America Needs a "Right to Vote," as Georgia Proves Jim Crow Never Completely Ended

Thom plus logo The right to vote is more important then owning property or guns

This week, Georgia passed the most restrictive voter suppression legislation since Jim Crow. In actuality, the Georgia legislature proves that Jim Crow never completely ended. It's alive and well today, in part, and its principal proponent is the GOP.

The two bills end automatic voter registration, ban drop boxes for absentee ballots and radically curtail mail-in voting. They also make illegal "Souls to the Polls" on some weekends, a tradition that has led to about 10 times more African Americans than white people voting on Georgia Sundays near Election Day.

And Georgia is just the first among many Republican-controlled states that are planning to do the same and more.

America needs an absolute right to vote, like most other major democracies.

One legacy of slavery is that our Constitution does not contain an absolute right to vote for all citizens who have achieved the age of majority.

Because we don't have a right to vote, Red State governors can radically cut back on the number of polling places and voting machines so that working class people are forced to stand in line for five, six, in some cases last year 11 hours to vote.

Because we don't have a right to vote, legislators in Georgia could make it a crime to give a bottle of water or a slice of pizza to somebody they have forced to stand in line for 11 hours to vote.

Because we don't have a right to vote, about 30 million registered voters nationwide have been removed from the voting rolls since 2014, so when they show up to vote they are given "provisional ballots" that, in Red States, are often never counted unless there is a lawsuit.

Because we don't have a right to vote, back in the 1960s William Rehnquist helped organize "Operation Eagle Eye" in Arizona to pull together a volunteer army of large and often uniformed white men to challenge Black, Hispanic, and Native American voters at the polls. It was so successful it kicked off Rehnquist's political career, taking him all the way to Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, and is now on the verge of being re-legalized by this generation's Supreme Court.

Because we don't have a right to vote, Florida's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis was able to prevent almost a million Florida citizens from voting if they owed fines or fees to the government.

Because we don't have a right to vote, Louis DeJoy could destroy the US Post Office and slow down the mail just in time for the election and not face any legal consequences.

Because we don't have a right to vote, in 2000 then-Florida Governor Jeb Bush was able to take a felon list from then-Texas governor George W. Bush and compare it to the Florida voter list, throwing about 90,000 African-Americans off the voting rolls because they had "similar" names just before the election that his brother "won" in Florida by 537 votes.

Because we don't have a right to vote, the Supreme Court told the Republican governor of Ohio — and now all governors — that he could remove millions of registered voters from the rolls because they hadn't voted in the previous election and didn't mail back a postcard.

Because we don't have a right to vote, Red State legislators have been able to force through laws requiring citizens to jump through extraordinary hoops like getting IDs they normally wouldn't need or use, just to vote.

Because we don't have a right to vote, Republicans in multiple states are making it extremely difficult to vote by mail or drop off your ballot at a convenient dropbox during a pandemic.

We do, however, have other rights.

Our property rights are totally intact. If the government wants to take away your house or your car because, for example, you didn't pay your taxes, they have to go to court to do it.

Taking away our votes should be as tough a job for Republicans as taking away our homes or our guns.

Our gun rights are strong. If the government wants to take away your guns, they have to go to court and prove their case in front of a judge.

Our marriage rights are solid, at least until Amy Coney Barrett weighs in. If a government official tries to deny you a marriage license today, that person can be sued or, in some states, even go to jail.

Our free speech rights have been so expanded that the Supreme Court has ruled that if billionaires want to buy politicians, that is totally legal and considered "free speech."

Our right to due process is still respected in America. If the government wants to put you in prison, they have to go before a jury of your peers and prove their case.

Voting, however, is not and never has been a right in America. Which is why the largest part of the Republican election strategy next year is to prevent people from voting, and to try to block their vote from being counted after it'd been cast.

It's why Republican-controlled state after Republican-controlled state is passing legislation to make it harder for anybody but middle- and upper-middle class white people to vote.

Taking away our votes should be as tough a job for Republicans as taking away our homes or our guns.

Democrats in the House passed HR1, the For The People Act, that goes along way toward making it easier to vote, establishing national standards for voting, securing our votes, and ensuring transparency in the voting process. But it still does not guarantee an absolute right to vote.

America needs a 28th Amendment that establishes an absolute right to vote for all citizens who've achieved the age of majority.

While we're working on that, we also need laws that assert the right to vote in such emphatic language that courts can enforce it and reverse decades of Republican voter suppression; HR1 is a great start, although the Republicans have already committed to filibustering it in the Senate.

We need a constitutional right to vote that is as strong as our constitutional rights to own property, own a gun, and get married.

Only then can America call itself a functioning democratic republic.

-Thom

Originally posted on thomhartmann.medium.com.

Comments

Legend 6 weeks 2 days ago
#1

What is best, is Australia where you are required by law to vote and fined if you fail to. It is called Compulsory Voting. The Republicans are afraid of the vote.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 6 weeks 2 days ago
#2

While wingnuts are crying crocodile tears over the purported "cancel culture" shit-canning (properly so) racist and sexist children's books, cartoons, and toys, the flaming hypocrites are trying hard (and have been for a long, long time) to cancel millions upon millions of legal voters (all too often succeeding).

