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Tennessee Lawmakers Attempt To Criminalize Voter Registration, Get Told HELL NO By Everyone

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Since the election of President Donald Trump, Republicans across the country have felt empowered to stand behind their prejudices and voice their racist and xenophobic views publicly. Ever since he became President of the United States and leader of the free world, we have seen a shocking increase in the amount of racial hate taking place in America. And when it comes to GOP state lawmakers, things are no different. In Tennessee, it was recently revealed that Republicans are desperately trying to push through clearly racist electoral reforms, but they are running into more obstacles than they ever could have imagined:

Activists are vowing to fight back after the Tennessee House of Representatives advanced a bill Monday that would impose fines on voter registration organizations that turn in incomplete forms. The legislation would impose fines ranging from $150 to $2,000 if groups turn in between 100 to 500 unfinished forms. If a group turns more than 500 incomplete forms, they could face fines up to $10,000. Additionally, the legislation would require the groups to submit voter registration forms within 10 days and would also prohibit poll watchers from out of state.

Voting rights activists mobilized quickly to demonstrate their opposition to the measure. “Everyone was all hands on deck,” Tequila Johnson, statewide manager of the Tennessee Black Voter Project, told ThinkProgress Tuesday. “We got as many supporters as we could to come and show support and there were probably 200 people [there].” Protesters gathered inside and outside the state capitol building, Johnson said, including inside the chamber, where they were told they needed to be silent. The legislators themselves, however, were cheering and clapping, she said. “They were antagonizing us… It shows how divisive our state legislature is,” she said, adding that she felt the lawmakers were treating the bill like a competition, rather than thinking “about what’s right for our state.”

Social science studies have proven time and time again that this exact type of voter reform is what leads to racial discrimination at the ballot box. It has been scientifically shown on countless occasions that these kinds of ID checks always disproportionately affect members of ethnic minority groups, resulting in a wildly unrepresentative electorate, with white majorities able to suppress the will of already marginalized communities. This, of course, makes it much easier for those Republicans to stay in power, because ethnic minorities overwhelmingly vote blue. And that, in their minds, justifies the blatant affront to democracy that it involves.


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