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Monday, June 21, 2021

Move along, no voter suppression here in Indiana

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Whenever I hear about alleged voter suppression, all I have to say is “seriously”? And lately, there has been a lot of talk about voter suppression, for example, during the 50th anniversary of the March on Selma.

No offense, but being attacked with dogs and water hoses while trying to exercise your constitutional rights is voter suppression. Having to show an ID is not. Having to pay a poll tax before you can vote is suppression, having three weeks to vote before Election Day, rather than four is not. See where this is going?

Even in Indiana the moaning of alleged voter suppression is alive and well. The one bill that comes to mind is one that would eliminate straight-ticket voting. Democrats say this will result in longer wait times at the polls and turn people away.

Really?! Let me see if I get this. A bill that would require you to actually LOOK at the names on the ballot for each office and choose one is bad, but just blindly walking in and voting a party is good?

And by the way, eliminating straight-ticket voting doesn’t mean you can’t vote a straight party. You just have to do it one office at a time. Clutch the pearls!  

Also, where is the evidence of this alleged voter suppression? One would assume it should be pretty easy to find because all you have to do is look at voting trends.

Here’s what turnout was in the last few state elections:

2014 – 30 percent, 1.38 million

2012 – 58 percent, 2.07 million

2010 – 41 percent, 1.52 million

2008 – 62 percent, 2.14 million

2006 – 40 percent, 1.54 million

And here’s what it was in Marion County:

2014 – 24.6 percent, 168,000

2012 – 56 percent, 361,000

2011 – 30 percent, 181,000

2010 – 37 percent, 216,000

2008 – 55 percent, 381,000

2007 – 26 percent, 166,000

2006 – 33 percent, 203,000

It seems to me that voting patterns have been pretty consistent over time. So once again, where is this supposed voter disenfranchisement?

It’s not dogs and water hoses that are keeping voters from the polls, it’s a disinterested public that’s staying away due to a lack of quality candidates who can’t articulate issues.    

And I would submit to you, that the last thing the political class wants, regardless of party, is high voter turnout.

I researched some voting data in Marion County and I found that the largest bloc of voters are independents. That doesn’t do Republicans and Democrats any good because no one is for sure where those people will go when they go to the polls. But hard Ds and Rs can always be counted on to show up and cast a ballot.

So if you want to know what’s keeping people away from the polls, it’s the voter who doesn’t think their votes matter because of political bickering, gerrymandering and lackluster candidates.  

Abdul-Hakim Shabazz is an attorney, political commentator and publisher of IndyPolitics.org. You can email him at abdul@indypolitics.org.

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