06 Jun 2012 Election Monitors or Enforcers in Wisconsin? Project 21’s Green Wants to Know
As Wisconsin voters went to the polls yesterday in the state’s special recall election, federal monitors from the Justice Department were on hand to watch them.
They weren’t there to make sure no one voted in anyone else’s name. They weren’t there to stop any members of the New Black Panther Party from intimidating voters outside polling places. They weren’t there to ensure out-of-staters participating in the campaign didn’t take advantage of Wisconsin’s same-day voter registration.
No. The federal overseers were there to make sure anyone in the city of Milwaukee who spoke Spanish and wanted help voting got everything they desired. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 requires certain areas to offer foreign language assistance.
Taxpayer-funded monitors similarly oversaw Spanish-language assistance in elections yesterday in California’s Fresno County and Riverside County and for Native American translation in Sandoval County and Cibola County in New Mexico and Shannon County in South Dakota. Alameda County, California had to accommodate Spanish-speakers as well as Chinese, Vietnamese and Filipinos.
All of this didn’t sit well with Project 21 spokesman Derryck Green, who was wary of why the Obama Justice Department seems to be selective in protecting against voting violations. Derryck said:
I find this action on the part of the Obama Justice Department particularly curious.
First off, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was put in place to prevent the disfranchisement of and discrimination against minority voters in southern states. All the cities in which these election monitors were sent were nowhere near the South.
Second, Attorney General Eric Holder’s civil rights attorneys are suing several states — Texas and South Carolina, at present — for trying to prevent voter fraud through laws requiring government-issued identification in order to receive a ballot. Holder seems to deem these new laws as racist. Holder has also said that voter ID laws are discriminatory and that voter identity theft isn’t that common. Yet he sends federal monitors out at taxpayer expense to try and prevent other potential voting violations?
So let me get this straight. Requiring identification before voting may be racist and not worth enforcing, but there’s apparently ample reason to believe people who can’t speak English — or can’t speak it well — are at risk of losing their votes?
What exactly was the reason these so-called election monitors were dispersed, especially to Wisconsin — where the recall vote could have potential national repercussions? Were these monitors sent to prevent violations or encourage them? Say what you will, but it seems that Holder’s Justice Department is rife with hypocrisy.