My Turn: States still try to disenfranchise voters
Re “N.H. man tries to save Voting Rights Act to kill it” (Sunday Monitor Viewpoints, Dec. 16):
Grant Bosse’s long, confusing diatribe seeks to have us believe that we don’t need Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act because “it’s not 1964 anymore in Alabama or New Hampshire. States shouldn’t need to get federal permission before updating their election laws.”
This, of course, is horse manure.
Just this week, Sen. Bill Nelson and former governor Charlie Crist testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that “Florida’s 2011 election law changes were politically motivated and clearly designed to disenfranchise likely Democratic voters – and, not as its Republican sponsors contended, to prevent voter fraud.”
In many states, Republican legislatures put in place restrictions upon voting, including in our own state, the voter ID bill. Voter fraud indeed.
So yes, Mr. Bosse, we do need laws that restrict the ability of state legislatures to enact laws to disenfranchise voters because that is what you are talking about. We need more people voting, not fewer. I would remind you that the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 removed federal control of elections in the Confederacy and allowed local legislators to enact Jim Crow laws. Prior to that act, freed slaves had been voted into office in many areas. The removal of federal protection resulted in no black person holding substantial office in the South for 76 years. Personally, I would like to see the states stop messing with voting requirements altogether.
Voting should be uniform across the United States. There should be a federal voting system separate from the political parties’ and the states’ influence. Register to vote like you do for selective service. Actual voting should be a paper-based optical scan with electronic counting and transmission of data.
Many industrialized democracies have used such a system for years. But I don’t think Bosse would like that system; it would mean a loss of a valuable tool for elections when his party was in power.
Finally, Mr. Bosse, in your last paragraph, it seems you disrespect Eric Holder for defending Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act as still necessary. I hold Holder in much higher regard for his stand on this matter than I do you for your stand, sir. His stand seems more honorable to me.
(Jack Shields lives in Penacook.)