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Right to Vote; Not yet!


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America’s democratic foundational underpinnings are explicitly linked to our right to vote and thereby the participation in the voting process of small “d” democracy is as essential as national defense. The exercise of democracy therein lies in the RIGHT of the We The People to VOTE uninhibited by the very government which represents us.With this fact being an unquestionable reflection of America freedom, it is amazing that America has no coherent approach to elections rules on BOTH the local and federal levels.  Currently America has a wide-ranging mosh-posh of election laws that can be changed at any given time by the local ruling parties.

Most Americans believe that they have the right to vote, but are unaware that the right to vote is not enshrined in the Constitution and this is a fact that some/many on the political RIGHT love to exploit via legislative barriers. Examples of this attempt at voter restriction can be witnessed in the election of 2012 as evidenced by the attempts at voter disenfranchisement via voter ID restriction laws.

The rationale that some have for the need of voter ID laws is their belief that there is a wide range of voter impersonation in America’s voting system. This symptom has yet to produce any tangible evidence of such voter fraud. Those who see the need for this additional level of voter protection ignore the fact that we have in place laws for dealing with the extremely rare (to the point of irrelevance) cases of in-person voter impersonation.

According to a study from NYU’s Brennan Center, Voter ID laws adversely affect the elderly, minorities, low-income groups, and the young that tend to vote for the Democratic Party. Obtaining photo ID can affect a person financially and can be very time-consuming endeavor. Even when a state supplies the ID “free of charge” acquiescence of a state ID can require such documents as a birth certificate that can cost up to $25 in some places, Social Security Card, bills, and other which can great inhibit the voter’s ability to vote.

The facts are out there, but why does America find itself in this state of voting stagnation? Given that the right to vote is not in the constitution, America has relegated the conditions, regulations, and procedures of voting to individual state discretion. This nonsensical local approach to voting has led to a great level of disenfranchisement when it comes to voting, whether intentional or not, the fact is people are denied the right to vote for a myriad of reasons that typically lack any credible rationale.

We The People are denied the right to vote because of ballot box design or availability, inconsistent and unequal provisional ballot counting policies, registration front groups losing registrations (intentional or unintentional, voting machine dysfunction, residency errors, convictions, and the list goes on.

As a direct result of our lack of national voting rights or constitutional voting rights, our electoral system is at the tender mercy of 50 states, more than 3,000 plus counties, more than 13,000 voting districts, and the partisan divide. Needless to say (or needed to say), our electoral process is a mess that is riddled with restrictions, lack of access, unaccountable voting results, and all out rigging.

America is in need of serious reform to our voting system (or lack thereof). In order to ensure that democracy can be stated and affirmed in every state, district, and county there is a need to a combination of national and constitutionally protected voting rights.

The most essential voting reform that America can do is to enshrine the right to vote in the Constitution, so that every American has a fully protected and affirmed right to vote. The affirmation of the right to vote is at the very center of the beating heart of American democracy and the time has come to restore democracy by assuring every American’s voting right.

Not only should the right to vote be in the constitution, it should also be an inherited right that is obtained by turning 18; given you are a legal citizen of America. Why is it Americans have to go through such efforts in order to exercise (what should be) their right to vote.

The right to vote should coincide with our right of citizenship and should not be left to the whims and delegation of partisan hacks at the local level. It is, without doubt, time for every American to have a constitutional right to vote that is regulated and overseen by our federal government. American democracy is bleeding from a self-inflicted wound that is partisan voter right restrictions.

We The People are in dire need of a regulatory process that is consistent, fair, reliable, verifiable, and free of partisan gamesmanship. Currently there are 12 States that prohibit voting based on felony convictions; there are 19 states that prohibit voting until the end of incarceration, parole, or probation; There are 4 states that restore voting to the convicted after the term of incarceration and or parole is finalized; there are 13 states, including DC that restore voting rights after term of incarceration is complete; and there are only 2 states that do not prohibit the right to vote of felons (absentee voting is allowed even in prison).

Here is a question that needs to be asked; if a person has committed a crime (felony or misdemeanor) and paid the price for said crime to society, does the state or government have the right to take away their right to vote? If so, when, and for how long?

Voting is as American as apple pie and should warrant protections that are extended and protected by the Constitution of the United States. The use of legislation, partisanship and obstructive procedural hurdles flies in the face of democracy and the American way. Those of you that see national and constitutionally protected voting rights as the essential fix for our democratic processes can go and support House Joint Resolution Res. 28; The Right to Vote Amendment. The text of the resolution is below for your perusal and information; go forth and support national and constitutional voting rights NOW!

Text of House Joint Resolution Res. 28, The Right to Vote Amendment

JOINT RESOLUTION

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States regarding the right to vote. Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, (two-thirds of each House concurring therein),

That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States:

Article —

SECTION 1. All citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, shall have the right to vote in any public election held in the jurisdiction in which the citizen resides. The right to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States, any State, or any other public or private person or entity, except that the United States or any State may establish regulations narrowly tailored to produce efficient and honest elections.

SECTION 2. Each State shall administer public elections in the State in accordance with election performance standards established by the Congress. The Congress shall reconsider such election performance standards at least once every four years to determine if higher standards should be established to reflect improvements in methods and practices regarding the administration of elections.

SECTION 3. Each State shall provide any eligible voter the opportunity to register and vote on the day of any public election.

SECTION 4. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.’

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    April 29, 2013 at 9:10 am

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    • June 12, 2013 at 8:20 pm

      I will try to continue my writing. In fact, I will have make it my mission to post my blogs regularly. Thanks.

  2. May 9, 2013 at 10:59 am

    I almost never create comments, however i did some searching and wound
    up here Right to Vote; Not yet! | Random Political Utterings!
    !. And I actually do have some questions for you
    if you don’t mind. Is it only me or does it look like a few of these comments appear like they are coming from brain dead visitors? 😛 And, if you are posting on additional online social sites, I would like to keep up with everything new you have to post. Would you make a list of the complete urls of your community pages like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

    • June 12, 2013 at 8:27 pm

      Well thank you for commenting for when you never comment. In fact, I am replying when I typically never reply, but I am taking on a new leaf.

      In terms of the brain dead visitors, I don’t like to refer to anyone as brain dead. On my blog I like to maintain a level of civility and respect for all commentators by all of us, so please keep your comments within the boundaries of respect.

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