Rush Limbaugh Lies About Black Voter Suppression

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On the 6/18 broadcast of the Rush Limbaugh Show, a caller raised the issue of Republican efforts to suppress black votes through passing unreasonable voting restrictions.

Rush Limbaugh denied that such an effort had taken place:

"There's no way.................. that the Republican Party can suppress... the black vote.... in demonstrably black districts. It isn't physically possible. How are they gonna do it? Are they gonna go in there in these districts that are run by blacks and somehow sabotage the buses? No, it's the Democrats that did that in Milwaukee by slitting the tires. How are these Republicans suppressing the black vote? There's no evidence for it. It's just a lie that the Democrats tell that sticks because of other lies they've told before that.

And the big lie is that Republicans are racists. So African-Americans hear this for 50 years, and then the Democrats come out -- The right demer Jesse Jackson, Sharpton, whoever -- and starts talking about Republicans suppressing the black vote? "Oh, yeah? Well, I'll show you! I voted for Bush but no more." That's how they do it. Howd Howda Republicans suppress the black vote?"

However, the truth is that the campaign cycle of 2012 saw the greatest assault on voting rights since the post-Civil War era--when poll taxes and literacy tests were used to prevent African Americans from voting.

This very real voter suppression campaign was based on the myth of voter fraud . Despite claims by people like Rush Limbaugh that our nation has a rampant voter fraud problem which is skewing election results, studies have found that

"...voter fraud is very rare, voter impersonation is nearly non-existent and much of the problems associated with alleged fraud in elections relates to unintentional mistakes by voters or election administrators....Most allegations of fraud turn out to be baseless - and of the few allegations remaining, most reveal election irregularities and other forms of election misconduct."

While the voter fraud "problem" is nothing more than a fabrication, voter suppression is not. Consider the following attempts made to prevent poor minority voters from participating in the elections of 2012:

The Florida legislature reduced the state's early voting window from two weeks to eight days. The move expressly took out the Sunday before Election Day, the date when black churches organized successful statewide "Souls to the Polls" campaigns encouraging their congregants to vote. Former Florida Republican Party Chair Jim Greeradmitted the party held meetings about strategies (including reductions in early voting) for "keeping blacks from voting."

Less than eight months before Election Day, Pennsylvania passed one of the nation's strictest photo ID laws -- despite the state's admission that there had never been a single instance of voter impersonation in the state, even though more than 750,000 registered voters in the state lacked the required forms of identification, and the state had no plan for issuing enough ID cards in time. If there were any doubts of the partisan motive, Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai put them to rest after boasting that the law would "allow Governor Romney to win."

During the final weeks before Election Day, Wisconsin and Ohio, billboards popped up in primarily African-American neighborhoods, depicting a gavel and ominously threatening, "Voter Fraud is a Felony! Up to 3 1/2 yrs and a $10,000 Fine" -- clearly designed to intimidate and confuse people of color away from voting.

The Lone Star State geared up for a number of voting changes beginning in 2011, designed to make voting harder in 2012. First, state lawmakers passed a strict photo ID law that made only five documents acceptable for voting: a state-issued driver's license or identification card, a military photo ID, a passport, a U.S. citizenship certificate with a photo, or a concealed-carry handgun license. They followed up with a redistricting plan that changed districts belonging to incumbents of color, while making no such alterations to districts represented by White incumbents.

Despite conservative efforts to stifle their voices, African American voter turnout rates for the 2012 election exceeded that of their white counterparts .

Rush Limbaugh's lies about black voter suppression can be overcome with a few clicks of the mouse. It's a shame so few of his fans are interested in taking the time to research his ludicrous claims.


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