How to Keep your Power
Voting may be one of the ficklest processes in democracy. It claims to give everyone a voice, but more often than not there are restrictions. Who can vote? When? How? These questions are all answered by whoever is in power. When that power is misused, voting becomes a form of social control.
As we have seen this election cycle, voting is something seemingly simple with a much more complex background. Voting is capable of becoming another form of social control. You have to register, fill out the forms exactly right, have a witness if voting absentee (register ahead of time to vote absentee in a pandemic if you don’t want to stand in crazy long lines), and hope you do it all correctly or your vote may be thrown out. Not to mention, you have to meet certain restrictions that can vary by state. You have to be at least somewhat educated of the process in order to make sure you do everything right. Honestly, my parents had to teach me on the eve of the 2016 election what I was supposed to do because the public-school system I had graduated from failed to do so. I knew how to factor polynomials (something I have not once needed to do in my adult life) but had zero clue about the steps of voting.
Since the 15th amendment prohibited states from “disenfranchising voters on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude,” whites in power have been attempting to keep power in any way possible, legal or not. There were literacy tests, administered at the discretion of those running polling places. From there voting rights were denied to those convicted of crimes. Since those arrested and convicted were disproportionately people of color, this again helped to suppress the vote of non-whites. As states began to reinstate the right to vote to convicts
Voter suppression is historically used to deter minorities from voting. Or in this year’s case, make those votes invalid. It seems less important as to what your race or gender is than that you are not a white male. If you are not that you are deviant, at least in society as it is today. The things that occurred during this election once again proved that. We may have put a woman of color into the office of vice president, but the current president has tried, and still is trying to do whatever he can to nullify results that were not in his favor.
Voter suppression is undeniably intertwined with race. It is those who view themselves as the “majority,” counting the votes that keep them in power. I mean obviously if we only count the votes for Trump its going to look like he won, or that he is what the majority wants. That is basic math. IF YOU EXCLUDE ALL OTHER VARIABLES THERE IS NO WAY YOU GET A RESULT OTHER THAN WHAT YOU CHOOSE.
But that is NOT how the election process is supposed to work. That is not how our government is designed to work (technically).
What we saw this year is no different than those regulations and impositions formerly, legally, placed on people of color. Those in power are once again using that power to attempt to stay in power. They are striving to hold on to what they have by any and all means. This election has brought to light what has been happening for over a century. It is something that has become more and more hidden but has never gone away.
For more on the history of voter suppression as a form of social control: