Palast, Jesse Jackson to Sue 26 States
Stop voter purges, Voter Justice Commission told

Nicole Powers

The Rev. Jesse Jackson joined Greg Palast in announcing that they’ve notified the voting chiefs of 26 states that they will be served with federal law suits under the National Voter Registration Act within 60 days if they fail to turn over the millions of names of voters wrongly purged from registration rolls.

Palast made the announcement at the National Commission on Voter Justice at their Southern California regional hearings held at the Los Angeles Trade-Technical College.

Palast explained to the panel that a June ruling by the US Supreme Court put millions of voters at risk.  Chicago pastor Jackson, who will be Palast’s co-plaintiff in Illinois, praised Palast’s years of investigating the suppression of the Black vote, “the most important journalist in exposing” the purge of voters of color.

Other voting activists, including Helen Butler in Georgia and John Brakey in Arizona, have joined as co-plaintiffs in their states to demand the names of the victim voters of new  ballot-box bigotry. In Kansas, Palast is coordinating with the state’s ACLU.

Palast’s quest for the names of the voters who will be blocked from voting in the November midterm election began with his award-winning investigation for Al Jazeera and Rolling Stone of Donald Trump’s vote suppression operation headed by Kris Kobach, the ultra-right wing Secretary of State of Kansas.

The National Commission for Voter Justice is a non-partisan organization was set up in response to the now-defunct Trump/Kobach Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, which used false claims of illegal double-voting as justification to cull millions of perfectly legal (and mostly minority) voters from the rolls.

The NCVJ’s SoCal proceedings were part of the organization’s nationwide effort to “highlight, document, and address the scourge of voter suppression across the country.

Among those present were NCVJ National Co-Chairs Barbara R. Arnwine and Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent Hughes. Rev. Jackson serves as NCVJ’s Honorary Chair who has long worked with Palast to end the GOP’s racially-biased weapon of mass vote destruction.

Below is a transcript of Palast’s NCVJ testimony:

Palast with Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. at lawsuit announcement

We had 112 million Americans registered to vote in 2016 and it is now down to 110 million. Two million voters have vanished. What’s happened? The answer, from my investigations, is purge-by-postcard. We just had a decision by the court in Randolph Institute v. Husted… The state of Ohio had eliminated over half a million voters. It was misreported that these voters were eliminated because they failed to vote in a couple of elections. That was just a trigger. In fact the court allowed them to be removed because they received a postcard and didn’t return it. And they used that as evidence these voters had moved.

I went to Ohio and I met with Donald Alexander Webster who was on a list that indicated that he had moved to Virginia. He was Donald Alexander Webster and he was on a list because there was someone in Alexandria, Virginia named Donald Eugene Webster, Jr. That was evidence for the state of Ohio that he had moved.

That list was created by a guy named Kris Kobach. You have this commission because this was the answer to the official commission which collapsed in shame, headed by Kris Kobach, the Secretary of State for Kansas, who created a list of 7.2 million people. He calls it the Interstate Crosscheck list

The propaganda is that these are people who have voted twice. Kobach and Trump have said 3 million people voted illegally twice. But the legal excuse is that this is a list of people who have moved.

Palast with Barbara R. Arnwine.

I got my hands on millions of these names. 2 million have mismatched middle names. If your name is common, you’re on this list. And I can tell you, 1 in 8 Asian-Americans in 26 states are on the Kobach Interstate Crosscheck list of people who have moved. If your name is Park or Ho or Kim, you are on this list to be purged.In addition, if you didn’t vote in a couple of elections, instead of checking, for example, tax records to see if people have left, or change of address records, instead they send you a postcard and if you don’t return it you are removed. So we’re seeing a half million people in Ohio, and nationwide millions of people being removed.

In response to this, with the ACLU of Kansas, we’ve asked for the names of every single voter purged by postcard, including from the Crosscheck list and others. We want to know: Why did you put this person on the list? Did you send them a postcard? Did they return the postcard? Why are they removed?

By the way, if you get a postcard and you don’t return it, that’s probably evidence that you’re still there. I can tell you, I met with Donald Alexander Webster and he hadn’t moved from Dayton, Ohio. He was there in front of me.

Don’t be surprised to find out, by the way, that he is African-American. Because 85 of the 100 most common names in the United States are minority names: Chung, Rodriguez, Garcia. God forbid your name is José Garcia, you’re going to be challenged.

We are seeing this mass purge of voters happening silently, so now we’ve filed in 26 states. And in Illinois the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr. and I have sent a notice that we will be filing a federal lawsuit under the National Voter Registration Act because we have a right to find out the names of those voters removed and why they were removed.

Palast with Sen. Vincent Hughes

What we have is a silent kidnapping of Voting Rights in America by the hundreds of thousands. As a journalist, it’s not my job to end these games — that’s your job. My job as a journalist is to expose it.I’m going to get these lists… I have a couple of million names already, and I can tell you these are not people who have moved, these are not people who are voting twice, these are not alien voters, they’re just people with common names whose crime is voting while Black, voting while hispanic, voting while Asian-American, or voting as a student — which has become nearly criminalized in America.
For a list of the upcoming National Commission for Voter Justice Regional Hearings visit: nationalcvj.org/timetable/

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