Democrats are going after Pres. Trump for trying to sabotage the USPS in order to reduce mail-in voting in the upcoming election, which Trump has admitted he is doing. Many Republicans have been beating the drum about fraudulent voting over the past several years, with little proof. But the Democrats who’ve been justifiably critical of attempts at voter suppression by the GOP should look the way their own party openly and brazenly works to rig elections for their own benefit. It’s well known that the DNC was biased against Bernie Sanders in 2016 and one can argue that the party does not live up to it’s name in silencing others as well, but those are more or less internal matters. The Democratic Party is diligently working to keep voters from being able to choose certain candidates, and using a legal system that ought to be protecting access to ballots to do exactly the opposite.

The Democrats have decided, based on conventional wisdom that lacks hard data to back it up, that allowing the voters to see the names of Green Party candidates or Kanye West on a ballot is an existential threat. In Wisconsin the West campaign was able to turn in their signatures but it was deemed seconds too late after the fact, while the petition for Howie Hawkins was challenged because his VP candidate’s address changed. In Montana the Green Party’s petition succeeded but because it was helped by Republicans their ability to run candidates has been revoked, despite the fact that the state already held a primary for them. In Illinois nearly all candidates for any office must petition and these petitions are not questioned unless challenged; West’s petition was challenged and found to be short. The Green and Libertarian Parties are on the ballot in Illinois thanks to a helpful court ruling which the state election board has continued to appeal. West’s petition in New Jersey was withdrawn in the face of a challenge. The Green Party’s petition in Pennsylvania is in the process of being challenged over potentially invalid signatures. And in Texas several Green Party candidates have been kicked off the ballot over filing fees that were enjoined by the state Court of Appeals. In all cases these challenges are by Democrats.

This is a clear pattern of behavior to reduce voter choice in numerous places in a very specific way. Not only are the challenges carried out by Democrats with sufficient interest, knowledge, and connections to do so, they are specifically targeted. The strategy is not aimed at Libertarians or Don Blankenship of the Constitution Party. Nor does it depend solely on ideology, Rocky de la Fuente is not in the crosshairs despite his center-left platform. It’s been decided that voters should be prevented from being able to vote for candidates of the Green Party or for Kanye West. If Republican efforts to prevent participation in our elections is voter suppression, Democrat efforts to benefit themselves through preventing people from casting their ballots for specific candidates is just as much voter suppression.

The right to vote is integral to citizenship. Preventing voters from having the full range of choices on their ballot is every bit as corrupt as preventing voters from getting a ballot at all. Apologists make arguments about viability, motive, and potential effects but invariably these are self-serving; vote suppressionists always prioritize their desired outcome to the exclusion of fair play and equal treatment and rarely look for potential solutions such as ranked-choice voting or proportional representation. Anyone working to prevent voters from being able to choose any particular candidate is seeking to weaponize elections for their own purposes. Political parties following such a strategy are opponents of democracy and while they shouldn’t be prevented from being on ballots, they should be soundly rejected by anyone who cares about the integrity of elections.

Chris is a former chair of the Oklahoma Libertarian Party and in 2018 was the first LP nominee for Governor in the state.