The VPHOF is an august place where many are called but few, alas, are chosen. It is a hall of true American patriots steeped in the belief that the right to vote like the Hall itself is a privilege extended to the few, not the many. We are Originalists who subscribe to the sacred belief that voting should be as it was in 1789 – only for the select few. As it was in the beginning so shall it be in the end.
Sadly, over the centuries, this cherished tenet of our Republic has been lost in a flood tide of easy access to the polling place resulting in rampant corruption, massive voter fraud and elections won by candidates not worthy of higher or even lower office.
When we selected our introductory class of honorees for the Hall, we factored in five key criteria. They are as follows:
1) Because Five seemed a good number for the criteria needed.
2) Innovation – the honoree needs to be creative & innovative in coming up with new ways to suppress voters
3) Success at this endeavor – in short, did they keep a lot of people away from the polls?
4) Lack of shame – the honoree executed his/her voter suppression in broad daylight and did so in the core conviction that they were doing the right thing (or not), it really doesn’t matter their state of mind as long as it was shameless.
5) Two per inductees state: Each state, like the statues in the US Capitol Statuary Hall, has the right to have two inductees in the Hall of Fame. Thus, if a state has already filled its quota of two inductees a new inductee from that state would is not eligible.
Our introductory (2020) class at the Voter Suppression Hall of Fame is very impressive indeed. We have a US President (and Vice President!), several governors, a Congressman, a US Supreme Court Chief Justice and a select few other voter suppression patriots.
The Class of 2020 (in no particular order), our so-called, Dirty Dozen, includes:
Ron sneaked into office in 2018 by narrowing defeating an African American opponent, Andrew Gillum, former mayor of Tallahassee. Sadly, in the same election Rick won (with more than a few assertions of vote suppression), a new ballot initiative also passed, Amendment 4. This initiative returned the right to vote to formerly incarcerated citizens, aka, felons. It passed by an overwhelming majority of over 60% and would return more than 1 million Floridians to the voter rolls. But the Republican legislature, with Gov. DeSantis’ strong encouragement, were very innovative. They passed a bill requiring the formerly incarcerated citizens to pay all their court fees and fines before they could register. In essence, a new poll tax. That should do the trick, no? The state court has upheld this legislation. Recently, the Governor tweeted, “Voting is a privilege that should not be taken lightly.” We could not have said it better ourselves – that’s why he is in the Hall!
How could we not induct the man who in 2006 gave us the first plan for a Southern Border wall to keep out illegal immigrants, and yes, future illegal voters. In an interview with the NY Times, he asked, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?" Frankly, yes, good question. And speaking of language – King sponsored a law to make English the official language of Iowa. He later sued Iowa’s Secretary of State for translating voter information into Spanish and Vietnamese and a number of other languages that are not the King’s English. President Trump proudly boasted that he raised more money in 2018 for Rep. King than any other Republican – so, that’s a great endorsement, right? He was also appointed by the Republican party to be chair of the House’s Subcommittee on the Constitution & Civil Justice. Talk about irony – gotta love this guy!
In voting on our candidates, we often weighed one factor more than another. In Kris Kobach’s case, he obviously met the first criteria (but then everyone does) but fell down on # 3 (he was in fact often a klutz at voter suppression). But he does shine on criteria # 4 – he, IN FACT, has and had no shame. He ran President Trump’s (another inductee) Voter Integrity Commission (yes, an oxymoron) which was closed down due to malfeasance and incompetence. When the law he enacted requiring Kansans to prove their US citizenship to register to vote was tried in court, the judge threw the law out – and required Kobach to take remedial law courses due to his clear and glaring legal incompetence (there’s that word again!). His system for purging voters, which was used by many states, Cross Check, was closed down due to its rampant bias and high degree of false negatives. But, we save the best for last. In 2018, he ran for Governor of Kansas – a state so red that it makes blood looks pale. He lost. To a DEMOCRAT…and get this, to a woman! So, Kris Kobach is a man, a myth, a legend and now a proud inductee into the Voter Suppression Hall of Fame.
