Maryann Tobin

On Monday, Ohio election board Republican Doug Preisse admitted that the goal of voter ID laws are to stop African Americans from voting.

Preisse told the Columbus Dispatch in an email: “I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine.” He also called, "Claims of unfairness by Ohio Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern and others 'Bullshit.' Quote me!,” according to the Ohio Dispatch report.

A horrible picture is emerging all over America. And as it comes into focus, as it has in the past few weeks, it is one of hate, division and racism. It is also the greatest assault on free elections and democracy witnessed in generations.

Despite what some believe, it is now virtually impossible to hide the deep distain of Republicans for African Americans. But their efforts to "fix" the next election through voter suppression does not end with black voters. Voter ID laws, all implemented in Republican-controlled state legislatures, have been targeting the poor, elderly, Hispanic, and other non-white voting groups. If you do not believe that is evidence of racism and discrimination, you need a dictionary.

Some judges have halted voter ID laws, but others, particularly Republican appointees, have upheld these laws which will stop millions of Americans from voting.

Voter suppression has become an epidemic ahead of the 2012 elections.

In Florida, the Polk Ledger reported that "a former state GOP chairman… claims that the party tried to suppress black voters."

In a court deposition in July, former Florida GOP Chair Jim Greer said he was "concerned about what people knew about a secret arrangement he made to get a share of party donations," which included stopping black voters from voting, the Ledger report added.

In Ohio, early voting has been the target of Republican election officials. First, early voting hours were extended only in Republican counties. Then under public pressure, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted made early voting hours uniform, but limited them to weekdays only, effectively preventing traditional Sunday voting by African American church-goers.

In Florida, Republican Governor Rick Scott signed voter ID restrictions into law, then began to purge voting rolls, targeting Hispanic voters. Cuts in early voting also took aim at voting groups that gave President Obama Florida's 27 electoral votes in 2008. The federal Department of Justice ordered Governor Scott to stop because the efforts were discriminatory. But Scott has continued his push to stop more than 180,000 Americans from voting in Florida.

While some Republicans claim the goal is to stop fraud by people impersonating registered voters, others have admitted it's really all about winning elections for Republican candidates by cheating because there is no evidence to support claims that voting fraud is a problem.

Pennsylvania House Leader, Republican Mike Turzai admitted the true object behind the new voter ID laws. In a now-famous video, Turzai said strict new voting laws would help Republicans "win the state," in the 2012 elections.

That goal is best achieved by blocking votes by as many Americans as possible who might cast a vote for a Democrat.

In the past 30 years, there have not been so many obvious efforts to stop Americans from voting. This is what democracy has been reduced to in the United States of America in 2012.

When new voter ID laws threaten to stop 5 million Americans from voting, it is difficult to call it democracy anymore.

If you like to write about U.S. politics and Campaign 2012, enter "The American Pundit" competition. Allvoices is awarding four $250 prizes each month between now and November. These monthly winners earn eligibility for the $5,000 grand prize, to be awarded after the November election.


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Sources linked to within text.