Pierre Polivevre has met all criticism of the "Fair" Elections Act with a mantra of talking points and -- in the case of Marc Mayrand and Sheila Fraser -- ad hominem attacks. It's all been rather depressing. But, Murray Dobbin writes, those very tactics present opponents of the government with a real opportunity.
The bill copies Republican attempts to suppress large segments of the voting population. But those attempts backfired:
In at least some cases efforts at voter suppression in the U.S. have backfired because the attack on black and Latino communities has galvanized them to get out the vote. The government of Florida reduced the early voting period which prompted black churches "to conduct a two-day 'souls to the polls' marathon. And even as election day turned into a late election night, and with the race in Ohio, and thus for the 270 votes needed to win the presidency, called by 11 p.m., black voters remained in line in Miami-Dade and Broward, two heavily Democrat counties in Florida, where black voters broke turnout records even compared to 2008."
Efforts to suppress the vote in civic elections in North Carolina and Texas also backfired, resulting in record turn-outs of the people targeted by Republican party controlled board of elections.
Barack Obama was re-elected because his political machine targeted the very voters the Republicans tried to disenfranchise. Not being allowed to vote gave them a reason to vote. Dobbin is right:
While many in those communities have found little reason to go to the polls given the slim likelihood of any change in their lives, no one likes to be told what they can and can't do -- especially when it comes to rights. For the people targeted by Harper for disenfranchisement, the 2015 election could be purely about democracy itself.
It's not just about the economy anymore. It's not just about the muzzling of scientists. It's not just about the Senate scandal. It's about democracy itself.
It's time for the opposition to mobilize voters.