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WNIJ Perspectives
Perspectives are commentaries produced by and for WNIJ listeners, from a panel of regular contributors and guests. You're invited to comment on or respond to any Perspective on our Facebook page or through Twitter (@wnijnews), in keeping with our Discussion Policy. If you would like to submit your own Perspective for consideration, send us a script that will run about 90 seconds when read -- that's about 250 words -- and email it to NPR@niu.edu, with "Perspectives" in the subject line.

Perspective: Voter Rights Make Us Great

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Kari Sullivan
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Unsplash

We Americans tend to say that we have the greatest democracy on the planet, but if voter participation is an indicator of greatness, then we are not as model as we think. The Pew Research Center and other sources show the United States ranks 26th in voter participation internationally. That’s not great.

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What hampers American voter participation, for some, is simple apathy. Simultaneously, elected leaders attempt to deter voting. Since the Voting Rights Act of 1965, there have been repeated, malevolent attempts to disenfranchise voters, typically historically vulnerable communities: the elderly, the youth, racial minorities.

Sorry, but nowadays Republicans are most egregious in this, oftentimes proposing changes that have been shown to marginalize vulnerable constituencies. We see this in the hours-long lines at polls in urban communities, distribution of misinformation, and allowance of foreign interference.

We must ask ourselves as citizens who love this great nation, what does it mean when our president casts doubt on our process rather than ensuring us that everything will be done to make sure our elections are free, fair, and protected from foreign influence? Rigging the system is not just politics, but an affront to the fundamentals of our nation and to all those who died to ensure our right to vote. What good is winning without honor or integrity after all?

At the end of this election, what I wonder is will we elect leaders who encourage states to expand the access to and security of voting, regardless of party? That, is democracy.

People, citizens, no matter what, on November 3rd, do all you can to have your voice heard, and move us closer to being as great of a democracy as we say we are.

I am Joseph Flynn and that is my perspective.

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