Voting suppression is not our fault!
Response to a Campus Echo op-ed of Sept. 19
Published: Friday, September 21, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 21, 2012 14:09
The opinion page presented an article, “No ID? Your Fault.” I feel that it deserves a reply for clarity and for democracy.
The author paints a simplistic rationale for “all” to have IDs! It is important to understand the current reason for requiring IDs for voting. What about: Pennsylvania GOP House Leader Mike Turzai allowing “himself to be captured on video saying that the voter ID law he shepherded through the legislature is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.” Now, go figure the intent!
The new voting ID law is not to ensure the legitimacy of the vote, “since there isn’t evidence to support massive voter fraud,” but clearly a means to suppress the vote—discriminatory and a clear voter suppression tactic; even the US Attorney General has called it a poll tax!
Better yet, the Brennan Center for Justice concluded that voter fraud “is essentially irrational, it is not surprising that no credible evidence suggests a voter fraud epidemic.” Moreover, the Center stated the following: “The voter fraud cry has been increasingly used to justify policies that suppress legitimate voters. But the cry is baseless; allegations of voter fraud—especially polling place impersonation fraud—almost always prove to be inflated or inaccurate.”
There has been a rush for voting ID; the data supports the fact that minorities, the elderly—and college students will suffer more. Most college IDs are not considered appropriate for voting. Not having a driver’s license or an ID with an expiration date is not a foreign concept—just ask college students, the elderly, or one supreme court justice in Pennsylvania—who couldn’t vote with his work-related ID. Now, go figure the intent.
Going to a club, buying beer, or cigarettes is not a fundamental right; the right to vote came as a result of blood, sweat, and tears—and yes— deaths! Comparing these issues are irresponsible and a sad attempt to lessen the struggles of black and white Americans. Voting is a right!
Better yet: Viviette Applewhhite who didn’t have the proper ID to vote, yet she had voted for over 60 years without one — she is well over 18 — and is quite a responsible African American woman to have lived over 90 years of age. Now, go figure!
Yes, discrimination exists — requiring a voter ID is fundamentally a discriminatory strategy for voting suppression—be guided by the evidence.
Dr. Ed Bell, NCCU Class of '85