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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

 

Creative ways to skin a cat

by Tom Sullivan

Thwarted by the NC Supreme Court in their effort to seize control of our local water system, a Republican legislator remarked, "there’s more than one way to skin a cat.” The NCGOP wants control of cities' infrastructure. Enjoined, they'll look for other ways to do it. Heads up.

There are plenty of creative ways to suppress the vote, too. Photo ID laws, citizenship requirements, curtailing voting hours, siting early voting locations in some neighborhoods and not others, eliminating Sunday voting, shorting voting machines in certain precincts, etc. Take away literacy tests and poll taxes and those determined to maintain their tribe's dominance in a diversifying country will find other ways to do it.

Bloomberg reports:

The U.S. Commerce Department announced on Monday that a question about citizenship status will be reinstated on the 2020 Census to help enforce the Voting Rights Act.

The decision by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross follows a request by the Justice Department to add the question, according to the statement.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and State Secretary Alex Padilla called the decision "insidious," an effort to "discourage noncitizens and their citizen family members from responding to the census, resulting in a less accurate population count." They write at the San Francisco Chronicle:

This request is an extraordinary attempt by the Trump administration to hijack the 2020 census for political purposes. Since the first day of his presidential campaign and through his first year in office, President Trump has targeted immigrants: vilifying them and attempting to exclude them from the country. Think travel bans, repeal of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, ramped up Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids that tear parents away from their children. Immigrants and their loved ones understandably are, and will be, concerned about how data collected in the 2020 Census will be used.

California, with its large immigrant communities, would be disproportionately harmed by depressed participation in the 2020 census. An undercount would threaten at least one of California’s seats in the House of Representatives (and, by extension, an elector in the electoral college.) It would deprive California and its cities and counties of their fair share of billions of dollars in federal funds.
California would not be the only target. Harry Enten of FiveThirtyEight tweets: Ari Berman of Mother Jones tweets, "Trump admin says citizenship question needed on 2020 census to enforce Voting Rights Act. That's total farce. Trump DOJ hasn't filed single lawsuit to enforce Voting Rights Act & is now supporting voting restrictions like TX voter ID law that courts said violate VRA."

Berman adds, "I spent time recently with immigrant groups in California's Central Valley for forthcoming @motherjones story. They all told me if Census added question about US citizenship none of them would respond to it. It will have devastating impact on accuracy & fairness of 2020 census."

Berman says that like lack of fairness is a bad thing. But it's just another way for Republicans to skin that cat. If only they were as creative in finding solutions to real problems America needs fixing.

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Request a copy of For The Win, my county-level election mechanics primer at tom.bluecentury at gmail.