In 1957, then-Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson spoke for a proposed voting rights act: “This right to vote is the basic right without which all others are meaningless. It gives people, people as individuals, control over their own destinies.” Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act as president in 1965. Today, the Republican Party, tea parties, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other Koch brothers’ stooges are working feverishly to strip poor, minority, young, and elderly American citizens of their right to vote.
America’s segregated South had a long tradition of “whites only” voting. Even though the Constitution promised the vote to all citizens, white officials used poll taxes, voting tests, intimidation, and physical violence to keep blacks away from the polls. In 1964, Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman worked to register black voters in rural Mississippi, until they disappeared late one night. The FBI found their bodies about six weeks later. In 1967, a federal jury convicted fifteen Ku Klux Klan members of conspiracy related to their murders. Today, the 1965 Voting Rights Act protects voting rights for all Americans.
For more than 40 years, Republicans and Democrats waged intensely competitive election fundraising and voter registration battles. When they realized that they were losing in 2008, RepubliKlans concocted a phony “emergency” and tried to steal voting rights from poor-minority-youth voters in several states. Their plan failed. Poor, young, minority, and senior citizens voted in record numbers, mostly for Barack Obama.
In January 2010, the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision declared that corporations are “people” and thus entitled to spend limitless cash to influence elections. Republicans jumped for joy, but their euphoria hit a snag. Since voting is limited, for the moment, to real flesh-and-blood people, corporations can’t vote yet. Real people still outnumber the corporations and their handlers. Obama’s successful presidential campaign proved that good community organizing and righteous dedication can beat their big bucks. So they created a plan to suppress the vote. Again.
Right-wing legislators and corporations created ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, to write model legislation for all state legislatures to restrict all individuals’ rights and expand corporations’ rights throughout the U.S. ALEC then funds the lobbying and organizing campaigns to get those bills enacted at the state level.
Your friendly neighborhood RepubliKlans are screeching about busloads of illegal immigrants driving around American towns voting at multiple polling places and about millions of unregistered people standing in lines throughout the land just waiting their turns to cast fraudulent votes over and over and over again.
Give me a break. The United States does not have a problem with unregistered people voting, or with anyone voting too many times, or with illegal immigrants voting. We have enough trouble getting people to vote at all.
THINK about this folks. If these abuses were so rampant, surely the thugs would be able to produce just one piece of actual physical evidence of such crimes. But no. All they have is stories. Stephen King doesn’t have that many horror stories. I’ve looked for evidence of voter fraud. There just isn’t much to find.
Lori Minnite, a political science professor at Barnard College, investigated allegations of voter fraud. She found that from 2002 to 2005, only 26 people were convicted of voting improperly. One was guilty of registration fraud, twenty voted while ineligible, and five voted more than once. Her 2010 book, The Myth of voter Fraud, updates that research and reaches the same conclusion. Republican allegations of widespread voter fraud are simply lies.
As always, RepubliKlans press on, despite the truth. They’ve introduced strict ID requirements for voters in every state. They want every single person to show a state-issued voter identification card, with a photo, before they can vote. So what’s the big deal? Why can’t a registered voter just show a driver’s license?
Actually, it is a big deal. Many young and low-income potential voters don’t have driver’s licenses. Many of the elderly give up their licenses when driving becomes difficult. States charge fees for non-driver photo ID cards and you must apply in person on weekdays. Students and low-income people can’t afford to miss a day’s school or work for that and often can’t afford the fees. The application process is difficult for those who are marginally literate. The elderly have trouble getting to the application office because they no longer drive. Think about how many of your own friends and family would be unable to vote with a law like this.
See. The law keeps the poor-minority-young-elderly from voting. And that’s what they really want. Gee. I wonder who would benefit from that.
They say they want to prevent “voter fraud”. Once again, they don’t believe this junk. They want you to fall for it.
Republicans are all about freedom. They don’t like taxes. They don’t like regulations. They want to take BIG GOVERNMENT from our backs. Uh huh. They love freedom right up until it reaches your front door. Why are the RepubliKlans regulating a problem we don’t have, and ignoring the problems that we do have? How’s that for big government on your back?
This attack on the poor-young-minorities-elderly is just the beginning. If we let them get away with this, they’ll come for you next. Yes, really. They’ll invent some new phony emergency and their creative solution will involve restricting YOUR right to vote. It’s all part of their plan to destroy the middle class.
Contact your state representatives. Tell them to vote AGAINST new voter ID laws.
Don’t be afraid to vote. You can verify your registration, find your polling place, and other information at your state election office.
They don’t want to keep you from voting twice. They want to keep you from voting at all. The only way to stop these abuses is to prove that they don’t work. The only way to do that is to VOTE.
WE ARE ONE
For more information:
Register to Vote: State voter laws and registration deadlines
National Council of State Legislatures Voter ID Requirements
An Analysis of Voter Fraud in The United States
Voter Fraud and Election Integrity
How Safe is Our Election?
Contact Your State Legislators