Readers will have to pardon me this week as I confess to the sin of pride. But proud I am and so should be the millions around the country threatened by and fighting against voter suppression. Last week the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania declared that the Pennsylvania voter ID law was unconstitutional. This is the most important voter rights decision since the Supreme Court gutted the voting rights in June of 2013. This decision will be used in lawsuits around the country by other litigators fighting voter suppression.
Over the past few months we’ve covered many aspects of voter suppression, its targets and the threat it poses to our democracy. This week we’ll take a look at voter ID and the way voter suppression is being viewed in Great Britain, Europe’s most important democracy. It is undisputed that voter ID is the centerpiece of voter suppression laws and gets the headlines when the laws are being discussed. Voter ID is normally justified as necessary to prevent in-person voter fraud. However, it is well documented that numerous investigations around the country have turned up negligible voter fraud and where it was found, it was the kind of fraud that would not be prevented by voter ID.
With current references to the modern voter suppression and the disproportionate impact of Voter ID laws on women, the League of Women Voters are continuing their historic fight to ensure the voting rights of all people. Rooted in the movement that secured the right to vote for women, the League has worked to foster civic engagement and enhance access to vote since they were founded in 1920. On its website, the League noted that over time its work has evolved from efforts to gain and foster women’s suffrage to ensuring that all eligible voters – particularly those from traditionally underrepresented or underserved communities, including first-time voters, non-college youth, new citizens, minorities, the elderly and low-income Americans – have the opportunity and the information to exercise their right to vote.
The N.C. Model campaign to defeat voter suppression is designed to help create a blueprint that highlights the various parts, participants and processes of our statewide effort to protect democracy and promote our constitutionally guaranteed right to "one man one vote". We are monitoring and assessing the various local, state and national organizations that are, or should be a part of our campaign to educate, organize and mobilize voters to defeat voter suppression. Hopefully, we will suggest ways to improve their efforts and participation in defeating voter suppression.
There is a deafening silence in the ranks of modern black Republicans who stand mute as their party of choice relentlessly attacks the civil right that is most responsibile for the rights and privileges of democracy, the right to vote. There is a group of them that gather with the Tea Partiers, Sean Hannity and other Republican right wingers to denounce President Obama and so-called liberal democrats as representing everything that is bad for blacks in America and accusing them of race exploitation. I watch them in amazement as they claim to defend the constitution and say that Obama ignores it. They are very unbalanced in their zeal to demean black Democrats as they ignore the constitutional guarantee of “one man and one vote” and the massive voter suppression efforts of their Republican party.
Voter suppression is easily defined: "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Votersuppression" Wikipedia defines it as a strategy to influence the outcome of an election by discouraging or preventing people from exercising their right to vote. Throughout American history this ugly practice has endured and been employed generation after generation. Some of the historical schemes of voter suppression include the “grandfather clause”, literacy tests, poll taxes and constitutional quizzes. It’s worth mentioning that most of these schemes were targeted at black voters but impacted whites also, as some whites were unable to meet some of the requirements.
The American Dream lives! It’s the current American reality that’s become a nightmare for millions upon millions whose lives, occupations and economic stability once seemed to embody it. A new survey released Thanksgiving week by the Washington Post and the Miller Center, a nonpartisan, public policy-focused affiliate of the University of Virginia, offers fresh evidence that Americans overwhelmingly still hold fast to the positive beliefs that in the 20th century helped project the buoyant optimism of the American character.
We can’t create a better world if we haven’t yet imagined it. How much better then, if we are able to touch such a world, experience it directly, even live in it—if only to a partial degree and for a brief moment. This is the idea behind “prefigurative interventions,” actions that not only work to stop the next dumb thing the bad guys are up to, but also enact in the here and now the world we actually want to live in.
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