Dem Rep Keith Ellison spreads false rumors about Republicans using race to suppress votes

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dcnf-2-1Julia Cohen, DCNF

Minnesota Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison suggested that Republicans want to suppress voters in a Sunday tweet.

“Yup,” Ellison, who’s also the Democratic National Committee’s deputy chair, replied to another tweet saying “‘If voting didn’t matter, the GOP wouldn’t be working so hard to prevent people from doing it.’”

This isn’t the first time Ellison has linked the GOP to voter suppression.

“More proof of Republicans using race to suppress POC votes. Read before you judge,” Ellison tweeted in 2016 with a link to an article that said Republicans who live in districts with “substantial” black populations are most likely to be supportive of voter ID laws.

Ellison also tweeted in March: “We’ve got to ask who benefits from all this racism. Who loses? All of us! Because Florida purged black voters, the whole country got George Bush, which led us into war and enriched big pharma. This happened to everyone of every color. Racism helps elites control everyone else.”

Ellison’s tweets largely come from voter ID laws, which require individuals to show a government-issued ID in order to vote. As of 2018, seven states have laws requiring voters to show a photo ID in order to have their votes immediately counted. Three states have similar laws, but will accept a non-photo ID.

Only seven percent of the population does not have a photo ID as of February 2015, a Project Vote study shows.

Across all states, whether there are voter ID laws or not, nonwhite turnout is significantly lower than white voter turnout, a study by the United States Election Project shows.

In 2016, the voter turnout rate for white Americans was 65.7 percent, compared to 59.9 percent for black Americans, 44.9 percent for Hispanic Americans, and 46.3 percent for all other racial groups. That pattern holds steady across almost all election years.

Ellison also talks about voter roll purges, or removal of voters from registration lists.

“Maintaining an accurate voter list … [ensures] that eligible voters are able to cast a ballot, to keep track of who has voted to prevent anyone from voting twice and, by reducing inaccuracies, speed up the voter check-in process at polling places,” a National Council of State Legislatures article explains.

While people cannot be removed from voter registration lists solely for not voting, not voting can be one of multiple factors that leads to removal from a voter registration list.

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