To the editor,

Julie Peterson’s response to my letter was well researched. Ms. Peterson said she read all of the recent voting laws, (quite a task with 400 laws in legislatures) and found no racism. I agree, there is little comparable to the “Jim Crow” south in these laws. In many ways, these are worse. The Jim Crow laws were blatantly racist. The new laws are presented as “protecting the vote” when there was NO significant voter fraud found in the 2020 election. If there was really voter fraud, more than 1 of the 60-plus court actions brought by Republicans would have proved it. So, there was no provable fraud. 

 These laws are really about voter suppression. The suppression in these laws is not just against minority voters, but anyone who does not vote Republican. This strategy dates back to 1980. Paul Weyrich, cofounder of the Heritage Foundation said “… They want everybody to vote. I don’t want everybody to vote. … As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”   

 Ever since, Republicans have tried to suppress voting. In 2016, courts ruled that changes to North Carolina’s election law targeted black voters “with almost surgical precision.” In a 2014 Texas voter ID case, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos detailed how hard it is for some people to get a photo ID. Of the 254 counties in Texas, 78 do not have a permanent license bureau. Along the Mexican border, the nearest license bureau is up to 125 miles away. A person without a driver’s license will need to have a family member or a friend drive them to the License Bureau to get a photo ID card. Now ask yourself this - would you want to drive your Uncle Bob two hours each way and then stand in line at the License Bureau for another hour? 

 Legislatures sped up passing these suppressive laws starting in July of 2013. Why at this particular time? In June, 2013, the Supreme Court struck down requirements for legislatures to “pre clear” new voting laws. This was to stop laws designed to suppress voting. Laws were passed in massive numbers after the Supreme Court’s ruling because they would not have passed the preclearance test and would have been thrown out.  

Make no mistake, these new voting laws are meant to be suppressive and against democracy.  

Jeffrey Benny

Cambridge

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