Countries That Don’t Let Citizens Vote

Voting is a fundamental right.  In fact, it is so important that it is often highlighted as a positive result of wars that the U.S. has fought.  Look at the citizens voting in countries where despots have been overthrown.  Look at the joy that liberty brings to the face of an old woman.

Declaring the utility and glory of war by showing how citizens can freely vote is typical chest beating.  In the USA we send soldiers to foreign wars, ostensibly to liberate the citizens, and then, domestically citizens are deprived of the ability to vote.  In several key battleground states bureaucratic hurdles have been thrown in the way of the most vulnerable citizens who might vote.  In order to stamp out the phantom menace of voter fraud, Republicans lawmakers are willing to, in fact, deprive millions of the right to vote.  It is like the argument made in capital punishment that the death of even one innocent person removes the moral right to execute convicts, only in this case, even one fraudulent vote justifies the deprivation of the right to vote for millions.  At this point, however, you can probably identify more innocent victims of capital punishment than actual cases of voter fraud.  Here is quick summary of the issue from the Independent and linked here:

The result of 24 laws passed in 19 states – including five critical states that will decide if Mr Obama or Mitt Romney pockets the keys to the White House – could be to disenfranchise as many as five million potential voters, according to the Brennan Centre for Justice at New York University.

Nowhere is the fight more intense than in Florida, the swing state which threw the 2000 presidential vote into disarray: George W Bush, the eventual victor, and Al Gore were separated by barely 500 votes.

The sitting Republican Governor, Rick Scott, has initiated an array of voting reforms. They include restrictions on early voting which have crimped the efforts of black churches to encourage congregants to participate. Governor Scott has also overseen measures to ensure that up to a million voters who have been convicted of crimes cannot vote, even if they have served their time. A large majority are African-Americans.

Equally controversial has been a push by the Sunshine State to make use of data compiled by the Department of Homeland Security to root out foreign citizens who might vote in November when they should not. It is this so-called “purge” of the rolls – which so far has unearthed only one Ecuadorian man who voted illegally in 2008 – that has drawn the ire of the Justice Department. In a submission to the federal district court in Tampa, lawyers for the government argued that, under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Florida was obliged to seek the approval of the federal authorities before embarking on the purge, something it has not done.

Another state under the microscope is Pennsylvania, which has passed new laws that will bar anyone without government-issued ID from voting. As many as 750,000 voters will find themselves unable to participate on 6 November, most of them in Philadelphia, a Democrat stronghold.

The Republican claim that these changes will not undermine the Voter Rights Act but will rather return integrity to the system were exposed as less than honest by the leader of the Republicans in the Pennsylvania state legislature, Mike Turzai. He told a group of supporters recently: “Voter ID, which is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania. Done!”

The idea that hundreds of thousands of voters at a time can lose their ability to vote is so wrong, it makes the blood boil, because it is totally undemocratic and anathema to the republic.  Propagandists for war in the Middle East are happy to tell everyone that war was fought in Afghanistan so people could vote, because they think it fools the people who love human rights.  It does not trouble the same propagandists, at all, to turn around and strip this fundamental right from their own citizens.  Despicable.

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