You’re Losing Your Right to Vote
America, that shining beacon of democracy, has a rich history of trying to keep people from voting… and it's looking worse for 2012.
At one time you had to have a white penis to vote. Or land. Or the ability to pay a poll tax and pass a literacy test. Until the 26th Amendment was passed in 1971, some states allowed people ages 18 and up to serve in the military – and, in that case, potentially get killed in Vietnam – but wouldn't let them vote until the age of 21 (And no, college dudes, this is not the place to start complaining about the drinking age. That's another issue.).
Conservatives love to wax patriotic about the good old days, glossing over the fact that much of the past was effed up. Since 2010, Republican state legislatures have been hard at work on new laws that will make voting increasingly difficult for more than five million eligible voters. And just in time for the 2012 presidential election!
Some states have made it harder to register to vote or will cut back on early voting. Others require voters to show specific forms of government ID that as many as 1 in 10 voters may not have. Florida and Iowa have prohibited citizens with past felony convictions – people who are now taxpaying, law-abiding citizens – from voting.
The restrictions mostly affect the young, poor, and minorities. Surprise! Statistically, these groups are more likely to vote Democrat. (They'll still probably be called "apathetic" when they don't cast a ballot.)
And here's the kicker: The states that are already limiting voting rights just happen to be providing 171 electoral votes. That's 63% of the 270 total electoral votes need to determine the presidency. Meanwhile, many other states have introduced legislation that could change voting laws. Stay tuned for further voter discrimination headed your way.
Amanda Green writes for Hunch, The Guardian and The Noisiest Passenger.
Photo courtesy of the Brennan Center
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