Letter: Voting is a right

Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Voting is a right

Is voting a right or a privilege?

Merriam-Webster states a right is something to which one has a just claim, such as a power or privilege to which one is justly entitled. A privilege is a right or liberty granted as a favor or benefit, especially to some and not others.

I hope we all agree that voting in America is a right. Yet, we have elected representatives working to make voting a benefit to some and not others. Voting rights are under attack as states pass voter suppression laws. This is a strategy to influence election outcomes by discouraging certain people from voting.

Voter fraud is often cited as justification, yet evidence of voter fraud is almost non-existent. Voter suppression laws can lead to significant burdens for eligible voters.

I may not find it a hardship to show identification or prove residency at the polls, but that’s an example of privilege. Studies suggest that up to 11 percent of American citizens lack a government issued photo ID and would have to navigate administrative burdens to obtain one or forego the right to vote entirely.

Here in New Hampshire, Senate Bill 3, a voter suppression bill, was passed earlier this year. Another bill working its way through the process is House Bill 372, a worse version of SB 3.

Be informed. Don’t be fooled by pithy statements and five-second sound bites.

Let your elected officials know how you feel, watch how they vote, and remember that the mid-term elections are less than a year away.