Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Aisha Sultan: Voters Who Won't Be Deterred

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Aisha Sultan: Voters Who Won't Be Deterred

Article excerpt

The first time I left our newborn at home with her father she was two-and-a-half weeks old.

I had confined myself to the house since we brought her home from the hospital. I was still recovering from an emergency C-section doctors performed to deliver her after a difficult labor. I was sleep-deprived and trying to figure out how to nurse her without shrieking in pain. My body felt torn up (it literally was), and I was anxious about being separated from our baby even briefly.

But I forced myself into a clean pair of sweats and got behind the wheel of my car for the first time since giving birth.

I drove straight to my polling station. I voted in that midterm election. I drove back and fell back into bed.

I had a good idea back then of the political direction my state was headed based on polling data. I suppose I could have stayed at home knowing that my individual vote wasn't going to change the outcome.

But since I turned 18, I've never stayed at home on Election Day.

So when GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump tells his supporters they need to "monitor" polling sites, he may not realize the other group to whom he's signaling.

He is also sending a message to those of us who have never taken the right to vote for granted. He's talking to those who don't back down because of self-appointed "monitors."

A recent Huffington Post investigation reported on "Vote Protectors" recruiting Trump loyalists to conduct fake "exit polls" on Election Day. This hearkens to the Republican "Ballot Security" strategy in the 1981 New Jersey governor's race in which the national GOP sent armed, off-duty police officers to the polls in minority neighborhoods.

Trying to rekindle illegal voter intimidation strategies can make targeted communities more resolute in their desire to stand up for their rights.

A senior official with the Trump campaign reportedly told Bloomberg Businessweek reporters, "We have three major voter suppression operations under way. They are targeting white liberals, young women and African-Americans.

Perhaps they have underestimated women like LaTanya Reeves, 33, of Webster Groves. …

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