Monday, September 17, 2012

Proof That Your Vote Really Matters

This year's Presidential election is definitely going to be a close one, and voter suppression is probably more prevalent than ever. States like Florida, for example, have effectively put an end to voter registration drives like those carried out by the League of Women Voters. These drives have traditionally been successful in registering new voters. Other states are shortening early voting periods, and are no longer giving registered voters the opportunity to cast their ballots on the Sunday before the election. Some states  will request that prospective voters have proof of citizenship before they are allowed to vote. At least two dozen states have significantly tightened their voting requirements since 2008, requiring government issued I.D. as the only valid form of identification accepted in order to vote. Each and every new law introduced to suppress your vote has been sponsored by Republicans in the name of preventing voter fraud, which they claim is a major issue.
Between 2002 and 2010 a major probe done by The Justice Department failed to convict a single person for going to the polls and impersonating an eligible voter. Only 86 people were convicted of voter fraud out of 300 million votes cast, and the majority were either felons or immigrants who were simply not aware of their ineligibility.The fact that laws are being enacted just to discourage your vote is proof positive that it is valuable, and the fact that some states are going to greats lengths to suppress our vote speaks volumes.
On August.6, 1965 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law. This law applied a nationwide prohibition against the denial of anyone's right to vote, as specified in the 15th amendment which had been in place since the end of the Civil War. Before the voting rights act African-Americans were not allowed to vote simply because of the color of their skin and were often made to take literacy tests, and "good character" tests which were easily manipulated. After the act was passed into law, special provisions had to be made in certain southern jurisdictions in order to prevent such outlandish caveats from being used in order to discourage African-Americans from voting. In the summer of 1964 The NAACP, and the Southern Leadership Conference organized voter registration drives in the south because civil right leaders realized that African-Americans were most often adversely affected because of their lack of political representation. These registration drives were often met with intimidation, violence, and murder. Too many people paid the ultimate price for us to have the right to vote, and if we do not participate in this basic human right that they fought so hard to gain, it dishonor's  their memory.


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