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Voter fraud argument a red herring

The Honorable Ray Mabus
 

By Ray Mabus (original source Clarion Ledger)

“On May 18, Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson issued a statement on voting in the November election. He begins sensibly saying “we do not believe voters should have to choose between casting a ballot and risking their own health,” but those rational sentiments are quickly and completely overwhelmed by the delusional claim that his biggest job is to protect against the red herring of voter fraud.

By far the most disturbing language is his proclamation that limiting voting will uphold ‘Mississippi’s steadfast conservative values.’ In the shadow of Mississippi’s incredibly fraught history with voting, Watson rails against the bogeyman of potential voter fraud with the clear intent to keep minorities from voting.

The state has a long and shameful history of black voter disenfranchisement. During Jim Crow, it used poll taxes and “literacy tests” to deny the right to vote to black Mississippians. Some Mississippians used, and far too many more condoned, violence and terror to keep black Mississippians from even attempting to vote. Medgar Evers, Vernon Dahmer, Andrew Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and so many others were murdered for trying  to register people to vote.”

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