Today is the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. This landmark legislation helped to level the playing for African Americans in the South somewhat until the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a vital portion of the law, the majority claiming that the South is changed.
The South has, to the contrary, not changed enough to stop trying to disenfranchise African-Americans, most notably with ID requirements that have a similar effect to the nefarious poll taxes of the Jim Crow era. These laws are justified by a fraud problem that is nonexistent. This situation is a travesty.
The time has come restore the franchise once and for all to those, particularly minorities, who law been blocked from voting by the law and its application. This restoration starts with three measures:
- Restore the Voting Rights Act – This has been proved in congress and blocked by Republican’s who need to be turned out of office.
- Automatic Registration – People become registered voters when they become citizens or turn 18. Oregon has just made such a procedure the law of the land. This eliminates duplication, saving both the government and voters money and time. This makes easier for all citizens to vote and for the government to prevent fraud.
- Franchising ex-cons – it is high time that we stop disenfranchising felons who have been released. Whether they are paroled or finished their sentences, if they have done their time, they have done their time, and it makes no sense to keep punishing them. This would have a huge impact since so many African-Americans spend time in prison.
These are just the beginning. We also need to have a holiday for voting so people do not have to rush out to vote during lunch hour or on the way home or on the way to work. Voting should be fair for everyone, not just those who are wealthy enough to overcome the obstacles.
http://ohiodems.ngpvanhost.com/switch-it The need to remove barriers to voting has become urgent in the era of “Citizens United.” The above link is to a petition asking the Ohio Secretary of State to allow online voter registration. This is but s first step and should be the policy in every state in the country.
Others steps are to universally allow voting by mail (as in Oregon) and eliminate the ID requirement for voting unless state pays for it. Having people pay for their own ID functions as a poll tax. No one should have to pay to vote.
Finally, earning a living should not be a barrier to voting. Many people find it difficult to find time to vote on a working day. It is past time for Election Day to be made a holiday on the national, state, county and city holiday as needed. Every citizen should have time to vote.
These steps would begin the process of making this country a true participatory democracy.
I just voted (2:30 p.m.)in the Gainesville City Commission runoff in At Large Seat 1 at precinct 32, which is down the street from where I live. I voted for Harvey Budd and was the 94th voter. That is not too bad for a runoff, but it is still rather slow, so we must pick it up. The sun is out people! No rain is within a few hundred miles on the radar, so get out and vote! If turnout is too low, Jay Curtis might sneak onto the commission. The last thing we need is a third commissioner beholden to developers.
We also have a runoff in District 1 over on the East side. Re-electing Yvonne Hinson-Rawls is also important.
To sum, people, GET OUT AND VOTE!
The Federal Election Commission is seeking comments on how to improve regulations governing disclosure of campaign contributions until January 15 (next Thursday). This is our chance to push for them to require full disclosure, which the public has a right to. With the DISCLOSE Act stalled in the Congress, FEC action is imperative and urgent. Please use the above link to find the link to the appropriate FEC page.
In related news, according to Common Cause an anti-corruption ballot referendum passed in Tallahassee, Florida. According to represent.us, the margin was approximately 2 to 1. Finally, according to the Huffington Post, the anti-corruption act includes:
- lower limits on campaign contributions
- a citizen-funding system
- an independent authority to investigate campaigns.
This is a major victory, and by all accounts it was won with a left-right coalition that actually included members of the Tea Party. Hopefully it is the first of many triumphs. Democracy, fairness, and decency demand it.
Alabama woman, at 94, reflects on poll taxes, literacy tests and new efforts to limit voting | Southern Poverty Law Center. – with a big el cation coming tomorrow, a reminder of what is at stake in the face of increasing GOP efforts to obstruct voting.
, Tell TV Networks to Stop Running Misleading Koch Brother Ads | Democrats.com. The Kochs are not only trying to buy control of congress, they are spreading lies to that end. That buck stops here. The Republican Party and the dreadful Mitch McConnell must not be allowed to take control of the U.S. Senate. The consequences are too painful to contemplate. Also, the “GOP”‘s rogue governors, Synder in Michigan, LePage in Maine, Walker in Wisconsin, Corbett in Pennsylvania, and Scott here in Florida, must be prevented from securing re-election. The dismantling of corporate control begins Nov. 4!
The emMs./em Voting Guide for College Students. – it is time to vote, people! the election is only eight(8) days away. The “GOP” currently has the edge in the race for control of the U.S. Senate. If you thought filibusters were bad, a Republican takeover would be a nightmare! So VOTE! Anyone outside the”GOP” and the Tea Party who does not vote is going to be sorry come January.