Issue 281, Friday 28 September 2012 - 11 Dhu al-Qa'dah 1433
US elections: Where is my vote?
By Mohamed Walji
As the US Presidential elections approaches, the rights of voters have come into question. Over the last six years the Republicans have passed several voter suppression laws under the pretext of preventing voter fraud. However, during the Bush Administration between 2002 and 2007, there were only 87 cases of voter fraud.
Former Democrat Governor of Florida, Charlie Crist, said: “Including as many Americans as possible in our electoral process is the spirit of our country. It is why we have expanded rights to women and minorities but never legislated them away, and why we have lowered the voting age but never raised it. Cynical efforts at voter suppression are driven by an un-American desire to exclude as many people and silence as many voices as possible.”
As the US Presidential election approaches, the rights of voters have come in to question.
The Brennan Centre for Justice stated that by the start of 2011 sixteen states equalling 214 Electoral College votes would have passed restrictive voting laws, all of these being swing states.
So how do these restrictive laws work? In just over 30 states it is now mandatory to provide a government issued photo ID to register your vote, and with studies showing that approximately 11 percent of the US population, that is, 21 million American voters, do not have such an ID.
The restrictive laws put in place mostly affect the young, the elderly, the disabled and ethnic minorities, particularly African Americans.
Seven states have shortened early voting time frames, despite the fact that 30 percent of every vote cast in the US election in 2008 was cast before the day of the election. Some states even removed Election Day registration in spite of the fact it increased voter turnout by up to 12 percent.
However, Executive Director of an election law centre at the Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law believes that the “rhetoric on both sides has been over stated.”
While this may be true, it is still clear that voter suppression does still have an impact on voting with 1586 ballots from Georgians being discredited because of the suppressive laws that have been put in place.
There is very little evidence if any which shows that voter fraud is an issue in the US election system. It has been claimed that this is a Republican agenda to try and get the Republicans back in office.
Tom Richie Sr., one of two Democrats, who was on the Montgomery County Board of Elections, was fired by Jon Husted the Republican Ohio Secretary of State, for rejecting his state-wide early voting schedule.
Ritchie Sr. Said, “The secretary of suppression, Jon Husted and his cronies have got a plan and that is to steal this election. And by golly we’re not going to let that happen.”