The Enacted Voting Law Changes in 2012

Subject: Politics & Government
Pages: 8
Words: 2034
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Study level: School

Introduction

The Voting Right Act of 1965

The Voting Right Act signed in 1965 and proclaiming the national legislation of the USA is the basic document protecting minorities from discriminatory voting policy and disenfranchisement. This act created a new political reality with a racial diversity of the party coalition, the officeholders and electorate. It seemed that racial problems were solved with the help of the Voting Right Act but factually these problems just began. The minority discrimination has been still the burning issue of American society. The adoption of this act opened the door to black people to the policy which caused a number of dissatisfactions from white politicians. The Voting Right Act overturned the political arena in the USA. The Democratic Party became more popular because black people who had rights to vote according to the adopted act supported it and it causes a lot of discontent from the Republicans. It seems that that situation of 1965 repeats. The minorities again have become the victims of political intrigues ahead of the approaching 2012 elections. The presidential elections of 2008 made the Republicans alert. It was concluded that Barack Obama’s election was obliged to the votes of minorities. Such results made the Republicans assume the measures and the enacted voting law changes are the results of these measures.

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The enacted voting law changes of 2012

The enacted voting law changes of 2012 are considered to be a strict violation of the Voting Right Act. The voting rights of minorities are in danger. What are the reasons of such violations? Why are the minorities deprived of their voting rights? The discrimination which seems to be the echo from the past American history is again on the agenda of the American policy.

A wave of legislation has restricted voting rights ahead of the 2012 elections. Nearly 5 million Americans are affected by the new voting law changes. New laws make it harder for many citizens to register or to cast vote. Some states have accepted the law which prohibits the participation in voting without government-issue photo identification which only one from ten Americans has and as the result the voices of other nine are not taken into account. These restrictions fall mostly on poor people and citizens belonging to minorities as well as on the disabled people. There are nearly 800, 000 registered voters in South Carolina and Texas who do not have such government-issue photo identification (Cooper, 2011). These states offer to use free cards to vote which have been criticized by the government and as the result deter many voters from casting their polls. South Carolina estimates that 216, 596 of its citizens do not have this identification cards (Cooper, 2011). Such vote innovations impact majority-black citizens of the country than the others as far as primarily minorities do not have such ID cards in order to take part in voting (Sanderson, 2012).

The Justice Department considers these ID cards to be the violation of the Voting Rights Act (Brennan Center for Justice, n.d.). As the chief of department of civil rights, Thomas E. Perez points out: “According to the state’s statistics, there are 81,938 minority citizens who are already registered to vote and who lack DMV-issued identification” (Savage, 2011). As the result, these changes will be a barrier for nearly two thirds Americans to vote. These new voter ID laws are compared to Jim Crow system which automatically deprived black people franchise. Those people who have to fight for their survival living in poor districts and working hard to earn money for their living are compelled to keep silence depriving them their voting rights. According to section 5 of the Voting Right Act, such new laws should be approved firstly by the Justice Department before their passing at the Southern countries which are known for a discrimination history (Savage, 2011). These new vote changes have caused discontent in the Justice Department. Nevertheless, the politicians do all their best to justify such actions. Many politicians do not consider these new laws to be the violation of the Voting Right Act.

Voting law changes as the prevention of a vote fraud or prevention the minority vote

The American government explains such innovations with the necessity to prevent voter fraud. But it should be pointed out that there were not so many cases of voter fraud during the presidential election of 2008. This explanation seems to be vague and a real reason is deeper. The enacting voting law changes are an intricate political trick. American history provides the real reasons of such changes. Roosevelt’s Democratic Party dealt with the problems of the economically dispossessed and attracting a lot of black people as far as the poorest were the minorities. Black did not play a crucial role for the Democratic Party at that time as far as their votes were not assessed at a high rank but after adoption of the Voting Right Act, the majority of votes belonged to the Democratic Party.

The participation of African- Americans in the political life of the country began from Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency. Although Roosevelt won only 23% from the black votes, in 1932, Truman won 70 % from the black votes in 1948(Stephen & Stewart, 2010). The political activity of African-Americans has increased after the adoption of the Voting right Act. This meant that Democratic leaders after Roosevelt did not ignore the problem of racial discrimination because they needed the support of black people (Grofman, 1992, p. 121). Racial and regional differentiations in elections are familiar characteristics of American electoral politics (Stephen & Stewart, 2010). The two oponnent parties have always been able to rely on some groups and regions more than others.

There is no doubt that these laws will overturn the political situation in the USA nowadays. It should be taken into account that these laws are promoted by Republicans and some by conservative groups. On the other hand, the minorities which generally vote for Democrats are prevented from voting by a number of new law changes. Is such discrimination a political trick or a real solution of the essential problem of voter fraud? Factually, it is not the main reason of such innovations. Many experts consider these innovations to be a political trick to deter minorities from voting. Of course, the Republicans enacting these laws do not say about the real reason of their actions preventing people who are more likely to vote for Democrats from voting (The Myth of Voter Fraud, 2011).

