All American citizens have the right to vote, right? Wrong. Along with Tennessee, states like Georgia and Florida established recent changes making it harder for some citizens to access this sacred right. Some state officials claim the changes are to reduce voter fraud, but others question the legitimacy of this argument.
Voter fraud ranks low, if at all, on the list of concerns for US officials considering that in the 2016 presidential election, voter fraud incidents were “next to none” according to an article published December 18, 2016, by the New York Times.
The nation witnesses growing controversy in Florida after Senate and Governor races remain too close to call. With even Rick Scott a candidate
A small difference of 0.4% separates Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum in Florida’s Governor’s race. This governor race has already been messy with allegations and slander related to Andrew Gillum’s race and background.
But now the two candidates head to a recount for the governor’s seat per a state law. Additionally, Florida’s Senate candidates’ vote totals are separated by a mere 0.1% difference. This close senate race also requires a recount between the Democratic candidate Bill Nelson and Republican candidate Rick Scott.
Rick Scott when a reporter asks about voter fraud, “Every Floridian should be concerned there may be rampant fraud happening in Palm Beach and Broward counties.” Florida remains tangled as the president supports such claims with no evidence or even voter numbers to reinforce it. President Trump states that they found many votes, yet he does not acknowledge the possibility of absentee ballots.
As a swing state, Florida’s results will be vital to the upcoming presidential election in 2020.
In Georgia, a margin of 1.4% separates the two gubernatorial candidates. Many voters are outraged as a result of new rules that they perceive to be increasing discrimination and access to voting rights.
Do outside factors such as amendments to previous legislation affect the election, or is it merely a close race? Stacey Abrams is willing to endure a run-off to try and gain her seat as governor of Georgia. She believes that due to increased voter irregularities not everyone’s voice in Georgia is heard.
Where did all of this recent controversy start? Many point to the 2013 Supreme Court decision that voted and deemed major provisions in the Voting Rights Act irrelevant. The Washington Times attributed reasons for the ruling including “states no longer can be judged by voting discrimination that went on decades ago.”
The Washington Times further explained the Supreme Court’s ruling as “the country has fundamentally changed since the racially motivated laws.” This outdated relevance the Supreme Court says the law lacks is true in some aspects. On the other hand, while discrimination is far from what it used to be, it is far from eliminated.
Relating to the provisions of this Voter Act, while Abrams and Kemp were running, Kemp held the Secretary of State position throughout his campaign, only resigning after his office declared him the winner a day after the election on November 6.
Many voters and residents of Georgia questioned the conflict of interest between the secretary of state position’s role in overseeing elections and his candidacy.
Like so many unsavory American traditions, voter discrimination is as old as our constitution. Originally, only white land-owning males could vote. Even when the 19th amendment was ratified in 1920, women of color remained disenfranchised, especially in the South, until the 1960’s. The 1965 Voting Rights Act aimed to reduce and eliminate this final fortress of voter suppression. Most recently, the 2018 midterm elections saw a Native American woman elected to the US Senate for the first time ever.
So are new state voting laws making a jump backward in time? Citizens thought the US moved to a more equal democratic system with less discrimination. However, by amending the Voter Rights Act, the quality that makes the US a democratic and free nation is being threatened.
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