Cheater, cheater pumpkin eater
The sustained effort to silence marginalized voters has roots dating back as far as the creation of America. In fact, in 1870, the first mission of the newly created Department of Justice was to protect black voting rights. Fast forward to today and now the Supreme Court is “actively facilitating” voter suppression. At least we’re consistent. 🙄🤦
Voter suppression appears in subtle, insidious ways, such as voter ID policies, hours long wait times to cast a ballot, blatant gerrymandering in non-white neighbourhoods, wealth discrimination against poor white and minority communities and more. Battleground states in particular face relentless opposition to keep people from voting. Just recently, the heavily biased Supreme Court blocked nearly 1 million Floridians from casting their vote in the 2020 election.
The value of the vote
If votes weren’t valuable, the feds wouldn’t be pushing so hard to suppress them. Casting a ballot is the only time every American is equal. Jeff Bezos gets one vote, and so does a low income worker — therein lies the danger. There are more of us than there are of them.
Equal opportunity to vote is a threat to GOP leaders, which is why they’ve been unfaltering in their efforts to target black voters with “almost surgical precision.” Black and Latinx voters face respective wait times of 45% and 46% longer than their white counterparts. Leaders are strongly motivated to exclude marginalized voters because more such voters — especially on a local level — means more possible challenges to enduring systems and structures like policing, healthcare, housing and community programs.
Traditionally, the attitude among constituents has been quite apathetic towards local elections, which explains why, according to the New York Times, only 27% of eligible voters nationwide turn up to cast their vote in these elections. Local elections may feel insignificant, but they are anything but. With budgets close to $2 trillion, immense power for on the ground change lies with local community leaders. Amanda Litman, co-founder of Run for Something said it best: “Those are the people who affect our quality of life.”
Vote like your life depends on it
Believe it or not, wealth and white skin aren’t prerequisites to vote in America, but it certainly could appear that way. Out of control police budgets, hereditary power structures, wealth inequality and more, can certainly be tied back to a lack of minority representation in the voting booth. Vote by mail is a secure, fair and practical solution to safely bring more eligible citizens into the voting process. These voices are needed to shape policies that work for everyone, not just affluent white Americans, the wealthy and the powerful. Local governments can only be responsive to their citizens’ needs if they can exercise their constitutional right to vote for the changes they wish to see.
Voting by mail seems to be the future of elections, especially as coronavirus continues to rapidly spread through the country and endanger voters. It’s a solution that can help protect marginalized communities, giving them a strong voice and empowering each American citizen to shape the future of our democracy.