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The presidential election 2008 as the precondition to the present voting law changes

According to the South Carolina State Election Commission, they “know of no confirmed cases of voter identification fraud, defined as a person presenting himself to vote as someone he is not” (Cooper, 2011). As Mr. von Spakovsky said “The left always says that people who are in favor of this claim there is massive fraud” (Cooper, 2011). The government justifies their actions as the prevention of fraud on the one hand and they do not provide any proves of this justification on the other hand. Republicans are enacting these laws to suppress Democratic votes in order to win in the approaching elections. Photo-identification laws have divided Republicans who believe these laws to be the protection of fair election and Democrats who consider these laws to be a strict violation of the Voting Right Act. More than that, Democrats point out that it is not a coincidence that these new laws have been enacted after Barack Obama has been elected as a president. The representative of the South Carolina government, David j. Mack lll said: “In 2008, we had too many black folk, too many brown folk, too many poor folk voting. They (Republicans) can’t have that in 2012” (Diamond, 2011).

The win of Barack Obama at the presidential elections in 2008 was obliged to the middle-classes and minorities votes. In the approaching elections, the Republicans take this fact into account and do all possible to deter the minority voice. Factually, these voting innovations deprive many eligible voters from their protected rights for voting. American history with such cases of voting rights violations enables us to make the conclusion that new voting rights changes deter the minority vote. Many politicians express their point of view concerning the rethought of the Voting Right Act. Is it really necessary for the prosperity of the democratic country? If an African American candidate can win the presidential election and has a success running the country, are there any reasons to rewrite the Voting Right Act? Factually, the results of 2008 presidential election were inevitable consequences of the enacting of the Voting Right Act (Stephen & Stewart, 2010).

The enacted voting law changes as the violation of the Voting Right Act

The vote rights changes of 2012 are considered to be the violation of the voting rights of minorities and African-Americans particularly according to the statement of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) made at the meeting taken place in North Carolina in March, 14, 2012. Such violations of voting rights in North Carolina where the majority from population are African-Americans are an issue of international shame which attracts the attention of many organizations of protecting human rights. It is no wonder as far as there were a lot of such cases in American history. As it has been found out the Voting Right Act was not a real solution of an eternal problem of minorities in the USA.

This violation has become the problem of international level. The organizations in Geneva and Raleigh which have struggled for justice and equality for nearly 103 years are concerned with this problem. This problem was already discussed in 1947 when there was the Appeal to the world and to the USA particularly to redress the denial of the vote rights and other forms of discrimination of minorities (NC NAACP President’s Statement, 2012). As we can see, this situation has repeated and NAACP is disturbed with such violations demonstrated by the new changes of voting rights. NAACP had to send delegation to the United Nations to put the question about such violations on the agenda. There have been organized different meetings in March to demonstrate to the USA that the global community realizes the strict violations of voting rights in the USA in the new changes and helped to protect other countries from such strict violations.

Although, the USA has been considered to be the model of democracy for the whole world, these new changes in voting rights are the risk for the country to be enlisted to the dictatorship models. Global community is concerned with the changes in voting laws in many countries which limit the voter participation by restricting the identification needed to vote, limiting the areas where the voters may cast their votes and banning incarcerated citizens from voting. As the result, such changes deliberately deter the minority vote. According to Congressman, Alcee L. Hastings: “There is a ‘War on Voting’ in this country and, wherever you live, you need to be paying close attention. The Constitution protects voters from discrimination, but that protection is being challenged in states across the nation, and making it harder for people to vote” (2012). Such governmental actions are considered to be disfranchisement of many eligible voters.

Conclusion

All the above said enables us to make the conclusion that the enacted voting law changes in 2012 are deliberately adopted to deter minority vote. The minorities are deprived of their voting rights because of the political struggle between the Republicans and the Democrats. As far as the republicans consider the minorities to be the main threat to their victory in the approaching election, they do all the necessary changes in the voting laws in order to limit the minorities to vote. Although the Republicans justify such changes with the necessity to prevent a vote fraud there is no doubt that this reason is not the real one and the American history is evidence to this fact. These new voting laws are an unquestionable violation of the voting rights of minorities. Every American has the right to vote despite his/her color of the skin, social position and identity.

References List

Brennan Center for Justice. N.d. Web.

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Cooper, Michael. 2011. “New State Rules Raising Hurdles at voting Booth”. New York Times, Web.

Diamond, Marie. 2011. Study Shows South Carolina Voter ID Law Hits Minorities Hardest, Violating Voting Rights Act. Web.

Grofman, Bernard, and Chandler Davidson. 1992. Controversies in Minority Voting: The Voting Acts Rights in Perspective. Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press. Hastings, Alcee. 2012. Your Rights Are under Attack. Web.

NC NAACP President’s Statement Read this Morning Announcing regional Conference and Commenting on NAACP Presentation to United Nations. 2012. “Fighting for Our children, Not Just for Ourselves…”, Web.

Sanderson, Jamie. 2012. Voter ID Laws: Stifling Minorities in South Carolina, Brought to You by the GOP. Web.

Savage, David. 2011. Justice Department Rejects South Carolina Voter ID Law. Los Angeles Times, Web.

Stephen, Ansolabehere, Nathaniel Persily and Charles Stewart III. 2010. Race, Region, and Vote Choice in the 2008 Election: Implications for the Future of the Voting Rights Act. Harvard Law Review.

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The Myth of Voter Fraud. 2011. The New York Times, Web.