Jim Crow Revived in Cyberspace

By Martin Luther King III and Greg Palast
(Martin Luther King III is head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Greg Palast is the author of the bestseller "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy."

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Astonishingly, and sadly, four decades after the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. marched in Birmingham, we must ask again, "Do African-Americans have the unimpeded right to vote in the United States?"

In 1963, Dr. King's determined and courageous band faced water hoses and police attack dogs to call attention to the thicket of Jim Crow laws -- including poll taxes and so-called "literacy" tests -- that stood in the way of black Americans' right to have their ballots cast and counted.

Today, there is a new and real threat to minority voters, this time from cyberspace: computerized purges of voter rolls.

The menace first appeared in Florida in the November 2000 presidential election. While the media chased butterfly ballots and hanging chads, a much more sinister and devastating attack on voting rights went almost undetected.

In the two years before the elections, the Florida secretary of state's office quietly ordered the removal of 94,000 voters from the registries. Supposedly, these were convicted felons who may not vote in Florida. Instead, the overwhelming majority were innocent of any crime, though just over half were black or Hispanic.

We are not guessing about the race of the disenfranchised: A voter's color is listed next to his or her name in most Southern states. (Ironically, this racial ID is required by the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a King legacy.)

How did mass expulsion of legal voters occur?

At the heart of the ethnic purge of voting rights was the creation of a central voter file for Florida placed in the hands of an elected, and therefore partisan, official. Computerization and a 1998 "reform" law meant to prevent voter fraud allowed for a politically and racially biased purge of thousands of registered voters on the flimsiest of grounds.

Voters whose name, birth date and gender loosely matched that of a felon anywhere in America were targeted for removal. And so one Thomas Butler (of several in Florida) was tagged because a "Thomas Butler Cooper Jr." of Ohio was convicted of a crime. The legacy of slavery -- commonality of black names -- aided the racial bias of the "scrub list."

Florida was the first state to create, computerize and purge lists of allegedly "ineligible" voters. Meant as a reform, in the hands of partisan officials it became a weapon of mass voting rights destruction. (The fact that Mr. Cooper's conviction date is shown on state files as "1/30/2007" underscores other dangers of computerizing our democracy.)

You'd think that Congress and President Bush would run from imitating Florida's disastrous system. Astonishingly, Congress adopted the absurdly named "Help America Vote Act," which requires every state to replicate Florida's system of centralized, computerized voter files before the 2004 election.

The controls on the 50 secretaries of state are few -- and the temptation to purge voters of the opposition party enormous.

African-Americans, whose vote concentrates in one party, are an easy and obvious target.

The act also lays a minefield of other impediments to black voters: an effective rollback of the easy voter registration methods of the Motor Voter Act; new identification requirements at polling stations; and perilous incentives for fault-prone and fraud-susceptible touch-screen voting machines.

No, we are not rehashing the who-really-won fight from the 2000 presidential election. But we have no intention of "getting over it." We are moving on, but on to a new nationwide call and petition drive to restore and protect the rights of all Americans and monitor the implementation of frighteningly ill-conceived new state and federal voting "reform" laws.

And so on Sunday in Birmingham we marched again as our fathers and mothers did 40 years ago, this time demanding security against the dangerous "Floridation" of our nation's voting methods through computerization of voter rolls.

Four decades ago, the opposition to the civil right to vote was easy to identify: night riders wearing white sheets and burning crosses. Today, the threat comes from partisan politicians wearing pinstripe suits and clutching laptops.

Jim Crow has moved into cyberspace -- harder to detect, craftier in operation, shifting shape into the electronic guardian of a new electoral segregation.


Martin Luther King III is president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Greg Palast is author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, and his investigation of computer purges of black voters appeared in Harper's Magazine.

Greg Palast's completely updated US. edition of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, now in its tenth week on the NYT bestseller list, is available from Penguin Plume at booksellers and via www.gregpalast.com.
 
 BLACK by NATURE, PROUD by CHOICE.
Original Post
You're kidding.. you link A to B, B to D, D to F, F to C, C to E, and E to G.. and all of a sudden now A is out to get G.. Give me a break.

THE HORRIBLE RACISTS ARE OUT TO GET YOU!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAH!!!! It's a friggin' oversight, there's no way that someone can go completely through every single name of some tens or hundreds of thousands of voters to make sure they're not a criminal. They took a quick way out and it didn't work out correctly. So they OBVIOUSLY must be racist.

