What happened to Democracy, when it is time to vote?
By Roger Caldwell
When Americans are forced to wait in line for 6 hours to vote, there is a fundamental problem with the system. When senior citizens and people with wheelchairs are asked to wait to vote for two or three hours in a line, the system is broken. In the 2016 presidential primary, this is starting to be the norm as opposed to the exception.
Many excuses can be made why this is happening in state after state, but Republicans understand when there is a small turn out at the polls, they have a better chance at winning.
“Today, across Wisconsin reports of long lines, worker shortages, and confusion over the state’s restrictive Photo ID law were made worse as polling locations ran out of ballots. Regrettably, this was the inevitable result of decisions made by Republican Gov. Scott Walker and the GOP-led legislature to intentionally make it harder for students, women, working parents, the elderly, and the poor to vote. And this is not an isolated incident. What we saw in Wisconsin today is business as usual for the GOP,” says DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
American Democracy is at a crossroads, because the people in power are making it harder to vote. At this point, halfway through the presidential primary, there has been a complete and total failure within many states voting systems, and no one appears to have an answer.
It is very easy for the leaders in these states to play the blame game. Some will stay they were trying to save money. So in Phoenix, in a city where there are 1.2 million registered voters, the election officials made the decision to cut polling places from 200 to 60 to save money. Everyone knew that this decision was not going to work, but it was done anyway.
Thousands of voters waited in lines that wrapped around sidewalks, at churches, at community centers and government buildings. Some residents brought lawn chairs, and thousands of voters gave up and went home. The last voters entered polling places after midnight to vote.
The Mayor Greg Stanton of Phoenix has called for a federal investigation into whether election officials are illegally putting fewer poling locations in poor or minority-heavy areas. But everyone already knows the answer to this investigation, and it will probably take a year before everyone is interviewed, and the presidential election cycle will probably be over.
Many voters are starting to ask the question, how could this happen in America? These problems are not just happening in one state, but a plethora of problems are happening in many states across the country, and this does not appear to be an accident.
“What happened yesterday in Arizona is a disgrace,” Bernie Sanders told reporters. “Whoever manipulated this is playing with our political system,” one voter told CBS. “For people to have to stay in line for hours to vote is insane.”
Two weeks later in Wisconsin, the same conditions existed as in Arizona, and there were long lines at the polls. The voters are angry and baffled, and the national Election Protection coalition is finding in Alabama, Texas, Colorado and Georgia, in minority polling places the voters have received misleading information, and the websites were down. It appears that many of these polling problems in many of the southern states is a direct result of the end of federal oversight, from the decision to strike down parts of the historic Voting Rights Act.
In 2013, the Supreme Court eliminated a tool that the Justice Department had used hundreds of times to prevent cities, counties and states from adopting discriminatory voting rules. Democracy is being challenged by discriminatory schemes, and the conservatives and Republicans know exactly what they are doing.
In order for Democracy to win in 2016, President Obama’s coalition must show up at the polling locations and vote. Obstruction and suppression of the vote cannot win, when the college students, the young, the African Americans, the women, the seniors, the Hispanics, progressive white men, and other minorities, don’t give up on the system and vote.
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