On December 8, 2011 on the floor of Congress, Congresswoman Barbara Lee claimed that the Republican Party is engaged in a coordinated effort to disenfranchise the voting rights of minorities, the elderly and the poor. She claimed that the efforts of forty-two states requiring voters to produce government approved identification at polling places, will result in voter suppression and the reinstitution of Jim Crow laws. She stated that 21 million Americans do not have adequate identification and implied that her 100 year old aunt would not be able to provide a birth certificate or the necessary documentation needed to obtain government approved identification. Finally, she stated without sources a cost of $26.00 to obtain the necessary documentation, which she calls a poll tax.
I think Rep. Lee is really saying that minorities, the elderly and the poor are just too stupid? My question to her is does she think we are too stupid to get the identification or too stupid to know when we are being conned? If I had the opportunity, I would ask Rep. Lee the following questions:
Which state requires proper identification from minorities, the elderly and the poor, but doesn’t require it from white people? If you know of such a state, they would be in violation of the 14th, 15th, 19th, 24th and 26th amendments to the Constitution. They would also be in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Where is the evidence? Where is the violation? If there is a violation, notify the Justice Dept. If there is no violation, what are you talking about?
Concerning your 100 year old aunt, she turned 21 in 1932. Therefore, she has been eligible to vote for 79 years. Has she ever driven car? Does she have a bank account? Did she ever purchase alcohol or maybe cigarettes? She qualified for Social Security over 30 years ago. Does she get a Social Security check? The identification required to engage in those practices is the same identification required to vote. How was she able to survive all of these years without proper identification?
Rep. Lee, you stated that it may cost $26.00 to obtain the proper identification and that amounts to a poll tax. You also claimed that Republicans were trying to bring back the days of Jim Crow with the voter identification requirement. As you spoke from the well of congress, why didn’t you tell the country that poll taxes and Jim Crow laws originated from the Democratic Party? Why didn’t you tell the country that those tactics along with lynchings were popular democratic tools utilized to keep blacks in line and stop them from voting? Why do Democrats constantly try to change history and paint themselves as the protectors of blacks, when they were the persecutors?
You claim that the efforts to require voter identification in California is an attempt by Republicans to “disenfranchise” voter participation, but you also stated that 40% of eligible voters do not participate in the process. Which is correct? If 40% do not vote, but can, is that the faults of Republicans?
Let’s examine how the lack of proper voter identification can disenfranchise voters. Joe and I decide to vote for a candidate of our choice. Both of us go to our polling place and request a ballot. We are not required to show identification and exercise our right to vote. Having completed my patriotic duty, I go home and await the results. Joe goes to another polling place and votes again. Joe can keep on voting at different locations as long as he knows which name to use, because there are no checks and balances. There is nothing preventing him from voting early and often. THAT IS DISENFRANCHISEMENT.
Rep. Lee, how does allowing anyone to misrepresent themselves protect the vote of minorities, the elderly and the poor? Are we to take your word that only the “legitimate” voters will show up at the poll? Why should we trust you? You spoke of poll taxes and Jim Crow laws and tied them on the backs of Republicans instead of their true authors, the party you represent. Republicans fought and died for the rights of blacks to vote, Democrats fought and died to keep blacks enslaved.
Based on your logic, we should not trust Republicans, but we should trust whoever comes into a voting booth. Why should we trust them and why should we trust you?
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