*(#@% you and your damn race card already. Every time something happens that you don't like and that could be remotely considered racist, out it comes.. "THEY'RE BEING RACIST AGAINST US!!!" I'm sick of idiots like you who pull that crap. You're tearing this country apart, pitting whites against blacks, blacks against hispanics, hispanics against whites, asians against blacks.. whatever you can to suit your agenda.

And on another note.. why do African Americans vote mostly democrat? As a race I see absolutely no benefit for African Americans to vote Democrat.

92% of Republicans supported Civil Rights, 62% of democrats.
Abraham Lincoln (republican) chose to free the slaves, and had plans to give reparations to freed slaves IMMEDIATELY, to try to make some sort of fair chance from the start. Democrats wouldn't allow it.
Democrats believe in Affirmative Action, which basically states that blacks and other minorities aren't smart enough to study hard during school and get good grades (the best way to learn is self-teaching), or at least learn basics from their parents, or even at worst to seek out someone (there's plenty of private organizations such as Churches) to tutor them if the school REALLY isn't doing the job right. So instead Affirmative Action tells people that they're not good enough on their own, that they need a little boost. Democrats support that. Republicans oppose it because they seek to provide unequal results through equal opportunity. Republicans seek to enforce the laws that are in place on discrimination, discouraging the idiots who discriminate against people from doing so, and not penalizing those who actually obey the law and are fair to all people.

I could go on and on, but you get the point. African Americans are just as capable as anyone else to make something of themselves, but in the opinion of Clarence Mason Weaver (in his words, "a black man"), "The black culture that has come to exist in America is what is keeping blacks down in this country. Black kids excel in schools and they are made fun of for doing so. They're ridiculed and threatened by people that don't matter to them (their so-called "friends", real friends (such as family) wouldn't do that, and their family usually supports them) and they say that if they do well they're betraying their race and their people, and they're being like whitey if they do that, or if they go out on their own). Just like slaves who warned others that "If they leave the plantation, they're going to get killed, to stay there, master takes care of them, and they're betraying the other slaves if they leave". Some were even put in charge by the slave owner to report on any other slaves thinking of escaping, and they were given priveledge in return for their (true) betrayal to the other slaves. He would petition the master for better treatment, and make sure slaves weren't treated unfairly, but would rat on the ones who sought to escape. Jesse Jackson plays this role today, which side of the political fence does he sit on?

Democrats are equivalent to the slave owners. They'll take care of us, don't you worry, just like master took care of the slaves. Republicans are equivalent to Harriet Tubman, seeking out individual PRISONERS (not slaves, slaves don't want to leave the plantation) and bringing them to freedom where they fend for themselves and become successful. Harriet Tubman didn't take whole lumps of people just to say she freed a large number of slaves, she only went to those whom she knew wanted to be free. Those are the only ones who will be able to benefit from their assistance. Democrats just take a blanket and think it'll solve all the problems.

Evil can only triumph when good men do nothing.
Barwick, look at this data from Human Rights Watch, and tell me again that there is no racial motivation to these purges of voter lists. And do try to say it with a straight face, OK?

The last column of this table gives the % of adult black males that are currently disenfranchized in each state.

