We are supposed to be a nation whose democratic republic is one “of the people, for the people, by the people.”
Where did that phrase originate?
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
We cannot be a “government of the people, by the people, for the people” if we cannot vote, the ultimate in civic duty and constitutional right [Constitutional Voting History]. In these times where we are struggling with a covid virus endangering our health and systemic racism to block the rights of fellow Americans, we must stand strong and fight for our right to vote.
Where are the problems?
We cast our votes at designated polling locations. Some states, like Washington State, have mail-in voting— and the State pays the postage! Every eligible voter has a voice in my state.
But look at what is happening this Tuesday in Kentucky:
Fewer than 200 polling places will be open for voters in Kentucky’s primary Tuesday, down from 3,700 in a typical election year. Amid a huge influx in requests for mail-in ballots, some voters still had not received theirs days before they must be turned in.
What? Closing polling places?
So the article continues…
That means Jefferson County — the state’s largest, home to 767,000 residents and the city of Louisville — will have as its sole polling location a convention and expo center where voting booths have been set up about eight feet apart in a cavernous hall. About 1 in 5 residents in the county is African American, the largest black population in the state.
Something is very wrong here…
The Independent puts it this way:
‘It’s going to be an angry mob’: Kentucky cuts number of polling stations by 95 percent ahead of primary voting
And recently in Georgia, the same problems, according to NPR, in ‘It Was Very Chaotic’: Long Lines, Voting Machine Issues Plague Georgia Primary.’
People could request absentee ballots, but…
Residents reported requesting absentee ballots and waiting months for them to arrive — and some never came at all.
And the voting machines themselves [NPR, same story]:
Marilyn Marks, a voting rights advocate with the Coalition for Good Governance, described a total breakdown of the new voting system when she went to a polling place in Atlanta around 10:30 a.m. All three elements — the electronic poll books that allow voters to check in, the touch-screen ballot-selection machines, and the ballot scanners — had broken down.
Gerrymandering is a manipulation of voting districts.
How does this disrupt our process?
Just one example from the Washington Post, ‘Republicans are serious about voter suppression. Here’s how to stop them.‘
You’ll remember that the Republican Party, which controls the Wisconsin legislature due to an absolutely spectacular gerrymander (in 2018, they got about 45 percent of the votes for the state Assembly but came away with 64 percent of the seats), refused to postpone the primary election, which also included an election for a key state Supreme Court seat.
Think about that— in 2018, with only 45% of the votes, Republicans won 64% of the seats up for election. Just read that sentence again see if your blood doesn’t boil. It’s morally wrong.
The article adds:
However you might feel about Joe Biden, it becomes more important to exercise your right to vote if you think someone is trying to take it away.
Republicans are planning to “monitor the polls:” sending people to stand at the polls– which could be voter intimidation.
…Republican effort to monitor the polls and challenge the eligibility of voters who appear, something that could result in voter intimidation. The Republican National Committee, freed from a decades-old court order prohibiting them from such activity, is seeking to recruit up to 50,000 volunteers.
‘We’re going to have a catastrophe’: US faces November election fiasco’ The Guardian
Bill Kristol, Rule of Law Republicans, puts it this way:
People who love their country and the freedoms for all that we strive to accomplish, but are still trying to achieve– we want our voices to count.
Work for The Right to Vote
How can we work to keep, no demand, our rights to vote?
- All on the Line: Learn about this organization to stop gerrymandering. The mission:
Whether you care about providing access to affordable health care, reducing the gun violence that plagues our schools and communities, protecting voting rights, achieving equal pay, or solving the urgent threat of climate change, there is a fundamental structural barrier that prevents progress: rigged electoral maps drawn with surgical precision by politicians to preserve their party’s political power and silence the will of the people.
Voting should be as easy and convenient as possible, and in many cases it is. But across the U.S., too many politicians are passing measures making it harder to cast a ballot. The goal is to manipulate political outcomes, and the result is a severely compromised democracy that doesn’t reflect the will of the people. Our democracy works best when all eligible voters can participate and have their voices heard.
This page lists all the ways and places that suppress our rights to vote. And scroll to the bottom for what to do, including reading this guide if your vote is threatened through suppression. It lists the ways of intimidation, your rights, and where to report the incident.
Vote, because we are the United States of Americans. Stand strong together.
Geeky Gramma ~~
Retired Middle School Language Arts Teacher ~~
Writer and Thinker