Don’t believe your right to vote can be taken away? THINK AGAIN. 

Don't believe your right to vote can be taken away? THINK AGAIN

Spike Lee said, “There is shenanigans going on down in Florida.”

Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, Democrat of Florida sent out the following press release on the 47th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act:

On August 6, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law. Forty-seven years later, the U.S. is embroiled in a controversy over Voter ID laws that have been passed in several states, and which critics say could prevent millions of Americans from voting this year. Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson sent out a press statement today, making just that point. The statement read:

“Today, we commemorate the 47th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, a historic milestone in the Civil Rights Movement. So many people died so that we could have the right to vote. I never thought that in my lifetime we would have to fight again for our Constitutional right to vote.

“There has never been any evidence of mass voter fraud in Florida. The changes to Florida’s voting laws are a cynical voter suppression effort targeted at people who tend to support Democrats – college students, minorities and seniors. Shrinking the early voting window and purging voters from the rolls are the Florida Republicans’ latest attempt to disenfranchise voters for their own political gain.

“Don’t let anyone stop you from exercising your Constitutional right to vote.

Meanwhile, Republicans insist the laws are designed to keep ineligible voters, including illegal immigrants, from fraudulently casting ballots (though very few documented cases have been cited.)”

There is a massive voter suppression effort going on across this country.  If you are black, brown, a senior citizen, a college student or among the urban poor you are most at risk of having your right to vote taken from you.
Who’s behind these attempts to purge the voter rolls?  It seems to be a purely partisan campaign.  Pennsylvania is among several states, including Alabama, South Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin, Mississippi, Indiana, Kansas, Tennessee and Georgia with strict photo I.D. requirements.  PA House Majority Leader Mike Tursai, R-Bradford Woods was giddy with excitement recently as he addressed a gathering of peers.  He read from a checklist of GOP accomplishments, including House Bill 934.  So excited was he that he completely forgot that cameras were still rolling.

He stated, “VOTER I.D. which is going to allow Gov. [Mitt] Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.”  The strict photo i.d. requirement could affect a minimum of 750,000 in the state.  If successful, these voter purges could prevent millions nationwide from voting.

On the surface the requirement to provide a photo i.d. may seem reasonable.  But, there is much more to it.  Take 93-year old Viviette Applewhite, a Philadelphia,. PA grandmother.  She has no photo i.d. because her purse was stolen.  She has not been able to replace her identification because the state has not been able to locate her birth certificate.  As a result, she cannot vote under the new voter i.d. law passed by PA Republicans like Mike Turzai.

This 93-year old is not taking this lightly, however.  She has become the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by the ACLU challenging Pennsylvania’s new voter i.d. law.

But, what if you aren’t in a position like Viviette Applewhite?  She can at least fight back.  What if you do not have the means to afford an i.d.?  It is estimated that 500,000 people in states with voter i.d. laws live in households with no motor vehicle and cannot easily take the time off for getting such an i.d.  Further, there is the cost.  Many cannot afford it.  And, there is confusion as to what is required.

Alabama and Kansas require proof of citizenship.  Early voting periods have been cut short in West Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, Ohio and Florida.  It is estimated that 11% of citizens do not have government-issued photo identification and a whopping 25% of black voting age citizens do not possess a government-issued photo i.d.

According to the state of South Carolina’s own statistics, 81,936 minority citizens who are already registered do not have the i.d.’s required to vote under the new laws!

The U.S. Department of Justice is challenging the South Carolina law under the 1965 Voting Rights Act.  However, as citizens we must be pro-active.  We have a responsibility to act.  First, know your own voting status.  Don’t be fooled by disinformation campaigns like the one in Virginia where mass emails went out claiming that voters have to “re-register” if they haven’t voted since the 2008 general election.  This is completely false.  Virginia has no “re-register” requirement.

Be proactive. Know your state law and keep abreast of any changes that may be happening in your state. Alert others to what is happening.  Volunteer to make telephone calls and knock on doors.  Contact your voting precinct.  Let your state legislators know that you are aware of any tactics to undermine and suppress your right to vote. Send emails and write letters. Call your representatives and senators in Washington, D.C..[202-224-3121, the U.S. Capitol switchboard.

THINK OF WHAT IS HAPPENING AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!.

A Checklist:

Get registered.

Here’s how:

-  Start immediately.

-  You must be a U.S. citizen by birth or naturalization and 18 years of age.

-  Check with your state.  Each state has its own eligibility requirements and deadlines for registration.  (Check for special requirements covering military service, residents outside of the U.S., and first time voters).

- Make sure you register in time to vote in November and that you fully understand the proof of identification requirements in your particular state.  Even if you have voted in  previous elections check to make sure that you are up to date on any new proof of identity requirements.

- For details visit:

gottaregister.com , www.presidentialelection.com or gottavote.org.

For more information go to:

www.naacp.org

fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com

See you at the polls!

Act now!  Do not delay.  Vote for whom you like.  But, VOTE

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