Election 2014  
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Voter Suppression Tactics Backfire on GOP, Galvanizing Voters' Resolve

From shortened early voting hours in Ohio to mayhem in Florida, voters held their ground for hours, demanding their right to vote -- in record numbers.

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Note that all were battleground states, among the nine that ultimately decided the outcome of the presidential election.

Yet, because of the sustained and vociferous actions of Republicans in trying to tamp down voter turnout through ID laws and attempts to limit early voting (especially on Sundays, when African-Americans were known to carpool to voting locations after church), voter protection groups were on the ground early, organizing in communities of color, and teaching people how to respond if their right to vote was challenged. On Mark Thompson's SiriusLeft show, Make It Plain, listeners were given a toll-free number for the Election Protection Coalition.

It all added up, said Jealous and Gaskins, to a profound determination on the part of people of color not to be deprived of their right to vote -- a right won with the blood of those who went not too long before them. In some parts of the U.S., it’s easy to forget, black people have only had access to the polls for less than 50 years.

Speaking on CurrentTV, former vice president Al Gore compared the current voting crisis fomented by Republican officials to the bad old days of segregation. Gore said, as reported by Mediaite:

“It is a strategy, and it is a strategy that is a direct descendant of the racist Jim Crow tactics that were used in the wake of the Civil War to prevent black people from voting, It’s more sophisticated now, it’s dressed up in different types of language – but it is un-American, it is wrong, it is a disgrace to this country, and there ought to be a bipartisan movement to say enough of this."

Meanwhile, the harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric of Republicans may have helped push up the turnout of Latinos who, for the first time, made up 10 percent of the electorate -- up one point from 2008, according to Richard Dunham of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Adele M. Stan is a journalist based in Washington, D.C., who specializes in covering the intersection of religion and politics. She is RH Reality Check's senior Washington correspondent.

 
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