Turnout suppression

Written By: - Date published: 10:57 am, February 27th, 2008 - 6 comments
Categories: International - Tags:

Paul Weyrich, co-founder of the conservative US think tank The Heritage Foundation (which has links to our very own Maxim Institute) once famously remarked:

“I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of the people. They never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our [the right’s] leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

Around the world the right has tried a range of measures to suppress turnout: legislating to limit early voting, database matching, literacy tests and restrictions on late enrollment.

Until recently, some of these limits on democratic participation were the norm here in New Zealand. Prior to 1999, for example, enrollments closed on Writ Day, around a month before the date of the election (you can now enrol up to the day before the election) and enrollment was not continuous meaning that electors were periodically deleted from the roll.

Ruralvotes.com has this on a recent example of Republican-led turnout suppression in the US:

Texas Republicans have worked overtime to make it harder for key Democratic voting groups to vote and be represented fairly. The redistricting games they’ve played are infamous. And for the Prairie View A&M University precincts, they put the early-polling place more than seven miles from the school.

So what did the students in this video do? They shut down the highway as they marched seven miles to cast their votes on the first day of early voting.

6 comments on “Turnout suppression”

  1. the principle means of turnout suppression in NZ practices by the right, with the implicit collusion with the msm, is the promotion of voter cynicism.
    cynical political coverage promotes the highest levels of voter disengagement in the poor and poorly educated. with the wealthy and well educated, voting is more likely to persist even if cynicism is high.
    it’s a clever and effective strategy. elites can rule with minority mandates because the masses have been convinced that “they’re all the same anyway” and “voting makes no difference”.

  2. Brownie 2

    “with the implicit collusion with the msm”

    Jeez sprout. I suggest you change your name to Mulder cause the paranoia level and conspiracy theorism meter is off the charts!!!

    The MSM colluding, whether intentionally or unintentionaly, with the right is a work of pure madness.

    Suggest valium, sprout ol’ chap cause obviously the booze ain’t working anymore.

  3. it’s more accidental and structural than intentional, that’s why used ‘implicit’.

    the “they’re all the same” stems in large part from morselized, decontextualized coverage, and the personalized, episodic coverage of politics that overlooks structural influences on political action. “voting makes no difference” also arise from the above, but is further promoted by the almost total absence of policy analysis and its societal effects.

    it’s mostly the political economy of audience driven media that gives rise to these aspects of political coverage, although many of our political journalists, and certainly most of their editors, seem happy to promote a cynical interpretation of political behaviour whenever they can – after all, it’s easier, less polarizing and cheaper journalism than providing contextualized analyses of various positions’ relative merits.

    you see brownie you don’t have to be a conspiracist, you just have to think a bit more than a talkback listener, or read a bit more than Tom Clancy. but i can understand why you might feel threatened by the possiblity that msm are anything but politically neutral.

  4. Dean 4

    Sprout, I’m not sure I’ve read anything quite so unfounded in a long, long time. Either you honestly believe this or you have a very short memory – or is it both? In any case, I’m sure you’re aware that the Herald was often nicknamed the “Pravda Herald”.

    Now, why do you think this was? Any ideas?

  5. don’t be botherin yur head with none of that book learnin Deano

  6. Dean 6

    Sprout, so you’re unwilling or unable to debate the point then? Or you don’t have a clue as to what I’m talking about? Either way its not a good look, but by all means please continue to degenerate into the lowest common denominator. It’s amusing.

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