CommunityPam's House Blend

Yet again, Bob Herbert has the goods on the GOP’s attempt to monkey with the vote. Now it’s voter suppression in Detroit.

More than 80 percent of the population of Detroit is black. This is very well understood by John Pappageorge, who is white and a Republican state legislator in Michigan. “If we do not suppress the Detroit vote,” said Mr. Pappageorge, “we’re going to have a tough time in this election.”

Oops! Republicans aren’t supposed to actually say they want to suppress black votes. That’s so retro. It’s so Jim Crow. This is the 21st century, and the thing now is to do the dastardly deed, but never ever acknowledge it.

That’s where our friend Pappageorge went wrong.

After his startling quote was published several weeks ago in The Detroit Free Press, Mr. Pappageorge, who is 73, apologized and said he certainly never meant to suggest that anything racist or illegal take place. But he reiterated to me in a phone conversation last Friday that he did indeed mean that the vote in Detroit needed to be kept down.

A lot of other Republicans have similar views about the vote in areas with large African-American populations. Most blacks vote Democratic. If those votes can be suppressed, Republicans benefit. And there is increasing evidence that a big effort to suppress the vote among blacks and some other heavily Democratic voting groups is under way, which is why it is important to keep the following phone number handy:

1-866-OUR VOTE.

That’s a hot line set up by the Election Protection Coalition, a group that was formed to identify and stamp out attempts to disenfranchise voters, especially in predominantly black and Latino precincts around the country.

On Election Day in November, the coalition expects to have as many as 25,000 volunteers, including 5,000 lawyers, available to provide assistance to voters who encounter irregularities or feel they are not being treated fairly at the polls. Voters who call the hot line will immediately be put in touch with volunteers in their local area.

Folks, keep that number handy. Especially if there are attempts to make people show ids at the polls or if you are voting on a touch screen device without a paper trail.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding