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Michael L. Peery
NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION DAY
The United States is a republic – i.e., a representative democracy. We elect our public official with the vote and we elect them to represent our interests. Voting, or people power, is the counterweight to economic power. If you are not registered to vote, do so today.
Voter registration is the key element in any democracy. Unfortunately, the United States is one of the worst democracies when it comes to registering voters. We have one of the lowest percentages of registered voters and one of the lowest percentages of people who vote on Election Day. Yet we consider ourselves the world’s leading democracy.
Our voting system is structured to limited voter registration and voter participation. We have a “states’ rights and local control” voting system that is organized around 50 states (and the District of Columbia), 3,143 counties and 13,000 “separate and unequal” election systems and it is conducted on a mostly partisan basis.
Today it’s clear that the voting rights gains of past decades – even centuries - is under serious attack by mean-spirited, racist, classist and anti-democratic forces. We must fight back. We must fight to protect and expand “the rightvote.”
Most of us may take voting for granted – but we shouldn’t. When the Constitution was written African Americans couldn’t vote, women couldn’t vote, Native Americans couldn’t vote and white male non-land owners couldn’t vote. Only white males who owned land could vote!
Now we must not fight merely for voting rights legislation. We must fight to overturn this “states’ rights and local control” voting system by adding a Voting Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Rep. Mark Pocan’s House Joint Resolution 44 is designed to do just that and the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and I support it. You need to check to see whether your U.S. Congressperson is a co-sponsor and call them if they are not on the bill at202.225.3121. Adding an amendment to the Constitution will greatly increase voter registration and make voting more accessible to more people. Then we could proudly say that we are one of the leading democracies in the world.
The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a progressive organization protecting, defending and expanding civil rights to improve economic and educational opportunity. The organization is headquartered at 930 E. 50th St. in Chicago. For more information about the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, please visitwww.rainbowpush.org or call (773) 373-3366