Every citizen of the United States age 18 or older should be able to vote. Voting is truly the only official voice we have in who runs our government and how they run it. Sure, we can write letters, we can protest, we can make phone calls … but at the end of the day, it is our VOTE that counts, that decides what our nation will be or become. Each and every one of us has … or should have … that right. In some countries, nobody has that right, so we should protect and safeguard our right as enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. Voting IS a right here in the U.S., but it is also a responsibility.
Even prior to the 2020 election, certain states had very restrictive voting laws, and after the utterly false claims of widescale voting fraud and other lies following the 2020 election, nearly every state in the country proposed and passed even more restrictions on voting. It is the opinion of this writer that if you are 18 or older, you should be able to vote. Skin colour, literacy skills, age, gender, income level, and locale should not matter. And yet … people of colour, poor people, young people, elderly people, disabled people, and those with prior felony convictions are often disenfranchised by unfair voting restrictions in their state.
Did you know that in Michigan it is against the law to “hire a motor vehicle” to transport a voter to the polls unless they are “physically unable to walk”? So, anybody who doesn’t drive, doesn’t own a car, and isn’t in a wheelchair, will not be able to vote. You cannot take a bus, taxi, Uber, or even ask your neighbor to drive you to the polls to vote in Michigan. I imagine that law is hard as hell to enforce, but still … the very fact that it is even a law is beyond disgusting!
In 2021, 19 states passed 34 laws restricting access to voting. More than 440 bills with provisions that restrict voting access were introduced in 49 states in the 2021 legislative sessions. Last year, Congress had the opportunity to pass two bills, the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, both of which would have protected our right to vote at the federal level, overriding restrictive state laws. Both bills passed in the House of Representatives but failed to pass in the Senate. Why? Because while all Democrats voted for and all Republicans (except one) voted against, the filibuster kept the bills from passing. The filibuster rules might have been changed to exclude voting rights legislation, but no … Republicans, aided and abetted by Democratic Senators Manchin and Sinema, refused. Why? Because as one Republican openly admitted, if everyone could vote, Republicans would never win another election.
The 2020 election had the highest voter turnout of this century with nearly 67% of all eligible voters actually casting a vote. In part, the reason was that many states went the extra mile to make it easier to vote by mail or ballot drop box in light of the pandemic. Also in part was a concentrated effort to unseat the person who was, at the time, sitting in the Oval Office. However, I find it pathetic that even with easier access to the ballot, only 67% voted. WHERE WERE THE OTHER 33%???
With just 53 days until the mid-term elections on November 8th, it’s time for us to all be giving some serious thought to voting. In most states, you can check online to make sure you’re registered – DO IT! Some states are quite aggressive in removing people from the list of registered voters without cause, so it’s important to make sure you are registered. If your state supports no-excuse absentee voting, by all means save yourself considerable time and angst by requesting an absentee ballot. If you have the wherewithal (time and vehicle) to help transport people in your neighborhood to the polls on election day, please do so. Your vote … is so important. Every single vote matters. Let’s not let the bastards keep us away from the polls, let’s not throw away our one opportunity to be heard, to have our say in who is making the decisions that affect the lives of each and every one of us. If you won’t do it for yourself, then do it for your children and grandchildren who will inherit the world we create today.
Warning: This blog will frequently contain posts, including some updated reprisals of past posts, about voting and voting rights between now and November 8th. I make no apologies … this may be the single most important election thus far in our lifetimes and we need to understand the issues, the candidates, and what is riding on our choices. Thank you for your patience.