To Rig an Election — An Assault on the American Freedoms

Gerrymandering (verb). Flashback it is 2008, Hussein Obama, bright eyed and bushy tailed, takes home a sweeping victory, 365:173. And here, the Long Game begins, the GOP steadfast latched on to a scheme called REDMAP (Redistricting Majority Project).

According to Edison Research, the estimated national turnout for the 2018 midterm election was approximately 49 percent of America’s eligible voters. Frankly, America needs to address the broader issue, if voter turnout is 49 percent. The problem is NOT apathy or disillusionment on the impact of a democratic process. Let’s take a step back. Why does it take hours to queue to vote? Why is it midweek?

Compared to the UK. We are talking decent length queuing times. Voting by post. A choice of several polling stations to go to near work or home. Generally, a relatively more sophisticated structure and process in place around voter registration (not the ‘kerfuffle’ around matching voter IDs).

It was reported by the Guardian that, “Voters around the US fought long lines, broken machines, power outages and even a surprise foreclosure to cast their ballots, with election watchers reporting a surge in turnout anyway.” The argument -the Republicans have the majority in the Senate because the US has continued to experience century-long, well-established voter suppression strategies that are legally constructed to skew the very demographic invited to participate in the democratic process.

Looking back to 1965, the Voting Rights Act allowed the federal government to dismantle certain state-level legislation. This largely impacted the Southern States, African-American voter registration rates in Mississippi increased from a mere 6.7 percent in 1965 to 59.8 percent in 1967. Agreed. A battle was won by repealing statute which ended the use Literacy Tests to assess voter eligibility; but the war, on giving Americans the basic freedoms they are immensely vocal about -as a country- is nowhere near started, let alone completed.

Freedom of Expression: An Analysis

The Human Rights Act 1998 grounded in EU Law (Protocol 1 Article 3 European Convention on Human Rights) -requires the British government to support rights to freedom of expression by holding free elections. Keyword: Freedom of Expression. Let’s now compare the Act to its US equivalent. The First Amendment codifies some of the rights afforded to America’s people and the Supreme Court is in agreement that these codified rights run supreme –refer to US v Stevens [2010] if reading the case tickles your fancy. Essentially the wording in the US Bill of Rights unequivocally places a stronger emphasis on freedom of expression.

Clearly, the codification of a constitution at a Federal level is useful but creating a consensus on its interpretation at a state level is where a spanner is thrown in the works.

For the avoidance of doubt, a Supremacy Clause runs free in the US but there is disparity in its effect. In instances where state law contradicts federal law, a state can continue along its own path with supremacy ending at its borders. Alternatively, state law would be up for interpretation. For the US Law Geeks — we would consider a State’s “authoritative constructions” in interpreting a state law — Forsyth County v Nationalist Movement [1992].

Here is where it gets interesting; a deeper dive into certain legislation demonstrates that the very construction of certain state law is wildly subjective, to ends where enforcement of highly subjective laws would be unreasonable -Minnesota Voters Alliance v Mansky [2018]. Mansky, a supreme court decision, also provides legal debate and draws the lines on where a political campaign can stop, beyond the doors of a polling station? Perhaps.

Suffice to say, in these instances, it would be up to interpretation by a Judge in the US Supreme Court (the likes of Kava-NO) nominated by our boy T-Dogg, to opine on what your glorified “exemplary model” of a codified constitution even says about what American “freedoms” even are.

Dare I say, rigging an election in America is a seamless process.

The North Dakota law — a state law — which requires that voters present identification displaying a street address, not just a P.O. box — disproportionately affected Native Americans on reservations, where street addresses are uncommon. After an October ruling from U.S. Supreme Court allowing the law to take effect, tribal leaders spent weeks scrambling to print ID cards for tribal members and assign street addresses. The view that is being edged on here is that perhaps GOP legislatures (i.e. those with a majority in the Senate) are playing the Long Game, installing permanent minority rule that has been weaved into legislation via state laws, and thus impacting generations of Americans by disenfranchising whole ethnic groups.

Dare I say, rigging an election in America is a seamless process. Ethnicity is heavily intertwined into the political process, particularly in a country that is severely limited to viewing itself through a kaleidoscope of deep-set and long-standing discrimination. It is apparently only in America where you can sit down with your political consultants, group voters and make largely accurate assumptions based on small sample sizes that sit squarely within your 98 percent confidence intervals. Put simply, implementing state laws that have the effect of exclusion by ethnicity guarantees your minority rule.

Gerrymandering. The act of carving out districts that methodically favour the GOP neutralising support for the Democrats.

Exhibit 1 — Gill v. Whitford [2018], in a continued and meticulous siege on basic American ‘freedoms’, the Wisconsin Legislature did what now? It follows on that the Supreme Court decided not to decide Wisconsin’s gerrymandering case. Instead, the court remanded the case back to Wisconsin district court to give the plaintiffs “an opportunity” to provide better evidence.

Again your Supreme Court nominated by the ‘wonderful’ Trump-meister, decides not to opine. Solutions, please. Surely, something can be done and this can be reversed? Well, district lines are only drawn once a decade, in conjunction with the census, the next one? 2020.

Any publicity is good publicity they cry. Come the next presidential election, at least the Democrats are ‘not’ continuing with their strategy of leveraging the amount of attention celebrity endorsements attract. Apparently, they have finally caught wind of the redistricting game, and are scuffling to correct this predicament. But what the Democrats needed to do last night was win themselves back seats at the table for a redistricting after 2020.

To close, I invite you to a game of BINGO. A hint for anyone struggling, the theme here is: “interfere in the election to benefit…”

Exhbit A1 — “The Guardian — Ugandan elections marred by shambolic polls and claims of fraud”

Exhibit A2 — “The Guardian — Voters nationwide face difficulties as Georgia sued over election ‘interference”

And that folks encompasses the mechanics behind how you rig an election in a “democracy”, where a codified constitution details your freedoms.

Trump 2020. Let’s all remember that I called it.