Various news outlets have reported on Russia possibly hacking into the 2016 election, but what these news outlets have neglected to inform the public of are the various American citizens who were purged off voting rolls in counties in states such as Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Iowa, Kansas, and Texas.
Voter rolls are updated or “cleaned” every two years, which means a citizen can be purged off the voter roll for death, not voting in successive elections, or not turning in an updated voter registration form. The purge targets people of color in poor communities of color.
According to news21.com, “The 1993 National Voter Registration Act mandates that state and local elections officers keep voter registration lists accurate by removing the names of people who die, move or fail in successive elections to vote. Voters who’ve been convicted of a felony, ruled mentally incompetent or found to be noncitizens also can be removed. The U.S. Election Assistance Commission reported that 15 million names were scrubbed from the lists nationally in 2014.”
News21, also found that out of 50 million registered voters from a dozen states, that more than 7 million of those registered voters were removed over the last year.
Some counties do notify citizens that they will be removed from voter rolls if they do not respond in X amount of days. But if the citizen moved, then they may never get this mail. The voter may not find out they have been purged until they go vote, and at that time they will not be able to register.
When voter suppression is discussed, the main issues that are discussed are voter ID laws, or the amount of early voting (if it is even allowed) that is available in counties, but the purge is almost never discussed. We cannot allow ourselves to be put in this predicament.
Take the state of Ohio, where the state’s Secretary of State believes that voters should be removed if they haven’t voted in a while. Thankfully a court ruled that Ohio had to allow most of the purged voters the right to vote in the 2016 election; the ruling happened on 10/21/2016 according to projectvote.org.
In the state of North Carolina, thirty percent of democrats are more likely to be purged off voter rolls compared to republicans.
Please do not believe the hype that people of color do not get out and vote. The right to vote is systematically taken from them, but I am not here to talk about victimization. We cannot allow society to put us in these positions where they can come in and just strip our voices from the greater public sphere.
In Check It While I Wreck It: Black Womanhood, Hip-Hop Culture, and the Public Sphere by Gwendolyn D. Pough. She mentions how even when black women were not given the right to vote, they met at churches with the black men in the community and voiced who they wanted to be elected through the black men in their communities. They found a way to insert their voice into a public sphere who told them they did not exist. So, no, I will not allow us fall into this victim narrative. If those black women found a way to insert their voice into a society that was patriarchal, then we as a black community can stop this systematic oppression.
The voter suppression laws and silent voter purge are not any different from Jim Crow laws that stopped black people from voting. The only difference was that was it was blatant oppression, while this is systematic oppression. The oppression never left, they just learned how to quietly oppress us. Make a decision right now, do you want to be a victim or do want solve the issue?