Cynical attempts to disenfranchise voters

I rarely editorialize on this blog and usually write only about American Indian law, history, and economic issues.

But I am making an exception today because I am outraged by the current cynical tactic to take away Americans' voting rights.

It is one thing to make extreme and even misleading claims in political ads and campaigns: all politicians and political parties do that on occasion. 

But it is unacceptable in the United States to try to win elections by taking away peoples' right to vote: that is, by disenfranchising them.  

Up to 30 states have already enacted, and are considering enacting, what are called voter fraud acts that add additional requirements before people can vote.  From what I read, actual voter fraud is almost non-existent in the United States.

Thus, the Republican party strategy against "voter fraud" appears to really be an attempt to use all kinds of voter requirements to cut down on the number of voters, especially poor and minority voters since they predominantly vote Democratic.

A Pennsylvania Republican legislator revealed this strategy in a speech he gave in June in which he stated that the voter ID law the Pennsylvanian GOP had gotten enacted into law "is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania."

So far, too few people have recognized and been motivated to do something about this regressive attempt to cut back on voting rights, a right that minorities in this country have had to fight for, for far too long.

We all need to be worried by this effort to return to voter restrictions similar to way poll taxes, grandfather clauses, and literacy tests were used to prevent African Americans from voting until Congress passed the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Read more on this subject in an op/ed piece published yesterday by Leonard Pitts Jr.: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/07/14/2894666/why-silence-from-african-american.html

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