Voting rights jeopardized by GOP

September 12, 2013 

Republican strategists and financiers are unrolling a conspiracy that's threatening our democracy. With America's changing demographics, they've figured the only way to assure their political survival is to rig elections so people who don't vote Republican get barred or discouraged from voting. Their goal: Keep minorities, the working poor, elderly, impoverished, and young people from voting. These Republicans have opened up a great big bottle of Jim Crow on American voting rights.

Despite repeated studies proving voter fraud is practically nonexistent and hasn't impacted election outcomes, Republicans continue their nationwide crusade for voter ID laws. But even with voter ID, how do they justify accompanying rules that have nothing to do with voter fraud, and everything to do with voter suppression? In state after state, these draconian changes are turning back the clock on voting rights:

* Cutting voting hours

* Curtailing early and weekend voting

* Closing polling places at colleges and inner cities, making voters travel and wait hours in line

* Punishing parents of students who vote while away at college

* Placing ridiculous obstacles in obtaining state IDs (In many states it's easier to obtain a gun permit)

* Discouraging voter registration, banning it from high-school civics and even harassing groups like the League of Women Voters

* Encouraging partisan "poll-watchers" to intimidate voters and challenge valid ballots.

What's next, raising the voting age back to 21? Overturning women's suffrage? The Republican legislators and governors who've interfered with the people's hard-fought voting rights undermine our democracy and aren't worthy of the offices they hold.

Kevin J. Gagen

Belleville

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