English: "Country Gentleman" magazin...

English: “Country Gentleman” magazine cover, November 1922. The 19th Amendment giving all women the right to vote wasn’t ratified until August 1920. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Women won the right to vote in 1920 with the passage of the 19th amendment to the US Constitution. Before then, only men could vote in national elections. Some men believed that women were not suited for making political decisions in a world dominated by money and power. With the right to vote comes the necessity that the entrenched power structure recognize the worth and the demands of those who can vote. After the GOP take away a woman’s control of her own body, women may expect that the GOP will attack a woman’s right to vote, using the tired old argument that women are not suited to the rough and tumble of politics. Ladies, beware.

Republic, not a democracy

English: Cartogram of the 2008 Electoral Vote ...

English: Cartogram of the 2008 Electoral Vote for US President, with each square representing one electoral vote. Nebraska, being one of two states that are not winner-take-all, for the first time had its votes split, with NE-2 voting for Obama and the rest of the state for McCain. Cartogram-2008_Electoral_Vote-es.svg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The US is a representative democracy or a republic. That is one response of those who want to limit the right to vote. A property qualification for the right to vote has been a limitation on the franchise since the ancient Greeks invented democracy. A modern form of that limitation is the proposed requirement that only those adults who pay Federal income tax be allowed to vote. I guess that might prevent Mitt from voting. Does that mean that he can’t be president if he can’t vote? Other proposed restrictions on the right to vote include being a registered Republican, being male and being age 30 or older.

I have always favored universal suffrage. If a large number of voters are apathetic and don’t vote or don’t vote wisely, I believe it is because they feel that their votes don’t matter or that there is no differences among the candidates. This year there is choice. If we elect Mitt and the GOP dominates Congress, this could be our last free and fair election. The GOP will change the rules for voting in the future to maintain themselves in power indefinitely. This year there is good reason to vote. Please exercise your right to vote before it disappears.

Jesse Lee Peterson

Citizens United Carpet Bombing Democracy - Cartoon

Citizens United Carpet Bombing Democracy – Cartoon (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

Jesse Lee Peterson is a conservative pastor who believes that the right to vote should be reserved for men. If pressed, I imagine that he would support a property qualification that would narrow the right to vote to a small percentage, perhaps a fraction of 1%, of adult males. That of course, is the effect of Citizens United where unlimited cash rules the ballot box.

Voting rights

Voting booth

Image via Wikipedia

I support universal suffrage (voting rights for all adult citizens) except for certain felons. Some want to restrict voting rights, but that involves the question of where to draw the line. I believe that elections should be fought and won on the issues. The winning side convinces 50% + one of the voters of the correctness of their position.

It appears that the GOP prefers another route, restricting the right to vote to people they believe will vote to support their position on the issues. The right of property to have a larger voice and vote is an issue that has divided supporters of democracy since the inception of democracy.

Aside: This is a discussion of voting rights. I know that the US is a republic, not a pure democracy, but that is not what this discussion is all about. We tend to use the term democracy a bit loosely. After all, we don’t fight to preserve a republic nor did we invade Afghanistan and Iraq to impose a republic. When the Iraqis and the Afghans held elections, we celebrated their democracies.

Back to voting restrictions. Picture identification to prevent voter fraud is a solution to a problem that is statistically insignificant. It does tend to restrict the voting rights of the poor and the homeless. We have not reached the point yet where one must be a member of a certain religion, denomination or church to vote, but certain politicians would move us in that direction if they could. English as a first language and ancestry from certain Western European nations are favored by some on the Right. These restrictions on the right to vote have appeared before in the US. Please see my earlier post, Know Nothings.

Please see Democracy NOW | One man/one vote

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