There is no right more precious in our nation than the right of citizens to cast a ballot on Election Day. That is why generations of Americans have sacrificed and even died in efforts to expand the right to vote. Yet across the country, powerful corporate interests and the right-wing politicians who do their bidding are working hard to make it more difficult for citizens to vote. In more than two dozen states this year, bills have been introduced to restrict the right to vote; and in several states where Wall Street-backed Republicans control both houses of the legislature, governors have signed these fundamentally misguided measures into law.
As a result of these cynical attempts to turn back from the progress America has made in expanding voting rights, millions of voters are in for a surprise when they go to the polls. They will find new requirements that have never before existed, requirements that have been put in place to keep particular voters – students, minorities and senior citizens – from having their voices heard in our democracy.
In Ohio, for example, Gov. John Kasich and the Republican-controlled Legislature pushed through a measure that limits early voting and places new burdensome requirements on absentee ballots. “I think it is very calculated,” said State Sen. Nina Turner of Cleveland. The corporate-backed restrictions on voting are designed to reduce the ability of low-income and minority voters to cast a ballot, particularly by forcing boards of elections to close their doors on the weekend before Election Day. Voters whose jobs, family responsibilities or disabilities make it difficult for them to stand in long lines, often for many hours, will now find it harder to exercise their fundamental right to vote. Read the rest of this entry →