In the early days of the USA only property owners could vote. A hundred years later all barriers to voting were gone except the one that kept women away from the polls. Then new barriers were built against Blacks and felons, notably poll taxes and other tests that were unfairly applied.
Branstad thinks it terrible that everyone might be able to vote: “All of the sudden you're just going to make 50,000 people eligible to vote,” he fretted. Imagine that!
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Branstad wants to get their money first: “We helped the clerk of courts offices collect a lot of money” by wringing court costs out of them.
Stopping felons from voting is the new way to keep blacks out of power, says Michelle Alexander:
Jarvious Cotton’s great-great-grandfather could not vote as a slave. His great-grandfather was beaten to death by the Klu Klux Klan for attempting to vote. His grandfather was prevented from voting by Klan intimidation; his father was barred by poll taxes and literacy tests. Today, Cotton cannot vote because he, like many black men in the United States, has been labeled a felon and is currently on parole.
—FROM THE NEW JIM CROW
With all the talk of “We the People” ringing in our ears, let's be sure we count every opinion and every vote. Don't go back to building barriers, Mr. Branstad.
cross posted at http://iowavoters.org/2011/01/09/branstad-vs-voting-rights/