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Voting Rights Act protects all Americans

A Microvote Infinity voting machineNo matter who you are, as an adult, you have a right to vote.

There has been a lot of talk about the Voting Rights Act of 1965 being due to expire in 2007 and how it would revoke African Americans’ right to vote. Well, this story, urban legend or whatever else you may want to call it, is not true. Not entirely true anyway. There are some sections of this act that were due to expire in 2007 that have been addressed by the U.S. Congress since 2005 in a proactive move to ensure the renewal of those sections of this act.

However, while many believe that this just affects the rights of African-Americans, nothing could be further from the truth. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 actually protects all of us from being subjected to unnecessary measures that could restrict or prevent our ability to vote as a whole.

Many would argue over whether or not to renew the portions of the act that were due to expire, and yes, they were renewed for another 25 years. The real argument should be about making all of the sections of this act permanent law, so that there’s no need to renew any provision that is in place to ensure every U.S. citizen’s right to vote without restrictions.

Some of the very things that this act protects us from are poll taxes, literacy tests, lack of foreign language service or materials at poll sites, as well as additional requirements to register to vote that are not required of all people.

If you will recall your history, you will remember that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution gave all men over the age of 21 years of age the right to vote.

The 15th Amendment gave African-American men the right to vote and the 19th Amendment ensured that women had the right to vote.

With this in mind, it is also important to remember that the U.S. Constitution was not written to tell us how to live, but to tell our government how to govern, while protecting the citizens’ rights and protecting us from future forms of dictatorship.

To put this more simply, we, the people, are the employers, and the government is our employee, so with our vote we have the power to hire and fire as needed.

Recently, we have even had the passage of legislation in our state to simplify the process that former felons must follow in order to restore their voting rights after their debts to society have been paid, and this includes time served, completion of parole/probation and all restitution paid in full.

Just think, for any of us, without the right to vote is akin to taxation without representation. Therefore, it is significant for these reformed, former felons to be a part of the voting process again, and in November a large number of former felons will get the right to vote again for the first time in years.

So keep in mind that a lot has taken place since the original signing of the Constitution of the United States of America in order for those of you who are 18 years of age or older to have the right to vote!

It does not matter what your race, creed, color, religion, or native language is. It does not matter if your hair is braided, curly, long, or straight, whether you wear a Mohawk or spiked hair, tattoos or piercings, are neatly dressed or wearing gothic dress or sagging pants, or whether you are young or old.

You need to get to the polls and exercise your right to vote because it has truly been fought for over the centuries. If you have family or friends in the military write, e-mail or call them and remind them to mail back their absentee ballots to cast their votes as well.

Voting is not just a privilege for some; it is a right for us all. Exercise your rights; make your voice heard because your vote is your voice!

Terry McMoore


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