November 6th was our latest election day. Once again, there have been sound allegations of voter suppression in Georgia, Florida, and other states. Since 1968, when we saw a mass exodus of Southern segregationists flee the Democratic party to the Republican party, Republicans have regularly attempted to pass laws suppressing access to the ballot box. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, 24 states have laws making it harder for citizens to vote, and those laws disproportionately disenfranchise the elderly, economically vulnerable, and African Americans, even though there is little evidence of voter fraud.
The 14th, 15th, 19th, and 26th Amendments to the Constitution guarantee that right. One of the key practices that made us a great, unique nation is in fact the right of the people to vote. Regardless, continued attempts to block access to the franchise devolves the vote into a cheap, cynical, destructive political strategy. This begs many fundamental questions.
What is built into the American electoral process and law that continuously supports voter suppression? Why do some continuously attempt to exploit those laws and further create policies that consistently prove to disproportionately suppress the vote of historically vulnerable constituents? More importantly, why are so many of us willing to dismiss these problems, especially if we say we believe in democracy? Do you believe in democracy, or do you just believe in winning? If we truly value democracy, and if a candidate feels most qualified to take an office, then why is there a need to manipulate the system and knowingly suppress votes?
And if you are shaking your head right now, thinking I am making much ado about nothing, talk to me next time you go try to vote… and can’t.
I am Joseph Flynn and that is my perspective.