Recently, hundreds of new voting regulations have been proposed in state legislatures across the country, once again reigniting an old fight steeped in prejudice and racism.
Despite the declarations of Article 1 and the 14th, 15th, and 19th Amendments to the Constitution, keeping those rights has been a fight since 1865. During the Jim Crow era nefarious means disenfranchised African Americans: poll taxes, literacy tests, incarceration for petty offenses, and terrorism suppressed Black voters. Today we are dealing with thinly veiled practices like voter ID, closing polling places in minority communities and opening more in White communities, withholding water in long lines, withholding requested resources to hire poll workers, requiring ex-felons to pay thousands of dollars in fees, and purging voter rolls without notification, among other practices.
Proponents argue these actions are to protect the vote, but study after study and court decision after court decision has shown that voter fraud is all but fiction. For example, A 2014 analysis by Justin Levitt of Loyola Law School in Los Angeles found only 31 cases of fraud in the entire country since 2000, out of more than 1 billion ballots cast! So it begs the question, exactly who is the vote being protected from? Since these plans have been shown to disproportionately affect racial minorities it definitely makes one say, “Hmmm.”
Simply, if a proposed law doesn’t expand access to voting, it is voter suppression, plain and simple. So ask yourself, do we really believe in the values enshrined in the Constitution, or do we really pray at the altar of winning through systemic oppression?
I am Joseph Flynn, and that is my perspective.