|This is hardly a bipartisan approach.
Civil libertarians are concerned about the growing number of voter ID programs being established across the nation. Now legislation is pending in 32 states to enact new voter ID laws or amend existing legislation. The objection to this development is that the ID regulations will be so inconvenient that many voters will be discouraged from complying to exercise their sovereign right.
Democrats are especially suspicious of this trend because it is likely that the poor and minorities, mostly Democrat, will be the ones rejected at the polls. This apprehension is triggered by the fact that there is no evidence of significant voter fraud across the county to justify such sudden concern. There is great suspicion that the voter fraud scare has been fomented by Republicans to diminish the Democratic vote.
There is some factual support for this position. The hunt for organized voter fraud began during the Bush Administration. After a five-year nationwide investigation, according to the New York Times, only about 120 people were charged and 86 were convicted. In most cases the perpetrators were individuals who had inadvertently violated the voter registration rules.
Over the years blacks have become a stalwart voting bloc of the Democrats. That was not always the case. Blacks were once loyal Republicans, the party of Abraham Lincoln. In 1936 the political allegiance of African Americans was changed when Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal got 71 percent of the black vote.
Even so, with a substantial black vote (77 percent) for Harry Truman in 1948 after he integrated the armed forces, the political shift was not yet complete. Dwight Eisenhower got 39 percent of the black vote in 1956 and Richard Nixon tallied 32 percent in his losing campaign against John F. Kennedy in 1960. It took Barry Goldwater’s adamant opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act to seal the shift.
Goldwater got only 6 percent of the black vote in 1964 and no Republican candidate for president has received more than 15 percent of the black vote since then. In 2000, 90 percent of blacks voted for Gore and only 9 percent voted for Bush, the black vote for Obama of 95 percent in 2008 reached an all time high.
Not only was the black vote overwhelmingly Democratic, the turnout in Presidential elections was also substantial. In 2008, a higher percentage of registered black women went to the polls than any other racial, ethnic or gender group. African Americans have matured as a powerful voting bloc. It is understandable why Republicans would want to vitiate its strength.
The right to vote is one of the most cherished privileges of American democracy. Enlightened citizens zealously anticipate every opportunity to endorse or excoriate the efforts of their representatives in government. Any strategy to impede this process devalues a fundamental principle of America.
It is a national disgrace and potentially criminal for anyone to attempt to fix an election by tampering with anyone’s right to vote. However, African Americans are now no longer powerless as they were in Jim Crow days. They must assertively unite with other loyal Americans to make the polls readily accessible on Election Day to all those who are qualified to vote.