Wednesday, July 20, 2011

America gets that poll-taxed look

By Zandar

I've been talking about GOP voter suppression efforts at the state level that all but constitute a de facto poll tax for months now, in Ohio specifically and nationwide. People are beginning to notice and you know it's got the GOP concerned because the noise machine is screaming "The only racists in America are Democrats!" as loudly and in as farcical a manner as possible.

But now we're starting to see Democrats take notice and start fighting back. It's fitting that the man leading the way on this is respected civil rights leader and long-time Congressman John Lewis of Georgia.

Mr. Speaker, voting rights are under attack in America. There's a deliberate and systematic attempt to prevent millions of elderly voters, young voters, students, minority and low-income voters from exercising their Constitutional right to engage in the democratic process. Voter ID laws are becoming all too common, but make no mistake: Voter ID laws are a poll tax. People who struggle to pay for basic necessities cannot afford a voter ID. The right to vote is precious and almost sacred, and one of the most important blessings of our democracy. Today we must be strong in protecting that blessing.

Lewis, as usual, does not mince words. Voter ID laws really cannot be seen as anything other than a deliberate effort to make voting as difficult as possible for the groups he mentioned:  the elderly, the young, students, low-income Americans, and minorities... groups that tend to vote Democratic.

Many, many more Democrats at the state and federal level need to take up this call going into 2012, and stop these laws that attempt to circumvent the right to vote. It's a right, not a privlege. Throwing up legal roadblocks to voting was abhorrent in America's past, and it's a critical mistake to ignore it again now just because these efforts are wearing the mask of "protecting your right to vote."

When there have only been 86 convictions of wrongful voter identification out of 196 million votes cast when the Bush Administration declared war on "widespread voter fraud" in America, the true reasons behind making it more difficult to vote in order to disenfranchise people becomes crystal clear.   Anyone who makes it harder to vote in order to reduce who can vote is trying to take your vote away from you, period.

Good for John Lewis to name the demon.

(Cross-posted at ZVTS.)

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