What Surely Tainted Our Election? Voter Suppression

Jesse Jackson | 12/16/2016, 10:35 a.m.
The CIA conclusion that the Russians intervened in our elections in order to help elect Donald Trump has sent Washington ...
Rev. Jesse Jackson

Why aren't Democrats railing about voter suppression and demanding congressional investigation and action? Why haven't university presidents and civil rights lawyers joined in a national commission to detail the suppression and demand a strengthening of the Voting Rights Act? Why aren't pundits pounding on this, outing the state officials and legislators who did it and exposing the right-wing apparatus that orchestrated it? Is it because Russian interference is more exotic? Is it because neither party thinks suppression of the votes of people of color and the young is an unacceptable outrage?

I urge President Obama to launch an investigation and report on voter suppression to be released before he leaves office. President-elect Donald Trump says he wants to be the president of all Americans. If so, he should lead an effort to end voter suppression and to revive the Voting Rights Act. Democratic leaders say they want the party to build a broad majority coalition across lines of race. If so, they should be demanding an investigation of voter suppression and filibustering to force revival of the Voting Rights Act.

Inside the beltway, voter suppression isn't hot. Republicans peddle the myth of voter fraud. Democrats cry foul on Russian interference. Neither party will focus on the biggest scandal of all: the fact that partisans in states across the country acted purposefully to suppress the right to vote of targeted groups of citizens. We didn't win the right to vote from politicians. Citizens had to march and protest, bleed and die to win that right. We can't count on politicians to defend the right to vote -- they, after all, are elected under the distorted rules we have. Citizens of conscience must move to end voter suppression and clean up our elections.

You can write to the Rev. Jesse Jackson in care of this newspaper or by email at jjackson@rainbowpush.org. Follow him on Twitter @RevJJackson.

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