In our last election, six million Americans were unable to vote—denied a fundamental right. These citizens were unable to make change. With their voices suppressed, they were forced into the shadows of a “democracy” where only certain people can vote. Although our last election showed record voter turnout, a record number of people couldn’t vote. States such as North Carolina and Georgia have adopted policies that deny people that right to vote if they haven’t voted in a certain period of time or for other reasons, and such policies have fallen disproportionately on people of certain ethnicities and social classes.
Since the founding of American democracy, voter suppression has been a problem, and a massive one at that. In the first election of the United States, only three percent of the population was eligible to vote; the white-male-protestant-property owner. In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson forever engraved these infamous words in history: “We hold these truths to be self-evident all men are created equal.” However, according to American politicians like Brian Kemp, a Republican from Georgia, or Mark Harris, who has recently been charged with taking part in voter fraud, voter suppression and many more crimes, clearly don’t think that all men are created equal. The Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution states that “[t]he right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Although Americans have grown accustomed to voter suppression, it is so blatantly illegal. Not only is voter suppression immoral and wrong, but it violates our constitution—a document representing the free world.
People have trekked miles of harsh terrain, desert, and ocean to come to the United States. From immigrants who traveled in steerage class, to those who trekked across the deserts of Mexico, the United States is one of the only places where they thought their voices would matter. However, due to corrupt, power-hungry politicians of the twenty-first century, these people are unable to have a voice. According to the New Yorker, Georgia’s governor “[Brian] Kemp has invoked the so-called exact-match law to suspend fifty-three thousand voter-registration applications, for infractions as minor as a hyphen missing from a surname.” People come to the United States for a voice, for freedom, for liberty, and for safety. However, politicians like Brian Kemp have infringed on their rights not only as Americans, but also as people.
Six million people can’t vote. Six million people can’t share their struggles and their insight into our far from perfect society. By denying innocent American citizens the right to vote, politicians are inadvertently killing democracy.
The Washington Post is correct: “Democracy Dies in Darkness”. Every election, every time people are denied the right to vote, democracy is forced closer and closer to its death.
Photo: Curt Merlo, The Nation[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]