Human Rights Watch Report: Losing the Vote

State

Total Felons

Rate for Total*

Black Men

Rate for Black Men**

Alabama

241,100

7.5%

105,000

31.5%

Alaska

4,900

1.2%

500

6.3%

Arizona

74,600

2.3%

6,600

12.1%

Arkansas

27,400

1.5%

10,700

9.2%

California

241,400

1.0%

69,500

8.7%

Colorado

15,700

0.6%

3,500

6.1%

Connecticut

42,200

1.7%

13,700

14.8%

Delaware

20,500

3.7%

8,700

20.0%

District of Columbia

8,700

2.0%

8,100

7.2%

Florida

647,100

5.9%

204,600

31.2%

Georgia

134,800

2.5%

66,400

10.5%

Hawaii

3,000

0.3%

100

0.9%

Idaho

3,800

0.5%

100

2.7%

Illinois

38,900

0.4%

24,100

4.5%

Indiana

16,800

0.4%

6,800

4.6%

Iowa

42,300

2.0%

4,800

26.5%

Kansas

7,800

0.4%

2,800

5.6%

Kentucky

24,000

0.8%

7,000

7.7%

Louisiana

26,800

0.9%

19,600

4.8%

Maine

0

0.0%

0

0.0%

Maryland

135,700

3.6%

67,900

15.4%

Massachusetts

0

0.0%

0

0.0%

Michigan

42,300

0.6%

22,700

5.4%

Minnesota

56,000

1.6%

7,200

17.8%

Mississippi

145,600

7.4%

81,700

28.6%

Missouri

58,800

1.5%

20,100

11.3%

Montana

2,100

0.3%

0

2.9%

Nebraska

11,900

1.0%

2,100

10.2%

Nevada

16,800

1.4%

4,000

10.0%

New Hampshire

2,100

0.2%

100

3.8%

New Jersey

138,300

2.3%

65,200

17.7%

New Mexico

48,900

4.0%

3,700

24.1%

New York

126,800

0.9%

62,700

6.2%

North Carolina

96,700

1.8%

46,900

9.2%

North Dakota

700

0.1%

0

1.1%

Ohio

46,200

0.6%

23,800

6.2%

Oklahoma

37,200

1.5%

9,800

12.3%

Oregon

7,300

0.3%

900

4.5%

Pennsylvania

34,500

0.4%

18,900

5.2%

Rhode Island

13,900

1.8%

2,800

18.3%

South Carolina

48,300

1.7%

26,100

7.6%

South Dakota

2,100

0.4%

100

3.5%

Tennessee

97,800

2.4%

38,300

14.5%

Texas

610,000

4.5%

156,600

20.8%

Utah

0

0.0%

0

0.0%

Vermont

0

0.0%

0

0.0%

Virginia

269,800

5.3%

110,000

25.0%

Washington

151,500

3.7%

16,700

24.0%

West Virginia

6,700

0.5%

900

4.4%

Wisconsin

48,500

1.3%

14,900

18.2%

Wyoming

14,100

4.1%

400

27.7%

         

U.S. Total

3,892,400

2.0%

1,367,100

13.1%

care to explain what this table means? How are these numbers at all related, they seem pretty independent of eachother until you explain what htey mean.

---------------------------------------
Evil can only triumph when good men do nothing.
Now, Now, Y'all ....

Barwick is obviously off of his medication right now and we should feel compassion for those of us that do not have benefit of being stable without a prescription!! Eek

Ricardomath .... great table!! Smile Ummm .... but I think you took this one too far too fast!!!! As you see, he started off with his A-B-C's .... and didn't even get [i[that[/i] right!! Eek So perhaps you should use the Mother Goose approach!! Big Grin
EbonyRose: From the Human Rights Watch Report: Losing the Vote
quote:

Most remarkably, in fourteen states, ex-offenders who have fully served their sentences nonetheless remain disenfranchised. Ten of these states disenfranchise ex-felons for life: Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Virginia, and Wyoming. Arizona and Maryland disenfranchise permanently those convicted of a second felony; and Tennessee and Washington disenfranchise permanently those convicted prior to 1986 and 1984, respectively. In addition, in Texas, a convicted felon's right to vote is not restored until two years after discharge from prison, probation or parole.

Disenfranchisement of ex-felons is imposed even if the offender was convicted of a relatively minor crime or even if the felon was never incarcerated. For example, Abran Ramirez was denied the ability to vote for life in California because of a twenty-year old robbery conviction, even though he had served only three months in jail and had successfully completed ten years of parole. Sanford McLaughlin was disenfranchised for life in Mississippi because he pled guilty to the misdemeanor of passing a bad $150 check. As Andrew Shapiro, an attorney who has closely studied criminal disenfranchisement, points out, "an eighteen-year-old first-time offender who trades a guilty plea for a lenient nonprison sentence (as almost all first-timers do, whether or not they are guilty) may unwittingly sacrifice forever his right to vote." Federal Judge Henry Wingate aptly described the political fate of the disenfranchised:

quote:
The disenfranchised is severed from the body politic and condemned to the lowest form of citizenship, where voiceless at the ballot box...the disinherited must sit idly by while others elect his civil leaders and while others choose the fiscal and governmental policies which will govern him and his family.




