Voter suppression

Jack Canfield

One would think that voting should be made as easy as possible, to allow as many American citizens vote as possible. The ability to vote for our leaders, our most sacred right as Americans, honors the sacrifice millions have made. To vote is to participate in democracy.

Really, it is a celebration and, in theory, a party to which every citizen, coast to coast, should be invited. Black and white. Short and tall. Rich and poor. No exceptions.

However, recently, the term and concept of voter suppression has become ubiquitous. And this is scary. A party backed, funded and controlled by a majority of the wealthiest Americans has begun to pass laws designed to make it more difficult for the masses to vote.

More specifically, to make it more difficult for minorities, low-income families and the youth to vote, three demographics that usually do not agree politically with billionaires. As a general rule, the more people who vote, the better off Democrats are, hence the “Barack the vote” movement. Conversely, the fewer voters, the better off Republicans are.

It’s not too far-fetched to make that claim that a group of about 40 old, white billionaires could decide the upcoming election. Take, for example, business magnate Sheldon Adelson, who according to CBSnews.com has personally given upwards of 37 million dollars to a Romney Super PAC and has stated before that he would be willing to donate almost three times that amount.

While my vote should, and in theory does, count just the same as Mr. Adelson’s, my influence on the outcome of the election isn’t comparable. And thanks to the party Mr. Adelson backs, my vote may not even count at all. In fact, last spring in the Wisconsin recall election, my vote didn’t.

After returning home from a summer program I found a letter addressed to me stating that my registration could not be completed because I did not provide my birth-date and final digits of my social security code – which, by the way, is completely false.

In several states, laws were just passed that now require a citizen to provide a photo I.D. at the polls in order to prevent voter fraud. This voter suppression movement isn’t even being denied when put upon the Republicans. Said Mike Turzai, the House Majority leader in Pennsylvania who pioneered voter suppression, “voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the election, done.”

Voting is worth fighting for because it is the cornerstone of the freedom we Americans love to boast about. This November I am headed to polls armed with as much information as I can get — and I urge you to do the same.

Call home and get your social security number. Heck, take the card with you to the polls. Take your passport, your driver’s license- whatever you can find. Register early – vote early!

I’m going to take a camera to take a picture of my completed registration form before I turn it in. I am not going to be a victim twice of what was likely unlawful business. Ultimately, what was most disconcerting about the letter I received is that I was pretty confident I wasn’t the only Lawrentian who received it. Be educated and no matter who you support, be prepared.
 

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