Right To Vote In America Under Attack

A new study by the Brenan Center for Justice reveals that new voter registration laws in twelve states will disenfranchise over five million voters, a disproportionate share of them ethnic and racial minorities.

The initiatives are overwhelmingly led by Republican Party state legislatures seeking to the suppress the Democratic vote in 2012. The range of changes in voter registration remove same day registration, make it harder for voter registration drives to register voters, require Photo ID’s, narrow the time window when a voter may register and eliminate early voting in some places.


The worst aspect of these new laws is not partisan though. Disenfranchising millions of American citizens: taking their precious right to vote away from them makes a mockery of our democracy and cheapens the lives given as sacrifice in the wars fought to preserve that democracy since the inception of the nation.

The gains made for civil rights in the 1950’s and 1960’s and beyond are all under threat and the racial and ethnic slant of the new laws raises the most ugly questions about how those promoting such laws see those people.

The justification for these Voter ID Laws, and ending same-day registration and narrowing the registration window or making community organization voter registration drives more difficult is to cut voter fraud.

But the actual level of voter fraud is amazingly almost non-existent. The level of disenfranchisement of minorities both racial and ethnic has always been significantly greater. This is a cynical attempt to ensure Republican success in the 2012 election as the very people most affected vote overwhelmingly for Democrats.

Even in progressive Wisconsin, where a citizen could register to vote right at the polling place on election day no longer can do that. They will have to have a Voter ID that is a photo ID. The best place to obtain that are at the Department of Transportation offices which have been closed in high minority areas.

What this nation ought to have is same-day registration, voting on Sundays when most of us are able to get to the polls, and facilitated absentee voting. The goal should be to get well over ninety percent of our adult citizens to be able to participate in this most elemental act of a representative democracy. Instead, the nation is seeking to limit those who vote as much as possible.

Americans concerned about real democracy should ask why? And why not make it more difficult for people the richer they are to register to vote and to obtain the necessary authorization? Why target the very people who most need to have an equalizer with the wealthy and privileged at least one day every two years: their right to cast a vote.

ONE MAN ONE VOTE is the surest way to ensure that a more egalitarian society that is just is at least possible and on the political horizon in any election.

Disenfranchise millions of voters who are minorities ethnically, racially, and most often who are economically compromised is not only shameful in a nation that boasts about its democracy before the world but it tears at the very fabric of our social contract: that measure of consent we give to our government to legitimize its right to govern us and which obligates the citizen to abide by the rule of law.

There is still time for community organizations to launch unprecedented voter registration drives without regard to the political loyalties of the voters enfranchised. The 2012 election ought to be at least in part over throwing out the people who inaugurated these changes.

In Wisconsin, you guessed it, that is Governor Scott Walker and the Fitgerald legislative fiefdom in the State capitol in Madison. It’s not a partisan suggestion here but one that unabashedly supports democracy over a plutocratic government bought and paid for by the Wisconsin Association of Manufacturers, Koch Industries, and the Republican Party hierarchy in this state.

Democracy or a new age of the disenfranchised poor, people of color, and ethnic minorities while the white, the rich and affluent, enjoy full political legitimacy is injurious to the very government our founders put in place so long ago. What would a Jefferson, Madison, or an Abraham Lincoln say about this? It is our political equivalent of what would Jesus do? You know the answer.

Let’s get going. Commit yourself to helping in a voter registration effort this year, and taking at least two other citizens in addition to yourself to get that photo ID and get registered under the new laws. Then let’s find those people who did this and vote for their opponents.

2 thoughts on “Right To Vote In America Under Attack

  1. The poor, the elderly, and minorities who also are disadvanteged do not have cars Holly. They are unable to obtain a photo ID at a Department of Transportation Office hence they will not vote.

    And simply whenever you have voter registration in narrower time windows, and not on the same day as the vote you make it difficult for people to exercise the right to vote. Statistically, this hurts minorities, the poor, and the elderly the most. These are the people most affected. The Constitution of the United States does not have a financial means test, it does not have an age test at the upper limit, and it most certainly does not bar minorities from voting either.

    Political scientists, party operatives in both major parties and county clerks can all tell you that millions of these people will be seriously impeded or even prevented from voting. Its that simple. It is known.

    The poor, the elderly, and minorities as well as myself would love to display our purple fingers—after we have voted! What do you two oppose about these people having an easier time exercising a right that they need assistance exercisisng? CAn’t you agree that they should be aided in getting to the place and to be able to get their purple fingers?

    What would be so evil about funding Photo ID to make Photo ID stations available in poor neighborhoods. Some of the new laws make it harder for even citizen groups to register voters. The League of Women Voters, in frustration, has given up their usual pre-election voter registration drives in Florida due to new laws there.

    The League of Women Voters is a very moderate non-partisan organization.

    Why not have police, firefiregihters and others go out to each home and photo ID people house to house? The Wisconsin Voter ID law is underfunded for precisely the reason that it will be easier for white, more affluent, Republican voters to obtain or have one and meet the requirements of the new law. It has nothing to do with voter fraud. That’s the worst of it. Wisconsin had one legitmate case in the 2010 elections. And that case failed to obtain a conviction when it was revealed that a couple had voted absentee very early and somehow forgotten that when they canceled a trip they had already voted and voted twice.

    That’s it.

    Five million Americans and more who are fully qualified to register and vote will not do so in 2012 and they will be disproportionately drawn from Democratic voters. My concern in the post was mainly for democracy. They are all free to vote for your candidates whomever they may become or be. Every other democracy in our world votes on days when people do not customarily work. They make it very easy to vote. Austrialia fines citizens if they do not vote. Most democracies in the world have seventy to nintey percent of their citizens particpate. We have barely half in even the most hotly contested elections nationally.

    You folks care only for those who already have Photo IDs. You evidently care little for the people referred to in the post. I wish to see the rest of us obtain them and participate and help select our leaders. There is the great divide between us and I am glad of it. I welcome that divide in opinion and feeling.

  2. Question: Do you people oppose new voter registration? How do you feel about that?

    I am unafraid of allowing every single citizen vote. I’d take an old lady to the polls even knowing she would vote for my opponents.
    Would you?

    My parents fought and risked their lives for this right in World War II.

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