Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Let My People Vote

The Department of Justice has launched an investigation into Pennsylvania's new voter ID laws. Vivian Applewhite, a 93 years old great-grandmother, has voted in every election since 1960 when she voted for John F. Kennedy, but she will not be allowed to vote in the 2012 election if state legislators have their way. Applewhite never drove and had her purse stolen years ago. Despite paying a fee to obtain a birth certificate she has never received one from the Commonwealth, she said.

“I think it stinks,” she said on a video aired at a recent news conference.“They are taking our rights away.”

Another plaintiff, Wilola Lee, 59, a retired Philadelphia schools employee, was born in rural Georgia. Lee has been voting for decades and worked as a poll worker in Philadelphia. She has been trying for nearly ten years to get a birth certificate from the state of Georgia which told her they have no record of her birth.
Applewhite and lee are two of 758,000 people in the state that would lose their vote. That's 9.2% of the state's voters and 18% of the voters in Philadelphia.

Republicans say they want a "fair" election, thus the new laws. But, they admit
"there have been no investigations or prosecutions of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania and the parties (to the lawsuit) do not have direct personal knowledge of any such investigation or prosecution in other states."
It is apparent that this is legislation in search of a problem. The real reason was articulated by a Republican legislator in a video recorded June 23, 2012 in the Pennsylvania House, when he stated that the new law would help Governor Romney win the presidential election.

In his remarks to the 2012 NAACP Convention, Atty. General Eric Holder called these restrictive voter laws a modern day poll tax that discriminate against the poor, the elderly, young people and minorities. Legal action is in progress against such laws in Texas, South Carolina, Wisconsin, and Florida. There are eleven states that have new laws that disenfranchise millions of current voters by violating the 1965 Voter's Right Act and Voter Registration laws under the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Republicans seek to nullify the protections outlined in this landmark legislation.

Cases have been heard in federal and state courts in at least four Republican-controlled states that recently enacted voter-ID laws. In March, the U.S. Justice Department blocked Texas from enforcing a photo-identification law. At the same time, a Wisconsin state judge ruled that requiring a photo ID to vote was unconstitutional.

Get involved. Make sure you know the voting regulations in your state and that you can meet any new requirements so that you'll be able to vote on election day. Let your voice be heard. Let's all fight for our hard won freedom. Let my people Vote!

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