To be PC (which we rarely are – but what the heck), we needed to induct a woman into the Voter Suppression Hall of Fame (even though under our Originalist beliefs, women should not be allowed to vote – after all, when women got the right to vote, they also passed Prohibition and we couldn’t drink). But back to the topic at hand. ANOTHER proud inductee into the VPHOF is Catherine Engelbrecht. Where do we begin on our kudos about CE? She found her mojo and voter integrity in 2008 when she realized that “something had changed” in America. Was it Barack Obama’s election which was due to the fact that his victory margin was helped by 25% of his voters being non-white? Nah, must have been something else. Anyhow, she first founded the King Street Patriots – which while it sounds like a militia group, was actually devoted to ferreting out voter fraud. She then went on to launch True the Vote. TTV lead the way in using false accusations to shut down one of the bigger voter registration groups in Texas (why should more people be allowed to vote after all?) She also went to other states like Wisconsin and Ohio to spread the gospel of voter fraud and the need for voter ID. Like Kris Kobach, she has been shameless in her advocacy for vote suppression. So, we welcome her as our first (and for now, only) woman in the VPHOF.
Mike Pence has a long list of worthy accomplishments when it comes to voter integrity and has always excelled at finding new and innovative ways to suppress the vote. Talk about innovation (which as you’ll recall is criteria # 2) -- after Obama somehow carried Indiana in 2008, Pence, as governor, decided never again! He helped pass a law that stipulated that any Indiana county with more than 325,000 citizens (which yes, came down to the 3 cities in Indiana where most of the African Americans lived) could only have one early voting location. Needless to say, this new law meant that Obama did not win Indiana in 2012. During the 2016 election, when asked by a reporter about voter fraud, he replied, “In recent years, we’ve had instances, proven instances of voter fraud.” Because of his enthusiasm for voter suppression – oops, I mean, voter protection, Trump turned to him to co-chair the Voter Integrity Commission. When it comes to voter integrity, Pence is clearly the Robin to Trump’s Batman
We could not have a Voter Suppression Hall of Fame without a representative from the Tar Heel State. When it comes to suppressing the vote, North Carolina is the Mecca, the true north, even though it is in the South. Its 2013 voter restriction law, HB 289, is the gift that does not stop giving. And yes, 589 was passed under the astute leadership of Thom Tillis, who was Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives. The law was eventually struck down in 2016 by a federal court which found that it targeted African American voters with “surgical precision.” And thanks to gerrymandering, also done under Tillis’ auspices, North Carolina, despite having more registered Democrats than Republicans, has 10 Republican Congressman and only 3 Democrats. So, Tillis scores well on all the criteria – especially success and innovation.
Speaking of gerrymandering…and speaking of North Carolina, how could we leave out Thomas Hofeller? He helped draw the gerrymandered voting districts in North Carolina and a number of other states. He once said, "Redistricting (a euphemism for gerrymandering) is like an election in reverse. It's a great event. Usually the voters get to pick the politicians. In redistricting, the politicians get to pick the voters." Hofeller worked hard to hide his tracks and advised clients to do the same, warning them, "Don’t reveal more than necessary," and, "Emails are the tool of the devil." He was also the person who suggested to the US Commerce Department that they needed a citizenship question on the 2020 census, because it “would be advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic whites.” And how did we find this out (since “emails are the tool of the devil”) – well, when he died, his daughter (there’s that woman thing again – we told you they shouldn’t vote) discovered his hard drives and gave them to Common Cause. RIP Thomas Hofeller, you can rest well knowing you are now in the Voter Suppression Hall of Fame!
