Sheinkopf Speaks: Getting Voter Rights Legislation Right

Hank Sheinkopf

There was a way they did the same thing some years back.

In Brooklyn, somebody who didn’t like the way things looked and how they were going on election day would go inside the voting booth, pull the curtain shut. Then he’d take pliers out of a coat or a pants pocket or from wherever, and before you knew it, the lever next to the name of the person whom they did not want to be elected was unelectable.

You could scream, yell, complain. You could jump up and down and say you knew Thomas Jefferson–never mind that he was long dead–that he was a pal and he would be rather upset when he learned democracy (after all Jefferson of Virginia was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence) relied on stopping a thug in a voting booth doing his worst in a place made dark by the pulling of a curtain. 

The old voting machines is gone. They were made obsolete by something called HAVA–Help America Voter Act–passed and funded by a U.S. Congress embarrassed by the now infamous but once unknown hanging Florida Chads, used to take the 2000 presidential victory from then Vice-President Albert Gore. The public be damned said US Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist. He must have been influenced by something now called in history the Brooks Brothers riot. Young men dressed as they used to when they headed to Wall Street to make their Waspy millions or to run off to meet women friends named Muffy or Buffy or some similar name took to Miami streets to tell the world they needed hanging chads to make a Republican the U.S. President. Best argument they had: old retired South Florida Jews had somehow become brain dead, tossed away decades of voting habits, and voted for whackos on a ballot line not related at all to the secular Jewish religion, Democrat. 

Things are less complicated now. You don’t need a pair of pliers to steal an election. Brooks brothers rioters can stay home.

All you need now is a law book and a bunch of people who’ve decided that the federal government is no longer capable of protecting citizens from losing their rights. Washington has no right at all to do anything the states don’t want it to do say these new voting machine smashers, soon to be known for what they are: election stealers. 

They are planning a region against region, state against state coup. Don’t like the choice of the majority? Do what you want in your home state. Get the electors–pledged to vote for the candidate who won the majority in your state–to vote for someone else. Attack and threaten violence and maybe even hurt maim or kill those who try to follow the law and the U.S. Constitution.

The cranky elite know-it-alls in states like New York will say if we just vote more it will work out well and we can keep looking down at all those folks in the south and the midwest. After all, what do they know?

They know something. They know how to get ready to make sure their electors get elected, electors who will vote how the coup-makers want. They know how to hate. They know how to stiffen regional resolve. They know how to rip apart a nation.

Does this mean we don’t need the John Lewis Act? We need more. We need to be prepared to make sure electors do the will of all the people, not some of the people.

You got answers to figure this one out? I don’t. But I do know if someone doesn’t figure this out soon, very soon, the stain of the tears on the face of the statue inside the Jefferson Memorial will never be dried. Ever.