The Right to Vote did not come without a High Cost!
The right to vote is perhaps the most important right exercised by the citizenry of any civil society. At the dawn of our Republic only propertied white males enjoyed the right of suffrage. Over the course of two centuries a series of hard-fought battles took place, extending the vote to those without property first. It was not until after the Civil War that Black males were given the right to vote in the United States under the 15th Amendment, but Jim Crow laws and practices gravely hindered or prohibited the exercise of that right. It was not until the twentieth century that women and most Native Americans were granted the right to vote and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 sought to eradicate unfair practices and laws which impacted people of color gravely, particularly in the Southern United States. We would do well to remember these hard-fought struggles and honor them by exercising our right to vote.
The Continuing Onslaught upon Voting Rights in the United States
Conservative individuals and organizations have waged a relentless campaign aimed at undoing the gains enshrined in the Voting Rights Act and they’ve used an increasingly complex and more sophisticated set of mechanisms over the course of decades. Sadly, their efforts have met with considerable success. Among the measures used are the following; gerrymandering, how voter registration is accomplished and the imposition of difficult voter identification requirements. Another vehicle for disenfranchising millions of Americans has been our criminal justice system. In three US States, disenfranchisement for a felony conviction is permanent. Across the nation, these efforts continue. The people and interests behind such measures are clever indeed and very adept at disguising what they are really doing and what they are really doing is depriving large numbers of people of the right to vote.
Gerrymandering, Voter Registration and Voter Identification Regulations
Many people do not understand the practice of gerrymandering: Envision a city block with ten houses, five on each side. The residents of two of the houses on each side are of group X and the other three are group Y. Each side or district elects its own representative to a neighborhood association and both sides send group Y (majority) leaders on election. But what if we redrew the district lines so that all four group X home-owners were in a district with one Y home-owner—and that district began sending an X group member to the association consistently. That, in a nutshell, is gerrymandering. This has been done widely over the past several decades, particularly in the Southern States. Simply put, it’s a way of curtailing the impact of minority voters.
The poor and people of color are more likely to be political Liberals so if you’re interests are Conservative you want to do whatever you can to prevent or hinder them from voting. So, you do away with things like same-day registration and impose stricter identification requirements. If you can get away with it you also make access to voting stations as difficult as possible. These practices occur across the nation and they are deplorable.
Twenty-three thousand Join Tele-town Hall Seeking Update Of Voting Rights Act
Lorraine Miller, Interim President and CEO, NAACP
This week, nearly 23,100 people from across the country joined a tele-town hall to discuss the urgent need for Congress to update the Voting Rights Act. The town hall was hosted by a coalition of civil, human, environmental and labor rights groups. The audio of the town hall is here
Leaders who spoke during the town hall included CWA President Larry Cohen, NAACP Interim President & CEO Lorraine C. Miller, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune, La Raza President & CEO Janet Murguia, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey, Greenpeace Executive Director Phil Radford, America Sustainable Business Council Co-founder and CEO David Levine, US. Student Association President Sophia Zaman.
After SCOTUS Gutted Voting Rights, An Explosion of Democratic Suppression