Barwick: Suppose that you want to know the % of Black men who are currently barred from voting in some state. Just look at the number in the 4th column. For example, in Florida 31.2% of Black men are barred from voting. That's almost 1/3! And that doesn't even include those who were taken off of the lists in "error". (BTW, in Florida, like the state of Iowa, where I live, if you are disenfranchised, it is for life!)

Felony disenfranchisement is the modern day equivilant of other ostensibly race-neutral voting barriers of the past, such as literacy and property tests, and poll taxes.

"La vida te da sorpresas...
Sorpresas te da la vida...",
¡Ay, Dios!

Rubén Blades---Pedro Navaja


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The Nuclear Resister
School of the Americas Watch



[This message was edited by ricardomath on June 26, 2003 at 09:10 PM.]


[This message was edited by ricardomath on June 26, 2003 at 09:11 PM.]
Does anyone know for a fact that this is not happening at all or to the same degree with White offenders/counterparts??

Just asking... Never seen a reference to that as to establish what the "common practice" is in a concrete manner.
Taking a quick look at the numbers for Alabama indicates that "Total Felons" and "Black Men" are two different groups.

"Black Men" numbering 105,000 have 33,075 banned from voting.

"Total Felons" numbering 241,100 have 18,082 banned from voting.

Therefore, at least, 14,993 "Black Men" are not included in the group of "Total Felons."

While not absolute in comparison, there is valid disparity shown.

Ricardomath if you know the character of the "Total Felons" data it would be helpful. I however the point is well made.

Thanks

PEACE

Jim Chester

JWC
quote:
Originally posted by Jim Chester:
Taking a quick look at the numbers for Alabama indicates that "Total Felons" and "Black Men" are two different groups.

"Black Men" numbering 105,000 have 33,075 banned from voting.

"Total Felons" numbering 241,100 have 18,082 banned from voting.

Therefore, at least, 14,993 "Black Men" are not included in the group of "Total Felons."

While not absolute in comparison, there is valid disparity shown.

Ricardomath if you know the character of the "Total Felons" data it would be helpful. I however the point is well made.

Thanks

PEACE

Jim Chester

JWC


Sorry about taking so long. I didn't notice this before, and just happened to be referring to this thread because this issue is currently being discussed over at P&P.

http://pub45.ezboard.com/fnfisgetoutthevotefrm3.showMessage?topicID=1223.topic

My interpretation is that the total population of Alabama was 3,214,667. Out of that 7.5%, or 214,100 were felons.

Similarly, there were 333,333 Black men in Alabama. Out of that, 31.5%, or 105,000, are felons.


"La vida te da sorpresas...
Sorpresas te da la vida...,
¡Ay, Dios!"

   Rubén Blades---Pedro Navaja   


Plowshares Actions
The Nuclear Resister
School of the Americas Watch


Cauca, Colombia


"Today, there is a new and real threat to minority voters, this time from cyberspace: computerized purges of voter rolls." MLK III

This is a real issue. But, it seems off the mark. It's not that we shouldn't be doing what is needed to keep this from happening. But what about the law that has already said the protection of the right to vote, on the basis of race and color" shall terminate? That law says that decision shall be reviewed. Congress fails/refuses to do it, and we, or leaders, ignore the disenfranchisement, change the subject and say "the threat" is in cyberspace.

I think Martin Luther King III, is deficient, defective, deluded into to thinking "Florida" is the way to "get the attention" of the American public. If he isn't, then he has been "bought out" by something or someone. He certainly can't be that stupid.

PEACE

Jim Chester



You are who you say you are. Your children are who you say you are.
Barwick posted,

Democrats are equivalent to the slave owners. They'll take care of us, don't you worry, just like master took care of the slaves. Republicans are equivalent to Harriet Tubman, seeking out individual PRISONERS (not slaves, slaves don't want to leave the plantation) and bringing them to freedom where they fend for themselves and become successful.

* So let me ask you Barwick,

Since republicans tend to disagree or fight against what the black collective sees as in their best interest from a policy standpoint, do you think the black collective cannot think for themselves correctly? Do you tend to think that blacks being majority democratic is a result of mis-thinking on their part? Like I ask black conservatives, do you really think the 92% of black people who are not conservatives are just dumb or do you think blacks have their reasons for not embracing that nonsense.......

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