The recent sight of people standing in long lines to vote — some waiting as long as 11 hours in Georgia — made me so proud to be an American that I couldn’t speak.

I just pointed at the TV to show my wife why I was choked up.

Americans holding tight to their right to vote are to my mind the essence of taking pride in a national government that is “of the people, by the people, for the people,” as President Abraham Lincoln put in his Gettysburg Address.

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In a modern America, where overnight delivery and fast food are the norm, the sight of people giving up hours of their time to vote is pure patriotism — a defiant act to protect our form of democratic governance.

Over the past four years President Trump — with the help of too many state Republican Party officials — has tried to put a friendly face on suppressing the votes of people who do not vote for him.
 

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Trump gave the game away in March when he dismissed Democratic efforts to include protections to keep polling places open, and allow for same-day registration and early voting in the first coronavirus relief legislative package. 

“The things they had in there were crazy … you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again,” Trump said in an interview on “Fox & Friends.”

Pay close attention to what the president said. If there are no limits on Americans turning out to vote, he thinks he will lose his reelection bid.

Trump’s reasoning is based on the results of recent presidential elections. Since 1988, the GOP has won the majority of votes in a presidential race only once – President Bush in 2004.

And as the years go by, the number of young and minority Americans in big cities and suburbs — areas that typically vote for Democrats — continues to grow.

Meanwhile, the number of White people in rural areas who typically back Republicans has been shrinking.

These demographic facts have led the GOP and its supporters to spend $20 million on 300 court cases to oppose state and local laws that make it easier to vote, according to the Center for Public Integrity.

Republicans in some states have also tried to place limits on the number of polling places and sites for early voting.

And of course, there is a major Trump donor now running the U.S. Postal Service, who critics say has purposely tried to hamstring the delivery of mail-in ballots.

Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., found that mail in several big cities — including Philadelphia, Baltimore and Detroit — recently had delays 20% of the time.

The president, however, claims he is fighting voter fraud. The flaw in that argument is the lack of evidence of widespread voter fraud.

“The truth is that after decades of looking for illegal voting, there’s no proof of widespread fraud,” Ben Ginsberg, one of the Republican Party’s top election lawyers, recently wrote in a Washington Post column.

“At most, there are isolated incidents — by both Democrats and Republicans,” Ginsberg wrote. “Elections are not rigged. Absentee ballots use the same process as mail-in ballots — different states use different labels for the same process.” He concluded that claims of widespread voter fraud are “unsustainable.”

But some political players do not bother to claim voter fraud in trying to stop people from voting.

In October, residents of a mostly Black poor Detroit neighborhood got robocalls warning that voting by mail could lead to debt collections and even being forced to take vaccinations.

These voter suppression efforts sometimes become public policy.

Georgia Republicans cut nearly 10% of the state’s polling places even as the number of voters increased.

“Voter suppression is preventing many from casting their ballots,” Martin Luther King III wrote on Twitter. The son of the civil rights leader told Georgia residents to “be prepared to protect your rights.”

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There is a similar story in Texas. The state Supreme Court upheld an executive order from Republican Gov. Greg Abbott that each Texas county can have only one drop-off box for ballots. This means that Harris County — where the state’s biggest city, Houston, is located — has only one box. Note that more than 25% of the voters in Harris County are Black.

And there is a similarly upsetting story in Florida.

The state’s voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the state Constitution in 2018 to restore voting rights for felons. But the Republicans in the Legislature responded by passing a law requiring that the former convicts pay all of their outstanding debts and court costs before they can vote.

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Critics called the law a “modern-day poll tax,” but it was upheld by a federal court. Just 67,000 felons out of the newly-eligible population of 1.4 million successfully registered to vote this year. 

So, to all Americans who stood in line, who defied any effort to block you from voting, I say thank you.

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Source: FoxNews

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