As a son of the South growing up during the 1950s, I remember well my late father voting anytime the polls were open. I also remember the instances he would tell me of having to pay a poll tax or the requirement to take a literacy test in order to do so. When the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed, these archaic laws had finally been put to rest, or at least temporarily.
Now in 2012 and in my early 60s we again see voting rights under attack nationwide, led by Republican, tea party-backed state legislatures, using the false pretext of preventing voter fraud.
During the 2011 legislative season, several states passed laws that made it difficult, if not impossible, for African-Americans, the elderly, students and people who are disabled to participate in the voting process, despite the fact many had been doing so for many years.
Here in South Carolina, Voter ID legislation was passed in 2011 requiring anyone voting to have state approved photo ID to do so. Fortunately the U.S. Department of Justice stopped this discriminatory law under the auspices of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Currently in Ohio and Pennsylvania, both with Republican-led majorities, both states are attempting to suppress voter turnout this November. In Pennsylvania alone an estimated 750,000 voters will be denied their right to vote due to the lack of a government approved ID.
From the purging of voters, the requirement for any form of a government photo ID, to the closing polls for early voting needs to end now. These forms of voter suppression equate to nothing more than the paying poll taxes or requiring a literacy test to vote.
As an independent voter I find any law passed with the clear intent of suppressing voters from entering the polls to cast their vote as evil. We as a nation should be encouraging people in this nation to vote, not barring them from participating.
The writer lives in Myrtle Beach.