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GOP Targets African-American Women in Voter Suppression Efforts

Ever since 1980, African American women have been decisive in creating a gender gap that has helped elect Democratic Presidents.

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Civil Right advocates rightly call this disenfranchisement our new Jim Crow laws.

Across the country, civil rights groups continue to sue states that have passed laws to suppress voters, something that still may surprise a great number of Americans, not to mention the rest of the world. Meanwhile, the election looms closer and people who cannot meet the new requirements get fed up, feel helpless, and are less likely to go to the polling place on Election Day.

So this is America in 2012, a democracy in rapid decline. On August 21, TalkingPoints Memo  reported that:

“The GOP platform committee adopted language on Tuesday supporting states that have passed voter ID and proof of citizenship laws. The citizenship amendment, proposed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), would support laws that make voters prove their citizenship before they are allowed on the voter rolls.”

When the Supreme Court  decided in a  landmark case that the  First Amendment allowed corporations and unions to give any amount of money to candidates, they turned elections into a arms race for campaign donations. The suppression of voters is the final unraveling of what used to be viewed as a democratic nation.

It is not too soon to ask the international community to monitor the 2012 American election. This is an emergency.


Ruth Rosen, a former columnist for the Los Angeles Times, is a Professor Emeriti of History at U.C. Davis and a Scholar in Residence at the Center for the Study of Right-Wing Movements at U.C. Berkeley. Her most recent book is "The World Split Open: How the Modern Women’s Movement Changed America."

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