man to slavery, for slavery consists in being subject to the will of another, and he that has not a vote in the election of representatives is in this case.”

As progressive talk show host and author Thom Hartmann wrote in his recent piece “American Democracy Is on the Brink:”

“If we fail to do something large, substantial and dramatic about the scourge of voter suppression, we must all begin learning how to rivet chains.”

Image credit: Flickr

Ted Millar is poet and teacher. His poetry has been in featured in myriad literary journals, including Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices Project. He is also a contributor to Op-Ed News and Liberal Nation Rising.