The 14th and 15th Constitutional Amendments granted the right to vote for the citizenry of the United States. It was the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which secured the right to vote for all racial minorities in the United States. What we have seen in a matter of days equates to the frenzied pulling at the threads of the same Voting Rights Act. It is horrifying.
In North Dakota, we have witnessed the determined GOP excising the voting rights of Native Americans with the speed of something akin to the Jim Crow South. Native Americans have discovered their tribal ID cards are no longer acceptable forms of identification to vote. Large numbers of the Native American population of North Dakota have P.O. Boxes listed on their tribal IDs, rather than street addresses. However, in matters of emergencies, 911 can pinpoint exactly where they are and can give an address.
Let us also examine the state of Georgia with the Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, being the Republican candidate for governor against Democrat Stacey Abrams. Within weeks of the midterm elections, there are 53,000 new voter registrations which have not been processed. He still has not stepped down from his current position as Secretary of State to remove himself from any suspicion compromise.
Just this week, there were African-American senior citizens removed from a van which was taking them, along with other seniors, to vote. Monday, October 15th was the first day of early voting in Georgia. The reason given for pulling the African-American seniors off the van was the outing was ‘political’. For this fact, Black Voters Matter was told that was not a county-sponsored activity. The secondary reason was it ‘violated guidelines imposed on county-sponsored events.’
It is this loose-lawful goalpost moving which is problematic. It is this concentration of power which more is puzzling—especially under the guise of fair and free elections. There can be nothing either free or fair about taking the voting rights of any populace. In this case, the demographic voter suppression directly effects are those who are the direct threat to consolidating power!
Prior to the Johnson administration and the idea of The Great Society, there were people of color, Black people, barred from voting by brutal (if not lethal) means! Don’t let the age of Facebook and other social media outlets numb or erase this. Do not be lulled to apathy by what you can scroll past. There are states, including Missouri, that purge voter rolls. I remember at about a decade ago when I was told I couldn’t vote at my designated location. Why? My name on my driver’s license and what they had on the roll didn’t match; my middle name was misspelled.
Yes, there are ways around this type of suppression! Check and make sure your name has not been purged from your state’s voting rolls. Make sure your voter registration address and your state-issued identification match. When you move, move your voter registration. Be aware of your polling place. Offer to carpool those whom cannot make their polling places without transportation. Become knowledgeable about the provisional ballot. The best tool against voter suppression is knowledge and advocacy: learn how the system works in order to work it better.
The trouble with this it all becomes a game of Super Mario Brothers.
I am old enough to remember the first video gaming systems. We are talking Atari and Nintendo. I remember the only game which came with Nintendo was Super Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt. As you played as either Mario or Luigi, you would fight though all these levels with the hope of saving Princess Toadstool. The thing is, that until you found her, you would get this message:
I’m sorry, Mario/Luigi!
But our Princess is in another castle!
Level after level, challenge after challenge, she wouldn’t be where you thought she was. The goal kept moving. This is exactly what is happening! The goal is to vote in every election without problem. Every election there is some pocket of gerrymandering, voter suppression that goes on. Now from the bully pulpit of Fox News, Laura Ingraham said, “If you don’t vote GOP the Democrats will replace you will immigrants.” The glaring question I have to her statement: who is you?
Even in the lack of a reasonable, logical argument, here is what can’t be ignored. The point of political oppression/suppression is the consolidation of power to eliminate any outside reason. The goal is to suppress all those seen as a threat to this power, its authority or opposition to avarice policy. Those who wield the power such policy brings hope to remove the last bastion of resistance: the right to vote.
The goalpost keeps getting moved. The question remains, will we all find the Princess this time or will she be in another castle? If either is the case, we must remain vigilant and fight. Register to vote and let nothing stop you.