This weekend’s March on Washington should serve not only as a 50th anniversary celebration of the 1963 March led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., but as a call to action for us in 2013.
Sadly, voting rights are once again under attack
around the country. The Supreme Court’s disastrous decision in Shelby v. Holder
this year is giving cover to states that want to make it more difficult for
some citizens to exercise their rights. According to the Brennan Center for
Justice at New York University, 82 bills making it more difficult to vote
have been introduced in 31 states in 2013 alone. The supporters of these
bills generally argue that the purpose of these bills is solely to protect election integrity and prevent voter fraud. Voter fraud? During the GW Bush
Administration, the Justice Department conducted a probe of voter fraud during
the period 2002 – 2007, a period during which 300 million votes were cast. The
investigation netted 86 convictions, but none for in-person voting fraud. The
Republican National Lawyers Association, hardly a liberal think tank, conducted
their own study and identified 300-some possible cases of voter fraud
nationwide over 10 years, none of which were in-person fraud.
Are the politicians behind the rash of new laws just ignorant of these facts? While that is a frightening thought, it is not as frightening as the only other alternative: The motive driving Republican-controlled legislatures around the country to introduce and pass restrictive voter ID laws and limits on voting hours is not a desire to protect the integrity of our elections, but to effectively disenfranchise the poor, the elderly, minorities and students.
It is pretty clear that instead of trying to win over the hearts and minds of these voters, the Republican party is doing whatever they see fit to prevent those voters from exercising their rights at the polls.
Protecting the right to vote is not a Republican issue or a Democratic issue – it is an issue as fundamental to our American democracy as any. Congress will fail in its duty to the American people and to our democracy if it does not take action to stop these efforts to suppress the vote.
Dennis Anderson will make this a top priority of his campaign and ask that you do the same. Support Dennis at https://www.facebook.com/dennisanderson.IL14.