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Right to vote under threat in the US: Obama   [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2014-4-12 16:39:00 |Display all floors
This post was edited by KIyer at 2014-4-12 18:39

Right to vote under threat in the US:
AP | Apr 12, 2014, 10.38 AM IST

NEW YORK: In an unsparing critique of Republicans, President Barack Obama on Friday accused the GOP of using voting restrictions to keep voters from the polls and of jeopardizing 50 years of expanded ballot box access for millions of black Americans and other minorities.

"The stark, simple truth is this: The right to vote is threatened today in a way that it has not been since the Voting Rights Act became law nearly five decades ago," Obama said in a fiery speech at civil rights activist and television talk host Al Sharpton's National Action Network conference.

Obama waded into the acrid debate over voting access in an election year where control of the Senate, now in the hands of Democrats, is at stake, as is Obama's already limited ability to push his agenda through Congress.

Republicans say the voting measures guard against voter fraud, but Democrats say they erode the landmark 1965 law that helped pave Obama's path in politics.

"Across the country, Republicans have led efforts to pass laws making it harder, not easier, for people to vote," he said, relating anecdotes of voters turned away because they didn't have the right identification or because they needed a passport or birth certificate to register.

"About 60 per cent of Americans don't have a passport," he said. "Just because you can't have the money to travel abroad doesn't mean you shouldn't be able to vote here at home."

Obama's speech to a crowd of about 1,600 in a New York hotel ballroom came a day after he marked the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas, where he praised President Lyndon Johnson's understanding of presidential power and its use to create new opportunities for millions of Americans.

The president pinned efforts to curb access to the ballot box directly on the GOP, declaring that the effort "has not been led by both parties. It's been led by the Republican Party." Mocking the Republicans, he said, "What kind of political platform is that? Why would you make that a part of your agenda, preventing people from voting?"

Republicans have argued that they voter laws seek to safeguard the voting process and are not an attempt to limit Democratic turnout.

A spokeswoman for Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, a state whose voting laws are being challenged by the Obama administration, said the Supreme Court has ruled that voter identification laws are constitutional.

"Protecting the integrity of the voting process is something that benefits everyone, partisan politics do not," the spokeswoman, Megan Mitchell, said.

For Democrats this year, no political issue stands out more prominently than their ability to motivate voters to turn out at the polls in November. But traditionally weak midterm turnout by Democrats coupled with efforts in some states to limit early voting and to enact voter identification requirements have prompted the president and his party to raise alarms and step up their get-out-the-vote efforts.

"I want to be clear: I am not against reasonable attempts to secure the ballot. We understand that. There has to be rules in place," Obama said. "But I am against requiring an ID that millions of Americans don't have."

Just last year, seven states passed voter restrictions, ranging from reductions in early voting periods to identification requirements, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. North Carolina alone adopted a photo ID requirement, eliminated registrations on Election Day and reduced the number of early voting days.

The North Carolina steps, which take effect in the 2016 election, came after the Supreme Court last June threw out the crucial section of the Voting Rights Act that required that all or parts of 15 states with a history of discrimination in voting, mainly in the South, get federal approval before changing their election laws.

Bipartisan legislation proposed in the House and Senate would attempt to address the constitutional concerns raised by the Supreme Court. But sponsors such as Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vt., and Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., are still trying to line up enough support for the proposals.

The fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act has brought renewed attention to issues of race and the accomplishments of the civil rights movement. A CBS News poll released on Wednesday found that more than 3 in 4 Americans say there has been progress in getting rid of racial discrimination. But those views split racially, with whites much more likely than African-Americans to think real progress has been achieved.


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Post time 2014-4-13 02:08:32 |Display all floors
This post was edited by JFenix at 2014-4-13 02:54

I have to give Obama some credit here for getting the populace registered to vote.  We've always had issues where people don't take the time to register to vote or they just don't know what to do and/ or care.  Too many people have been like that.  Voter apathy is a big part of it.

When Obama first ran for president - there were volunteer groups EVERYWHERE getting people registered to vote.  You couldn't go to a summer festival without a booth where you could register to vote.  They even went knocking on doors asking everyone if they were registered to vote or needed to.  On election day, there were volunteer groups out there that would pick you up and drive you to your designated facility to vote.
Republicans criticized him for this saying he was trying to manipulate the voting to his favor.  

This accusations on voters rights and/or manipulations are common.  Ultimately I have to believe it makes for a more transparent system.  Its good to bring this stuff out in the open.  Hopefully it will lead to more involvement.  Maybe I'm just a dreamer....who knows?



  
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Post time 2014-4-13 06:51:07 |Display all floors
This post was edited by KIyer at 2014-4-13 08:59

it is a sad testimony to the state of 'democracy' in the USA that more than 200 years after pompous proclamations, it is still so difficult for the average citizen, especially those of minorities, to vote. Polling is held on tuesdays, not on weekends, one needs to permission from work to go to a polling booth. It is easier for bosses and business owners, they dont need permission from anyone else to go and vote! For literally  over a couple hundred of years, large sections of minorities did not bother to vote in the USA. Jimmy Carter, on a TV interview, once said about how they used to allow dead white people's vote still count and someone could vote on their behalf in Georgia.. it is the most rigged 'democratic' system with highly convoluted shaped electoral districts or zones, that are constantly manipulated and changed by the ruling party. Australia has a really great system, compulsory voting, but it is really easy for anyone to cast a vote. Voting is held on a weekend. It is not for want of common sense that voting is held on a Tuesday in the USA, it is on purpose. They can never get the will to change it.. "Tradition" is the reason they claim, but if one looks deeply, it is a tradition of discrimination and exclusion.. Unfortunately, India is copying some of these tactics, but fortunately, there is a large section that is politically active, even if i disagree with their choices.
The USA can learn a bit from Australia, Russia, Singapore and China in how to organise elections and voting, easily for all.
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Post time 2014-4-13 07:32:23 |Display all floors
KIyer Post time: 2014-4-13 06:51
it is a sad testimony to the state of 'democracy' in the USA that more than 200 years after pompous  ...

Hard for minorities to vote?  In presidential elections there is early voting and absentee ballots.  In my state, early voting starts Oct. 3rd.  A full month before elections.  And if you don't have a ride, all you have to do is call and transportation will be provided and/ or an absentee ballot.

A lot has changed since Jimmy Carter was president.

The controversy in the opening story isn't even that unreasonable.  Its asking that you have a valid ID card to vote.  Its designed to prevent voter fraud.

You're getting caught up in stupid republican vs. democrat banter.  Its just a show.  Nothing really to see.
  
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Post time 2014-4-13 18:07:46 |Display all floors
JFenix Post time: 2014-4-12 18:32
Hard for minorities to vote?  In presidential elections there is early voting and absentee ballots ...

We have some similar problems in Canada. But one thing we have is an independent commission to draw voting district boundaries. This reduces the gerrymandering by state legislators that is a serious problem in the US. And we don't have that silly electoral college.
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Post time 2014-4-13 18:11:12 |Display all floors
This is an example of Obama's progressive liberal tendencies that people forget.
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Post time 2014-4-13 20:06:45 |Display all floors
Ted180 Post time: 2014-4-13 18:07
We have some similar problems in Canada. But one thing we have is an independent commission to dra ...

I think our voting districts are all good (to my knowledge).   The electorial..that is a whole different thing.

But its silly to say that 'its hard for minorities to vote'.

KIyer has this image of america as the white man vs all other minorities.   

As if there are just two 'sides' in this game...lol
  
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