Though voter suppression featured prominently in US news during the last election, the issue of who has the right to vote is “a long-running class battle between the wealthy elite and the workers,” reports Christina López. “The biggest form of voter suppression,” she writes, “is that workers and the poor have nobody to vote for who represents their interests.”
In the first US presidential election (held in 1789) only six percent of the population could vote, leaving most people disenfranchised. The expansion of voting rights began with white working-class men. Later African-American males got the right to vote and finally women and Native Americans. Even then however, those in power still used Jim Crow segregation laws, such as literacy tests and poll taxes, to disenfranchise people. These policies prevented Blacks and poor working–class whites from exercising their right to vote.
In 2012, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) influenced several states to pass restrictive voter ID laws, which particularly impacted low-income voters, people with disabilities, and voters of color. Electoral reform is needed, López reports. Elections and the fight for voting rights are tools to be used to bring about revolutionary change and real democracy for the multiracial working class.
There has not been any corporate media coverage of this story as of March 19, 2012.
Source: Christina Lopez, “Voices of Color: What right to vote? A candid history of voter suppression in the United States” Freedom Socialist, February 2013, http://www.socialism.com/drupal-6.8/?q=node/2107
Student Researcher: Lara Polizziani, College of Marin
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