Van Hollen’€™s War Against African-American Voters

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J.B. Van Hollen’€™s frivolous lawsuit against the Government Accountability Board, (GAB) is political mischief that could complicate voting for as many as 1 million people in Wisconsin. One Wisconsin Now, the League of Women Voters, municipal clerks, the GAB itself and many others have taken a stand against J.B. Van Hollen. Now the Milwaukee chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Milwaukee Teachers Association are entering the fray.

Both organizations submitted a filing to the Dane County judge responsible for the case, arguing that Van Hollen’€™s checks are unreliable and could bar about 135,000 people who registered to vote in 2008 from the polls. The organizations also pointed to GAB figures that 15 percent of 53,515 registrants since August had failed the checks because of non-matches. Most of the non-matches are due to clerical errors, misspellings, a missing middle initial or an old address on a driver’€™s license. Even four of the six judges on the GAB board didn’€™t get exact matches.

The impact of Van Hollen’€™s suit would have a disproportionately strong impact on African-Americans in particular. The NAACP correctly stresses this point while stating that more than half of Milwaukee County’€™s African-American residents don’€™t have drivers licenses at all, much less ones with the most up to date information. If Van Hollen has his way, many of these legitimate voters could end up being disenfranchised on November 4. The fact that this same group of people are probably the least likely to support John McCain is really no coincidence. After all, J.B. Van Hollen is not only the highest ranking Republican in the state but he is also the co-chair for the John McCain campaign.

This is the very same J.B. Van Hollen that has helped set up an election ‘€œtaskforce’€ that appears to only exist to look over Milwaukee voter’€™s shoulders. Even though the facts don’€™t show widespread voter fraud in Milwaukee, J.B. Van Hollen wants to treat the voters of Wisconsin’€™s only minority-majority city as a large group of suspects. Apparently he is willing to do absolutely anything to get a win for John McCain, even if that means misusing his official office to disenfranchise entire segments of people.

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