Are there any other kind of voters to speak of? Where are all those massive hordes of nonexistent "illegal" voters anyway, whose real numbers are so low that they have never once -- E-V-E-R -- made any statistical difference on the outcome of any election in modern American history, especially in 2020?

Watch what the left hand is doing while the right hand is grabbing you by the balls or the pussy.

Here's another gem that's been all over the news but bears re-posting: Clueless Papa John's ex-CEO whines about being canceled. The comments are hilarious. 🤣

Riverplunge's picture
Riverplunge 6 weeks 2 days ago
#3

I used to think that Laws were only made for good and betterment of behavior.

Until money made one party evil enough to crush another's freedom and life.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 6 weeks 2 days ago
#4

The Republican Party of "nope, can't help the little people" -- let's keep naming the minority party over and over and over lest the wingers keep getting away with pretending they are on the right side of truth, justice, and the American way.

Democrat's democracy (largely thanks to FDR) used to be the envy of the world until Republicans began cheating their way to power in a mad dash to fascism after WWII, from Nixon to Reagan and all of them since, with the exception of Eisenhower (the last good one) and possibly Ford (who only stumbled into power and then stumbled again by pardoning Nixon before finally stumbling out of power in a pitiful bid to win over voters).

Trump, McConnell, McCarthy, et al. are just the latest symptoms of a long-term disease afflicting the right side of the aisle: the chronic dysfunction of modern "conservative" thought, which is kissing billionaire butt.

alis volat's picture
alis volat 6 weeks 2 days ago
#5

Unfortunately the research to prove that voter suppression really-really works in the right's favor was probably paid for by the left. After all, it stands to reason their normal mindset would be you are on your own and ours would be every citizen should be able to participate in our democracy. Our statistics likely helped them to determine it was worth the effort. I say this because it absolutely creates some awful PR for the right. Voter suppression is a bad look; it must have an affect on how many of the unaffiliated voters view their tactics.

We used internet connections and pushed voter registration drives during the Obama elections. They adopted our strategy. It was rather delicious that Trump screwed-over Brad Parscale who gave his all setting up their systems. Karma+Trump=Bigly Bitch

People of color and those with multi-racial ancestry are going to be running the show eventually. I am betting on them to do the right thing when the demographics change. They are doing a great job now running for office and winning in America. That must scare the shit out of many old white conservatives (not to mention Jordan Peele's productions).

The work for equality never ends. The HR1 Senate fight will be another way to educate folks.

cuz's picture
cuz 6 weeks 2 days ago
#6

I agree that the US should follow the Australian voting system to the letter. No substitutions, carve-outs, or concessions.

Paulacci The Clown's picture
Paulacci The Clown 6 weeks 2 days ago
#7

I am saddened by the utter lack of integrity these "gritty" CONS possess!

The answer is "fight fire with fire" Slam dunk these punks and put them where all TRAITORS belong, in the 'Hoosegow' for life! These subhumans are not Patriots, but rather [if I may utilize a tad of poetic license] Ratriots!

Worn out door knobs's picture
Worn out door knobs 6 weeks 1 day ago
#8

If Republicans were guilty of voters suppression, Joe Biden would have never been elected President.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 6 weeks 1 day ago
#9

There is no "if" -- Republicans are guilty of voter suppression. The extensive factual history of red-state antics over several decades clearly demonstrates the absolute certainty of that.

Biden was elected despite the suppression efforts for at least three big reasons that come to mind: Because of the pandemic, more Democrats than Republicans voted by mail (A lot of the original suppression tactics targeted the act of voting in person at polling stations.); Democrats conducted massive get-out-the-vote campaigns to make sure that people were properly registered (Purging the names of likely Democratic voters off registration lists by the millions without good cause is perhaps Republican Secretaries of State's most egregious tactic.); Americans, in general, voted in overwhelming numbers in concert with Democrats because of their utter disgust with Trump and his all-out fascist inclinations.

The margin of victory would no doubt have been a helluva lot more than seven million had there been no suppression by Republicans, as you falsely imply.

Why do you think that freaked-out red-state legislators are now introducing an avalanche of new voter suppression laws (many restricting mail-in voting) using Trump's "Big Lie" as their phony excuse? And why are they so afraid of more people voting, making it harder to vote instead of easier?

Legend and cuz are absolutely correct that the U.S. should have "Compulsory Voting" like in Australia. We also need to get rid of the cumbersome, insane, and totally unnecessary Electoral College system, which is what Trump was abusing to overthrow our democracy. These and other critical reforms can happen when the demographics inevitably change the face of America, as alis volat points out.

Legend 6 weeks 1 day ago
#10

Doorknobs still believes the Trump big lie. The first election Trump was in was 2015 Primary in Iowa and he lost to Ted Cruz. Lied and called it a rigged election. 2016 constantly repeated rigged election. 2020 same thing. How many times do you buy into a lie? That the election was rigged. If anything it was won despite the Republican rigging.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 6 weeks 1 day ago
#13

Of course they're Republicans. The judge is, so it's a safe bet the rest are too since it appears they're all part of the same gang.

Legend 6 weeks 21 hours ago
#14

But in Republicans eyes it shows that voter fraud is real?!?!?!?????

deepspace's picture
deepspace 6 weeks 19 hours ago
#15

As the saying goes, they're their own worst enemy. Trouble is, they're also the worst enemy of our democracy with all their new voter-suppression laws in the hopper based on Trump's Big Lie.

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