Written By: Anton Sawyer
“The ONLY reason the liberals have ever been able to win an election in the 2000s is because of Obama’s open borders and letting anyone vote without any kind of verification.” This statement, or one like it, was what I heard most often when it came to voting rights while working for the Republican National Committee in 2015. Though I removed some of the profanity, it was something I would hear often as our scripting was such as to get the contributor to speak about voting rights and restrictions on almost every call. It would inevitably lead to the thought that the only way Democrats can win anything is by allowing anyone to vote, no matter their nationality, and with zero limitations or restrictions. Of course, when you dig a little deeper (as we are known to do here at The Indie Truther), you find that reality is nowhere near these assumptions.
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Voting restrictions are the thing that completely changed my worldview of politics. I did go over this previously (you can read about here Voting Restrictions Impacting White People, And Not For The Reasons You Think), so I’m just going to give Cliff’s Notes version today. The main argument used for both sides when it comes to limiting the number of people legally allowed to vote in America typically centers around race. What I’ve also found is that if you mention race, there will be a minimum of 30% of the voting population that will mentally shut down and resist listening to anything else you have to say. I took that out of the equation. The way I viewed voting restrictions and who it impacts was simple: I don’t feel that I have the level of arrogance it takes to look at hundreds of thousands of people and know that I’m so keenly aware of every element of their lives to tell them what they can or cannot do. I can’t look at 50,000 people in any given state and say “yep, you’re all lazy. You can afford an ID, you just don’t want to.” That’s one of the biggest problems I have with any voting restrictions that directly impact millions of people, especially when we’ve been raised in a society that puts such a high premium on doing your duty as an American by voting. We all hear the conservative argument of “well, you need an ID to fly on a plane.” There are a lot of American’s who have never flown and will never have a need to in their lifetime. But when they turn 18, we rally around as a nation and tells this person that it is imperative to their civil rights.
Whenever I hear Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, etc talk about how easy it is for someone to get an ID, it shows such a basic lack of any understanding to those who have lived in poverty or even having a perspective of any kind, really. This ignorance definitely comes from the top-down as according to ex-President Trump who infamously made his ignorance level known by believing the American people needed an ID to buy groceries. If you think I'm being facetious, do not forget that in 2018 he was so convinced of this "fact" that he spoke about it openly. In August of that year he made a speech in Florida proclaiming, “You know, if you go out and you want to buy groceries, you need a picture on a card. You need ID.” Removing this error in thought process, the reality is not everyone lives in an area that is a thriving metropolis where you can get whatever you need almost immediately. It’s like when I used to live in Wyoming. I lived in a smallish town and had to drive to a completely different county for a government document I needed for my job at the time. There are also families with all adults working multiple jobs where taking time off may be the difference between being able to afford groceries that week or starving, if they have to spend a few hours in a government office for their ID. As much as I would love to keep race out of the conversation, it has become an unavoidable force as of late with the Georgia voting restrictions.
Attorney General Merrick Garland announced in June 2021 that the Justice Department is filing suit against the state of Georgia over its sweeping election law—The Election Integrity Act of 2021—that was recently passed by Republicans, alleging it violates the federal Voting Rights Act by seeking to disenfranchise black voters. "Our complaint alleges that recent changes to Georgia's election laws were enacted with the purpose of denying or abridging the right of Black Georgians to vote on account of their race or color, in violation of Section Two of the Voting Rights Act," Garland said. What exactly are the parts that could be so impactful then? A few examples include when President Biden said, "What I'm worried about is how un-American this whole initiative is. It's sick. Deciding that you're going to end voting at five o'clock when working people are just getting off work." But it's not the case that voting has to finish at 5 pm. The law allows counties to set voting hours anywhere between 7 am and 7 pm, as was the case previously. The new law does lay out the hours that are required as a minimum on election day, saying "voting shall be conducted beginning at 9 am and ending at 5 pm," as opposed to "during normal business hours" stated in the old law. Another one of the biggest complaints against the law is that there will be fewer drop boxes. While this is true, it also requires some context. Prior to the 2020 election, drop boxes were not used in Georgia. They were brought in as part of emergency Covid action. The new law also means the boxes will be held in buildings and can only be accessed in the hours that early voting is allowed, rather than 24 hours a day as was the case in 2020. So in reality, the new law reduces the number of drop boxes across Georgia compared with the last election cycle, but it also makes them a permanent feature in future elections in the state.
