The congregation repeated every word of the Rev. Jesse Jackson as if he were administering an oath.
“Revive easy access to voting,” Jackson said recently at the 93rd Street Community Baptist Church in Miami. “And stop voter suppression.”
Yup. It’s campaign season.
Cue the talk among liberals that conservatives are trying to rob Democrats of their votes.
This year’s target: A Republican election law, House Bill 1355, which cracks down on voter registration drives and eliminates early voting on the Sunday before Election Day.
A pain? Definitely.
But voter suppression? Not really.
This isn’t Bull Connor siccing German shepherds on people. It’s also nothing like Florida’s Jim Crow-era constitutional provision denying former felons the right to vote in a state where more than half the prison population is black.
This is the Republican Party changing election-year rules to keep the voter-registration rolls from quickly growing more Democratic.
“I don’t see it as voter suppression,” said Daniel A Smith, a University of Florida political scientist who is studying the new law’s effects. “This is more an effort to constrain voter participation under the guise of fighting fraud.”
Smith points out that the data clearly show the elections law disproportionately affects black and Hispanic voters.
Meanwhile, partisan lines are forming over the state’s new effort to identify and remove noncitizen voters from the rolls. The state preliminarily identified 180,000 potential noncitizens — many of them black and Hispanic — but the final number of noncitizens on the voter rolls is likely to be much lower.
But there could be a more subtle problem for Democrats and President Barack Obama. It’s not so much “suppression.” It’s more like psychological “repression.”
Quite simply: Democrats have held themselves back from voting.
Consider what happened at Precinct 248, a polling station in the black neighborhood of 93rd Street Community Baptist church.