MYTH: People Routinely Commit Fraud at the Polling Place

Both Democrats and Republicans engaged in discriminatory challenges at the polls at the turn of the nineteenth century, but Republican party operatives alone have continued to orchestrate “caging” and challenge operations targeting minority polling places on a nationwide basis since the early 1960s.

1952 Republican National Convention. (Thomas J. O'Halloran, U.S. News & World Report Magazine)

The two biggest efforts were Operation Eagle Eye in 1964, a nationally coordinated effort to challenge the voting rights of 1.25 million voters all over the country; and, in 2004, a nationwide effort to challenge primarily Latino and African Americans’ voting rights on the flimsiest of bases.

Given that the Republican National Committee since 1982 has been under a court order not to pursue these tactics, this year the Republicans appear to have outsourced the caging and challenge operation to an outfit called True the Vote. Born of the Tea Party movement, the group has pledged to recruit one million volunteers to act as self-appointed policemen of the voting process at polls across the country.

This is the second part of a weeklong series on the history of voter suppression. Tova Andrea Wang's new book, the Politics of Voter Suppression, is out now.

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