What is Voter Suppression?

It occurs to me that I may not understand what “voter suppression” is.

While picking up a book at the library, I was approached by a man collecting petition signatures. The petition appeared to be for this initiative, which would automatically register people to vote while doing business at the DMV unless they specifically opted-out. This is slightly different than how it was explained to me by the man at the library. He said it was simply a way to update address information automatically and electronically as people changed their information with the DMV.

I was admittedly unfamiliar with this initiative when I was approached, so I didn’t have enough information to intelligently engage the signature seeker; however, I told him that if someone is not motivated to do something as simple as update their voter registration then maybe they shouldn’t vote.

He responded politely that he understood my confusion; that certainly wasn’t the case with this initiative. He explained that this initiative seeks to help young voters who are being prevented from voting simply because they don’t understand the importance of deadlines.

Of course, once he explained this to me I had a much better understanding. I told him, “Then maybe they shouldn’t vote.”

As I handed him the clipboard (sans my signature) he became offended and said, “But that’s suppression! That’s voter suppression!”

I’m not proud of what happened next. I said to him, “We’re in an election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. A little voter suppression would go a long way.” Then I wished him luck and left. My comment was apparently so egregious that he said nothing further. Well, not verbally, but I could tell by the look on his face that he thought I was either a monster or an idiot. I like to think I’m a little of both.

Do I have a fundamental misunderstanding about what “voter suppression” actually is? When I think about voter suppression I think of the New Black Panthers who stood outside a Philadelphia polling place with a weapon.

Or the actions of the local government in the Battle of Athens.

People can vote when they turn 18 because they’ve reached an “age of accountability”. For fun, here’s a dictionary definition of “accountability”:

accountability: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions

The way I read it, if someone fails to register to vote or update their voter information before the deadline then they must be accountable. If they fail to show responsibility then there are consequences. In this case, they cannot vote.

I’m sure these young voters understand the concept of deadlines. For example:

  • Be to work on time (DEADLINE!)
  • Make your car payment and pay utilities on time (DEADLINE!)
  • Show up to court for that speeding ticket on time (DEADLINE!)

Failure to meet any of these deadlines will certainly be met with a consequence.

The more I think about it, the sillier the idea becomes. When something appears silly on the surface, that usually means that there is a hidden reason behind the action – something other than the stated cause. I’ve thought about it for five seconds and I think I know what it is. Voters who are incapable of registering by the deadline are more likely to be uninformed voters. Uninformed voters are easier to manipulate. Progressive Democrat candidates are successful at manipulating the uninformed masses (we’ll call Donald Trump the outlier). So, this is just an attempt to form a new army of ill-informed sheeple.

Of course, it’s possible that I really just have no idea what “voter suppression” is.

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