You Gotta Fight, For Your Right, To VOTE!

You Gotta Fight, For Your Right, To VOTE!

The United States Constitution has been amended 27 times, Three times, it was to expand voting rights: in 1870 to ensure that formerly enslaved African American men could vote after being freed, in 1920 to grant women voting rights and in 1971 to ensure that 18-year-olds who were old enough to die in Vietnam were also old enough to vote for the leaders with the power to send them there.  As a teacher in a high school whose student body is 86% African American and 80% girls, I remind my U.S. History students every semester that you are throwing away three momentous historical movements for which people gave their lives if you don’t register and exercise your right to vote when you turn 18.

The apparent belief that many Americans have that their vote doesn’t count becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: those who are the most marginalized by the political process, the less well-off and less educated, vote in lower numbers and face greater barriers to casting a ballot.   In pivotal Ohio in the 2004 election, voters in some low-income urban areas stood in line for four hours in the rain and undoubtedly hundreds who otherwise would have cast a ballot went home or to work.  Politicians whose policies will not sit well with the young or people of color enact voter ID laws that constitute a new Poll Tax because a driver’s license or the underlying documents required to obtain a photo ID like a copy of a birth certificate can be cost-prohibitive, and many college students and people who move frequently don’t have updated ID.  These laws are bought and paid for by ALEC, a right wing corporate legislative council that wines and dines legislators and crafts laws for them to propose and sign.

Hillary Clinton is set to make a speech opposing GOP-led attacks on voting rights, according to the Rachel Maddow show’s blog.  Hillary’s campaign lawyer is also filing challenges to laws in Wisconsin and Ohio that have placed restrictions on voting and cut chances for early voting that increase turnout.  This is not only a political issue which the Democratic base can get behind, but it is good strategy for whoever the Democratic nominee turns out to be: shining a light on discriminatory voting restrictions now and filing legal challenges against it will help to ensure that more Americans nationwide are able to cast ballots in 2016, which always helps Democrats over Republicans.  Furthermore, hitting the ground running on this issue now will  ensure that the 2016 nominee doesn’t get blindsided by anomalies at the polls come election day.  It’s the ideal issue to take on because it is right and because it is practical.

Photo Credit: Map of the 2016 Electoral College, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I am a history, economics and political science teacher and union representative at a Brooklyn, NY high school. I am passionate about education, labor rights, income inequality and creating an economy and government in the USA that is truly of, by and for the people

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I am a history, economics and political science teacher and union representative at a Brooklyn, NY high school. I am passionate about education, labor rights, income inequality and creating an economy and government in the USA that is truly of, by and for the people

ReverbPress Mobile Apps ReverbPress iOS App ReverbPress Android App ReverbPress App