Still fighting for the right to vote

2012-11-02-theHole

Attempts to suppress and discourage voting by minority groups, poor people and young people did not affect the outcome of the election.  But that doesn’t mean that voter suppression didn’t occur, or that it didn’t matter.

On election day, I walked to my polling place, which is about five minutes from my house.  I signed in without showing any kind of photo ID.  I was immediately able to vote, on a machine-scanned paper ballot, so there would be a paper trail if anybody questioned whether the machines operated correctly.

In other places, people had to stand in line for six or more hours to vote.  Some were removed from voter registration lists for arbitrary reasons.  Never mind that it didn’t change the outcome of the election.   American citizens have a right to vote.

Voting is a right, not a privilege.  If you think differently, ask yourself what you’d say to the family of Medgar Evars or the other people killed in the American South during the 1960s for demanding the right to vote.  If you still think  it is a privilege, ask yourself who has the right to decide whether you yourself has the right to vote.

The Republican Party is doing a lot of soul-searching about why they do so badly among African-American and Hispanic voters.  I imagine the attempt to deny minorities their right to vote probably energized them to support President Obama more than they otherwise would have done.

But this doesn’t make it harmless.  Voter suppression may well determine the outcome of state and local elections that are outside the national spotlight.  The U.S. Civil Rights Commission should investigate and do what’s necessary to protect voting rights.  It’s too bad this battle has to be fought again in a new generation, but evidently it does.

Click on Why Mitt Romney Lost: A Simple, Overriding Theory for an article by Andrew Cohen in The Atlantic Monthly about how voter suppression backfired.

Click on Black voters turn out strongly in swing states for a Washington Post article on how voter suppression backfired.

Click on Maricopa County Puts Out Another Spanish Language Flyer With the Wrong Election Date for background on the cartoon.

Click on Candorville for more Darrin Bell cartoons.

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