“If you’re too sorry or lazy”

Speaking of Alabama, and voting, and voting rights, and Shelby v Holder, and voting rights, and voting rights, and voting rights

This time last year, Alabama’s chief elections official landed in the national spotlight for delivering a screed against nonvoters that many people interpreted as an attack on African Americans in the state, who have long faced barriers to voting. “If you’re too sorry or lazy to get up off of your rear and to go register to vote, or to register electronically, and then to go vote, then you don’t deserve that privilege,” Republican John Merrill said in an interview with documentary filmmaker Brian Jenkins. Jenkins had asked why he opposed automatically registering Alabamians when they reach voting age, and his response sizzled with anger toward people who “think they deserve the right because they’ve turned 18.” So he made a pledge: “As long as I’m secretary of state of Alabama, you’re going to have to show some initiative to become a registered voter in this state.”

“If you’re too sorry or lazy to get up off of your rear”…yeah that’s about as clear a dog whistle as you could ask for. That’s not meant to conjure up a mental image of sorry lazy white people.

And he’s been doing what he promised, too.

When the votes are tallied Tuesday night, what won’t be counted is how many people might have voted if not for the restrictive voting laws in place in the state. In a close election, the actions of Merrill and the GOP could help elect Moore.

Well that’s the point, isn’t it. Exclude as many black people as possible and elect racist shitheads.

In recent years, Alabama Republicans have taken steps to protect their grip on power by making it harder for African Americans and Latinos to vote. They passed a law requiring voters to show a government-issued photo ID, a measure that has been found to disproportionately disenfranchise African Americans and Latinos, who are more likely to lack such an ID and face impediments to getting one. The ID law also applied to absentee voting, which is used by many elderly black voters in rural counties, who now must mail in copies of their photo IDs with their ballots. 

In rural counties, where there aren’t shops with copy machines on every corner – where, in fact, the nearest copy machine is probably a long drive away. That’ll block a lot of votes!

They reformed campaign finance laws to weaken the political organizations that mobilize African American voters. They closed 31 DMV offices across the state, disproportionately affecting rural majority-black counties.

Since Shelby v Holder Alabama has closed about 200 voting precincts, making it a bigger pain to vote in the ones that remain.

White supremacy isn’t dead yet.

7 Responses to ““If you’re too sorry or lazy””