Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

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If you’ve watched the news during the past few election cycles you may have heard a number of politicians claim that voter fraud is running rampant throughout the United States, taking away the power of good, hard working Americans voting rights, and that Voter ID laws will be the cure to this problem. But despite these claims, voter fraud is a red herring for Voter ID laws to disenfranchise poor and minority voters.

According to the ACLU, “11% of U.S. citizens – or more than 21 million Americans – do not have government issued photo identification.” On top of this Voter ID laws disproportionately affect voters of color, “up to 25% of African-American citizens of voting age lack government-issued photo ID, compared to only 8% of whites.” With the enacting of voter ID laws a substantial number of poor Americans are subject to a plethora of negative effects, leaving the poor, the old, the working class, and the disabled with debts and on the wrong side of scheduling.

While some laws could waive the identification fee, some Americans could pay anywhere between $75 to $175 dollars to gain the necessary documents. Not to mention the cost of missing work in order to obtain the materials. The enacting of Voter ID laws could leave potential voters. These laws could also hold up voters at the polls, as poor, and 9-5 workers get to the polls they could be jam-packed.

The narrative that voter fraud is an extensive problem is overblown politicized nonsense. According to The New York Times, the Government Accountability Office “identified few instances of in person voter fraud.” They went on to state that in 2012, an Arizona State University reporting project affiliate, News21, discovered “there had been 2,068 cases of fraud nationwide since 2000, including episodes of absentee ballot fraud, intimidation, vote buying and double voting.” This is quantifiable evidence that although voter fraud does exist, voter fraud isn’t common enough to impact elections, let alone necessitate laws to curb the problem.

The purpose of the voter fraud exists simply to push the Voter ID laws into effect. Pennsylvania State Republican Party chairman, Robert Gleason said in an interview that their Voter ID law, “had helped a bit” to decrease the gap in votes between President Obama and Governor Romney in the 2012 election. And according to Todd Allbaugh, a former staff aide to a Republican state legislature, “A handful of the GOP Senators were giddy about the ramifications and literally singled out the prospects of suppressing minority and college voters.” The actual purpose of Voter ID laws is an open secret in denying the right to vote for political gain.

Although they are being disguised as a new tactic against democracy Voter ID laws are nothing but a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

 

 

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Your Vote Counts More Than You Think

For many of us it may seem as if  the Electoral College stands in the waYour-Voice-Your-Votey of Democracy, and some may say the Electoral College is the only “thing” that decides the results of the elections. But it really doesn’t work that way. For example, in 52 of 56 elections, the popular vote was key to elect the President of the United States.  In two of those cases, the President was elected by another branch of the government. For instance, John Quincy Adams was elected by Congress and George W. Bush was elected by the Supreme Court, who obstructed the 100% counting of the popular vote, which Bush did lose to Gore.  

For many voters it may be demoralizing when this happens, but it only happened a few times in history. And we are aware that the Electoral College only decides the positions of the president and the vice president. The popular vote directly elects officials who have positions that have a direct impact on us— the voters. These positions include a community representative, who would elect the district’s representative to the state legislature, who would elect the district’s Member of Congress, who would in turn elect the president and the vice president. 

It is often said that if those who voted for President also voted in the off years (for congressmen and congresswoman), we wouldn’t have the same inactive Congress we have today.  The voter apathy we have been seeing, hitting a 20 year low, has far more to do with the detachment between Washington and popular voice, than the Electoral College could ever have. 

So… does your vote matter? Yes, it does! It gives the Electoral College a concrete and solid idea of who the people want as their next president. Although the final decision is up to them, one should keep practicing the right to vote for local, state, and general elections.

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Accessibility Issues in the Voting System

There is a major problem in the United States, many people are interested in voting; however, not many get the chance to do so. Accessibility problems involve all technical, mechanical and bureaucratic type of problems that hinder eligible voters to fulfill their desire to vote.

A popular reason why many eligible voters cannot vote on Election Day is lack of proper identification. During the last election for example, there were many voters who possessed an expired ID, however, they also carried their SSN and other type of up to date identification but were not allowed to vote because the law requires a valid, up to date identification card only.  What happens then to those who don’t have the means to obtain a valid ID? According to the Washington Post “many just give up” the elderly who can’t physically go to the MVA toblogweek2 get an ID, or the poor who have no money to get to the MVA or pay a fee.  Settles a 65 year retired engineer describes the system as a “bureaucratic nightmare”.

According to NPR, there are more than 35 million eligible voters who are disabled and decide not to vote because of lack of accessible parking spaces and properly installed ramps for people with disabilities. Ian Watlington, of the national Disability Rights Network (NDRN) explains “Right when you turn to get into the main door, you have a pretty substantial crack in the concrete. One that most peopllllle would have to bump over” Another problem that involves people with disabilities is the absence of additional disable parking spaces during Election Day.

Another reason is the lack of translators for Latino immigrants, during the last elections, particularly in Arizona and Florida where there is a big percentage of Latino voters, lacked obligatory bilingual translators; as a result many Latino voters were not able to cast their vote.

Such as one might expect there are always technical problems with polling machines; however, during the last election there were way too many problems with polling machines, creating extreme long lines which caused people to decide between voting and getting to work late, causing a big impact on voter turnout.

Voter Apathy Epidemic! Turnout or Turn up?

Voter apathy/voter turnout is a huge problem in the United States. The right to vote is one of the biggest ways to shape the future of your country and many people don’t seem to think weather they vote or not matters. Take the presidential election in 2016 for example. Accordingshutterstock-Trump-vs-Clintong to this article found on Pbs.org, what was thought to never happen ended up happening? Donald Trump was elected president of the United States of America.

After counting Clinton’s popular vote, she trailed Obama’s 2012 run by at least TWO MILLION! The people who supported her either felt that Trump wasn’t going to become a big enough threat so they didn’t bother to turnout or they felt neither candidate was worthy and stayed home.  Both candidates gave voters little to nothing to hope for and a sense of hopelessness as each day more reasons were given as to why both candidates were unfit to become president.

In this past Presidential election several million eligible voters didn’t visit the poles. Due to the concept of the Electoral College not many people believe that what they doesn’t matter and their vote won’t count for anything. With this in mind why should they not think there vote won’t matter? Schools and the government are doing very little to help ensure voters that turning up to vote will actually have a positive effect on the overall outcome. There are not many schools on a middle school, high school, or even some college level that really teach kids the importance of voting and what it can do to help the country you live in.

Pbs.orgFor example at my local school they have voter signup days but give little to no information as to why you should sign up, or the responsibility you have or/and what you can accomplish and change just by filling out a card. Meanwhile, the state and local governments are doing very little to help influence their communities and local young college students to show up at the polls. It’s 2017! We live in the prime of social media and short attention spans. To get people to show up and participate we need to be more interactive with the youth and show them that they play a big part in what makes a country great!dt.common.streams.StreamServer