America and the Right to Vote

Voter suppression, when you do an internet search for articles, shows that this is something very much in affect during this 2016 presidential campaign – and its one purpose (as a recognised strategy) is to influence the outcome of an election. Laws can, and have, been passed to make it harder for voters to vote.

A friend drew my attention to a news story about Ben & Jerry’s, the ice cream guys, getting arrested at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., and it had me intrigued.

It was all part of the Democracy Awakening organised protests through April 16-18 2016 which describes itself as …

… a broad coalition of organizations representing the labor, peace, environmental, student, racial justice, civil rights and money in politics reform movements. We share a firm belief that we will not win on the full range of policy issues we all care about until we combat attacks on voting rights and the integrity of the vote by big money.

Ben & Jerry stated on their website that they joined in with the protests because of ..

the flood of unregulated cash flowing into campaigns and elections. And the second is the wave of attacks in many states on citizens’ right to vote. | via benjerry.com

Both points are extremely valid, but it was the second one, in particular, that sent a shiver down my spine. The one about voters having their right to vote, or the the ease with which they can do so, restricted or managed in some way.

I did some quick research and found something that impacted on my state of Ohio, and others, which made me feel really uneasy. Voter Suppression laws were passed by various states, including Ohio, that restricted the ease with which people could cast a vote – from reducing the number of voting stations available, to reducing the number or types of ID accepted (something that disproportionately impacts women), to the reduction of early voting hours, and disallowing same-day registration.

Both Democratic candidates Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have filed lawsuits in various states that could, or already have, restricted a staggering number of people from voting with ease.

Whatever the reasons that are given, other than the obvious one of trying to manoeuvre votes to favour one party or Presidential Race 2016 candidate, why, or maybe more importantly, how were voter suppression laws ever allowed to happen in this country? America a democracy? It does not seem so.

Is this really how the voting people of America should be treated? Have you protested or encountered any issues while trying to vote? Do you think the voter suppression laws are fair and a good idea?

Please share your thoughts.

JULY 2016 UPDATE: A related story – Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down NC Voter ID Law

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4 thoughts on “America and the Right to Vote

  1. Heather says:

    How does reducing the number or types of ID accepted “disproportionately impact women”? Just curious 🙂
    I feel voting is something that should be better regulated (there is so much voter fraud going on, why aren’t we talking about that?) Voters barely turn out to voice an opinion as it is. If you want to vote, follow the rules (that are really quite simple) and do it. I think it’s a horrible thing that of all of the real problems that are happening around the world (for crying out loud, Syrians are being turned out of their country by the millions!) and this is what people (Ben and Jerry’s ice cream-ridiculous) are rioting about? Maybe I’m not getting it but is limiting early voting hours (not even regular voting hours) and requiring better forms of ID (voter fraud!) and heaven forbid not letting someone register the day of (oh the injustice…insert eye roll) is it really going to keep a specific group from voting? How? I hope it keeps the cheats and liars out is my hope. I appreciate your views and perspective as it helps me think about subjects that I’m not always sure how I feel and maybe I’m not understanding something here. I’ll read more about it to see if I’m missing something. For now, I’m going to go catch the tail end of the sunset I’ve been eyeing.

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    • Molly @ The Move to America says:

      Voting is, of course, something that needs to be adequately regulated to ensure no fraud or other issues arise – but the point of my post was that restricting previously accepted ways/forms/access to voting is deeply concerning as people need to be encouraged to vote, not restricted. If previous ways of voting were open to errors/fraud or were not regulated in an appropriate manner, then of course, changes are needed. Whatever your thoughts on it, I find laws made to reduce previous access to voting a little worrying.

      For information on how reducing the types of ID disproportinately affects women, these are some useful links … this one is from 2014 and the League of Women Voters and this one which is from the National Organization for Women – again from 2014, but the issues on the impact on women are applied today. There is also a good site to follow here, which is the Brennan Center for Justice.

      Your point about Syrian’s being forced out of their country in the millions is also a hugely important issue, and one that many people are also concerned about and petition/protest on, and seek to help, and as I do not know Ben or Jerry I cannot comment on if they have done anything to highlight the Syrian cause … as for this post, at no point did I make any comparison about Syria, there is always going to be other news that is more/less important (depending on your views), but I was focusing on voter suppression – and in no way would say that what voters face here is in any way a likeness to what Syrian’s leaving their country go through or the impact it has on the countries they try to settle in. It is a worthy story, and as an immigrant, it may be something I look into writing about.

      Thank you for your comment, I appreciate all the views I can come across and seek to learn as much as I can in my new life here in America, and about how this country works and the people who live here. Enjoy your sunset.

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  2. Heather says:

    I tried Molly, I really did. I read the articles (thank you for the links!) with an open mind trying to see another perspective. Getting a photo ID just is not that hard (for crying out loud, think of the red tape you jumped through to get here and they’re crying over a photo ID? That just doesn’t fit) “90% of women change their name after marriage”, how does that translate to not having a photo ID? Yes, 90% of us changed our name and 90% of us brought our marriage certificates with us the next time we needed a license and five minutes later, Bob’s your uncle, new photo ID. I can’t see why that causes a problem to “women” (seriously, do they think we are too dumb and too weak to fight for our right to vote?! Or anything else for that matter.) “students”(who are required to have a photo ID to even be in school!) “the elderly”(they’ve been around the block far more times than we have, if they want to vote, I’d be scared to get in their way…they are a tough group of people)and “minorities”(what in the world does the color of your skin have to do with getting a photo ID-it’s absurd!) You have to have a photo ID for EVERYTHING anymore, why not voting? And as far as the example they used for the older lady born without a birth certificate, that is such a small percentage why don’t they put all of their concern into helping the very, very few that it would effect and use all of their time, energy and money that they’re pouring into this to find ways to make getting said ID easier. Liberals love to throw around buzz words like “Jim Crow Laws” but do they realize the Supreme Court Justices who created them were Liberal Democrats…ironic.

    As far as my comment about the refugees, I meant it as one example, not as a finger shake at you. Unfair is being driven from your home, not having a photo ID to vote. I love your blog and love that you are honest in your perspective. It gives me lots to think about.

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    • Molly @ The Move to America says:

      Whether someone finds it a struggle to vote, or that there are other more unfair things going on in the world – it is an aspect of life in the ‘land of the free’ that needs to be looked in to – and one that really interests me about life in America.

      Unfair is being driven from your home, I am in total agreement, I just don’t feel comfortable with telling someone that something that affects them in their life is not as unfair as something else – it is just an odd thing for me, but certainly did not take it as a finger shake.

      I have enjoyed your take on this issue – I just hope not too many people were unable to vote when they wanted to. It will be interesting to see how the lawsuits etc pan out.

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