Trampling the Right to Vote
The story of American democracy - part of what makes us exceptional - has been the expansion of voting rights to more and more citizens. Yet now, conservatives linked to the
We can't let them get away with this.
In the early republic, voting was limited, often reserved for white male landowners. Over time, however, the right to vote was extended to working people, to women, to those 18 and older (old enough to fight; old enough to vote). The passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act was one of the transformative victories of the civil rights movement. Progressive movements have pushed reforms to make voting easier - same-day voter registration, extended voting days and hours, voting by mail.
Now, however, across the country, we witness a systematic effort to suppress the vote, to make voting harder. Tactics include:
Voter ID Laws
According to a study by the Brennan Center, more than a half-dozen Republican-dominated states have passed legislation requiring an official state photo ID to vote. This makes voting harder for those without a driver's license: the poor, students, urban dwellers, seniors and minorities. Brennan estimates that 5 million people could be hit by the laws. In 30 states, legislators have received "voter fraud" legislation from the
Intimidating Voter-Registration Groups
The majority of those signed up in registration drives tend to be low-income or minority voters likely to support Democratic candidates. So conservatives have moved legislation to threaten voter-registration groups. In
Eliminating Same-Day Registration; Curtailing Early Voting
Targeted Tricks And Trash
Negative ads disgust voters and discourage voters. Now, with unaccountable super PACs that don't have to identify their donors, it will get uglier. We'll witness phone calls designed to confuse African-Americans about when
We've seen this before. In 2006, the
But super PACs can do this with no accountability. They can be created a month before the election and dissolved the day after. Their donors can be anonymous. They disavow any connection with any campaign.
This is ugly stuff. These are the tactics of a minority party seeking to use money, power and dirty tricks to distort the vote. It has already started and it will get worse unless people rise against it. We must reclaim our democracy from those who would traduce it.
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Trampling the Right to Vote | Politics
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