Time to Demand the Vote

Co-authored by Lindsey Hover

In the wake of the multiple progressive legal victories that have come as a result of Supreme Court rulings in June and July, it's time to turn our attention to the discriminatory atrocity of voter suppression that is taking place across the country, particularly below the Mason-Dixon line.

In 2013, in the Shelby vs. Holder case, the United States Supreme Court gutted some of the most important provisions of the 1963 Voting Rights Act, originally meant to extend the right to vote to all citizens. In response, several Southern states have enacted measures meant to alter their state Voting Rights Acts, with an essence reminiscent of the Grandfather Clause of the Civil Rights Era. North Carolina adopted new measures invalidating same-day registration for voters to register to vote the day they came to the polls to cast their ballots, as well as early voting for those who would be unable to make it to the polls on voting days. States like North Carolina, Florida, Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia, South Carolina, Alabama, Arizona, and Texas (having some of the strictest voting regulations in the country) have enacted stringent policies requiring every voter to have a state issued identification. This provision was incorporated to prevent immigrants and minorities from voting. These are the groups which some far-right conservatives frequently target as depreciating the integrity of this country, and are also groups who may not have the time and financial resources to renew their licenses immediately, once it expires.

In North Carolina, despite a lawsuit by the North Carolina NAACP, a federal judge ruled that state's voter ID did not cause "irreparable harm" to the North Carolina voting structure, and thus no change was made to the law. In Texas, the strict requirement of timely updated identification cards has come under question as some newly married women who have taken their husband's surnames have been restricted from the polls. Tennessee and Virginia are like Texas, in that they have invalidated the use of student IDs, library cards, and out-of-state IDs as legitimate means of identification to access the voting polls.

America, voter disenfranchisement must be taken seriously. The truth is, far-right extremists are deathly afraid of the growing progressivism among American youth and will undertake any measures to maintain the status quo and keep the power to legislate policies that are based in hatred, bigotry, and xenophobia.

Millennials, we cannot sit back and allow wealthy congressional theocrats to continue to perpetuate women's wage inequality, restrict immigrants from becoming productive members of American society, keep college tuitions unreasonably high, prevent upstanding citizens of various sexual and gender orientations from leading normal lives, and concentrate one third of the country's wealth within one percent of the country's population, all for the benefits of their own pockets and inhumane, immutable preferences.

As frustrating as it may seem now, the best way to overpower these corrosive measures and their creators is to play the game that has been laid down before us. Get licensed, register to vote, keep updated on who stands for which issues at the time of every congressional and executive election, and keep your paperwork updated, so that everyone who cares about these issues can get out to vote without restriction, and elect representatives who will stand up for their issues and their rights in the city halls, state capitols, the U.S. Capitol, and the White House.

Richard Fowler is the youngest syndicated progressive and/or African-American radio host in the United States.

Lindsey M. Hover is a student of Journalism and International Relations at Boston University.

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