A controversial portion of the law that gained steam with detractors was the elimination of Sunday early voting. Sunday voting is huge for Georgia's Black community, and goes by the saying “souls to the polls.” When you look at it though, this element of the bill wasn't passed, and Republicans backtracked following criticism. The final bill allows two days of early Sunday voting, which is now formally signed into law. An additional day of mandatory Saturday early voting has also been added. Looking at the realities, it seems that the idea the legislation is specifically targeting black people isn’t entirely accurate. However, the new voter ID requirements that are in place are going to cause the same level of disenfranchisement to the poor, and statistically speaking, black voters. The new voter ID requirements mean signature matching will no longer be used to confirm identities on postal ballots, instead voters will have to provide one form of identification, such as a driver's license or social security number.
There is nothing inherently “moral” or “American” about voting restrictions of any kind. For example, if you believe in God, then voting is a direct covenant between you and the lord. To promote any legislation which would break that covenant isn’t something I can see as easily rectified with the person upstairs. For those who are not of a single-deity faith, the numbers don’t lie. To have the arrogance to judge the lives of millions of Americans, proclaiming you have some special knowledge about each and every one of them, and you know for sure them not getting an ID is an active decision and not one based on circumstance is breathtaking. If you believe that there are so many loopholes allowing the “wrong” kind of people to vote, or that there needs to be a quality baseline established for those who vote, then I recommend making it a requirement to pass the citizenship test to vote in any national elections. Of course, for this to happen, we’d have to take a page out of the GOP playbook in regards to weakening the 14th Constitutional Amendment.
The first time that weaponizing natural citizenship in America, causing it to become a huge issue, was in the early-to-mid 2000s. At that time, the pejorative term “anchor baby” was tossed around by the conservative faction of America regarding illegal immigrants coming over the border with the specific intention of having a child and using it as an anchor. Essentially, it is an extremely racist term used to signify the removal of the 14th Amendment. The thought is that by not allowing people birthright naturalization, it would prevent the children of illegal immigrants from being born in the US. Though I don’t agree with this specific reasoning, I do feel that if there are to be ANY voting restrictions, it should be a requirement to pass the citizenship test given to immigrants before the right to vote is allowed, to anyone. Often as Americans, we have this sense of national pride and the rights granted to us by being born here. This idea that because of a geographic location at birth we are not to be held to the same account as our immigrant counterparts. I know there are a lot of people on both sides of this philosophical argument, and it’s an argument worth having.
I constantly hear from both the GOP and DNC commentators the need for removing (or educating, depending on who you’re listening to) the low-information voter. There’s always special attention paid to the individual who knows everything about nothing, is told what to specifically think, and then makes catastrophic voting decisions that negatively impact America as a whole. As we know, both the Woodrow Wilson Foundation along with Pew Research have done surveys over the last dozen years or so asking American adults the same questions given to those taking the citizenship test. In any given year, only 31%-36% of adult Americans can pass the citizenship test. Think about that; two out of every three Americans would not be able to pass a basic civics test that is given in high schools across the nation, and therefore would not be able to vote. As a country, we have become incredibly reliant on the mentality of “I was born here, so I have ALL the rights and don’t have to lift a finger. I just had to be born at the right place.” So if there were to be legislation that would enforce some kind of voting restrictions that I could possibly support, it’s this one.
Overall, I don’t support voting restrictions. We have been led to believe it is our solemn duty to cast a ballot every two to four years. If a politician comes out and says this, and then puts restrictions on people from doing it, then there is definitely misdirection going on. If you are truly worried about election quality, then I can’t see how asking adults to know the bare minimum that any high schooler does is trying to do anything but improve the quality of the voting. Given all of this, I know there will be many who will talk about “rampant voter fraud.” Honestly, truly, if you can look positively at all of the 2020 election fraud cases brought about by the Trump administration nationwide, I have some questions for you. How many were thrown out? How many attorneys were threatened with disbarment? If you don’t know these numbers, then you absolutely need to look them up. If you still think the US legal system failed after looking at the overwhelming evidence and there needs more investigating, then you are part of the problem.
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