We could not close out our initial class without having a representative from the judicial branch. And what better person could we choose than Chief Justice John Roberts? He clerked for Chief Justice William Rehnquist– someone who was adamantly opposed to the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In fact, Rehnquist, who clerked on the Supreme Court during the Brown vs. Board of Ed decision in 1954, urged the Supreme Court back then to vote against overturning the “separate but equal” provision. In 2013, Roberts penned the majority opinion in Shelby v Holder which did away with the pre-clearance clause of the Voting Rights – a clause which kept many Southern states from passing new laws to restrict voter access, particularly African American voters. No sooner did the decision get handed down than a number of Southern states, including Texas and North Carolina, quickly passed voter restriction laws. So much for Roberts stated belief that the South had changed its racist ways. Our only concern about admitting Chief Justice Rogerts was the role he played in disallowing the citizenship question on the 2020 census – but hey, nobody’s perfect.
In many ways, Paul Weyrich is the patron saint of the Voter Suppression Movement. In 1980, he uttered what is now seen as the sacred text of Voter Protection, “ I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people…. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.” Weyrich did more than talk about suppressing votes – he worked hard to make it a reality – founding the American Legislative Exchange Council, which drafted the language for the voter ID laws many states passed. He also founded the Heritage Foundation, home of Hans von Spakosky and a leading conservative think tank. So, we say to him, as we did to Thomas Hofeller, RIP – and you, too, are a 2020 Hall of Fame inductee.
Gov. Kemp, as Georgia’s Secretary of State, is famous for saying, “Make it easy to vote and hard to cheat.” But Kemp has focused much more on the latter and eschewed the former. During his tenure as Georgia’s Secretary of State, he purged hundreds of thousands of voters using a technique called, “Exact Match” – so if an ‘i” wasn’t dotted or a “t’ crossed the registration was voided. And somehow his office once managed to lose the registrations for 40,000 new voters…who also happened to be mostly people of color. And like Catherine Engelbrecht, he investigated voter registration groups and drives with ruthless abandon. In 2018, he was just barely able to defeat Stacey Abrams, the African American candidate who he ran against. As a result of her defeat, Stacey Abrams set up an organization, Fair Vote, to stamp out vote suppression nationwide. We shudder at the thought.
Hans proudly served on President Trump’s Voter Integrity (sic) Commission – and advocated for appointing only true Republicans (not RINOs – Republicans in Name Only) or Democrats to the Commission. The Federalist Society (where he now works) describes Hans as “an authority on a wide range of issues – including civil rights (sic), civil justice (sic), the First Amendment (sic), immigration (sic).
Yet, when he testified at the federal court trial contesting the citizenship law in Kansas, the federal judge deemed Hans an unreliable witness, stating his testimony was "premised on several misleading and unsupported examples of non-citizen voter registration, mostly outside the State of Kansas." Nonetheless, in the early 2000s, he was appointed to the Justice Dept.’s Civil Rights division by George W Bush – talk about the fox in the chicken coop. But when Pres. Bush later tried to put him on the Federal Elections Commission, both Democrats and long tenured Justice Dept. officials vehemently opposed his appointment. It was withdrawn. He is a fervent believer in voter fraud and is prone to cite cases from decades ago – while his more recent examples are usually without any apparent basis in fact. As Kellyanne Conway (a possible future inductee) might say, Hans trades in “alternative facts.” So, anyone this disliked and this out of touch with reality must be in the Hall.
While a wee bit tardy to the voter integrity game, Donald Trump has more than made up for it with his enthusiasm for propagating the myth of voter fraud. As he said so, so many times during his run for the Presidency in 2016, “People will, they’ll vote many times. Somebody coming up and voting 15 times for Hillary…You see what’s happening. The process is rigged. This whole election is being rigged.” And of course, while winning the Electoral College (which also should be in the Voter Suppression Hall of Fame), Trump claims he only lost the popular vote because of millions of illegal voters who happened to all cast their votes for Hillary. These voters were, according to Trump, mainly illegals in California. He then set up the Voter Integrity Commission -- co-chaired by two other Hall of Fame inductees, Kris Kobach and Mike Pence. Clearly, Trump made voter fraud a thing – and nailed all five factors for being inducted. EDITOR’S NOTE: We are now negotiating with President Trump to install the Voter Suppression Hall of Fame in the Trump International Hotel in DC. It would include wax figures a la Madam Tussaud’s for our 2020 inductees. Cool, right?
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