REFLECTIONS

Posted on December 25, 2011

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VOTER’S RIGHTS UNDER ATTACK

STATES PASS VOTER RESTRICTION LAWS

Attorney General Eric Holder chose an appropriate location, the Texas library of Lyndon B. Johnson, to announce his new fight against the growing outbreak of voter suppression efforts by state legislatures including Missouri.

Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 with the words, “the right to vote is the basic right, without which all others are meaningless.”

But today, voting rights are under attack. Five lawsuits seek to overturn the landmark 1965 act. Legislators in more than 30 states, including Missouri, have introduced or passed bills to restrict voting, supposedly to protect against a rare form of voter fraud.

These Trojan horse laws make it hard for the elderly, poor and minorities to vote. Those groups are less likely to have valid driver’s licenses or other forms of acceptable photo IDs than other voters. Also, some states have shortened the time to gather votes frrom those who are unable to go to the polls.

Low income and minority voters are more likely to support Democratic candidates, so it’s no surprise these4 underhanded attempts by Republicans to discourage voting come as President Barack Obama, the first African American president in U.S. history, stands for reelection. These additional voter requirements have been rightly compared to pool taxes and literacy tests.

Proponents of photo ID argue that people already show driver’s license to pass airport security or cash a check, so why not flash a photo ID at the polling pace? That argument misrepresents the meaning of the right to vote.

Cashing a check or flying on a jet is not a basic American right secured by blood and struggle. Voting is an inalienable right which enables all citizens to particpate in their governance.

Laws passed in 14 states could keep more than 15 million registered voters from voting.

Holder said he is examining restrictive voter laws in Florida, Texas and South Carolina, and he will investigate other states who have passed restrictive voting laws.

Just like the federal government has authority over immigration, and this issue is in the courts, so the federal government has final say about voters’ rights as expressed by the 1965 act. This issue may come down to a Supreme Court decision.

Texas has grown by over 4 million new Latino residents since 2000, and this gave the state two more U.S. representatives. The Texas state government drew up districts to block the votes of the 4 million new residents from changing the Republican control of Congressional seats. This issue is now before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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