There’s a lot wrong with the voting process here in the U.S. Low voter turnout, bad candidates, the difficulty and hassle of registering to vote every time you move. Things have been worse though. It wasn’t very long ago that women, blacks, native Americans and poor people couldn’t vote. Since the Voting Rights Act of 1965, things have improved, but unfortunately, voter suppression techniques designed to keep minority voters and people from low income areas away from the polls are all too common. Why, because they are more likely to vote for Democrats. Yes, I am saying that Republicans are behind this. You ask, is this really happening? Sure it is. Robo calls giving the wrong dates to would be voters, stricter ID requirements – for example, a student ID in Texas might not be enough, but a gun license would be fine as proof of identity along with another form of ID. In Florida, a law passed that makes it harder to register to vote and restricts early voting. Maine no longer permits registration on the day of an election and places new restrictions on absentee voting. And there was a reason a band of reactionary merry pranksters went after ACORN, and it wasn’t to expose fraud. For a complete list and description of voter suppression legislation by state, see this ACLU Map.
Suppression is one problem, but not the only. Even among registered voters who are not suppressed, voter turnout is embarrassingly low and even lower in local elections, in the country thought to be a model for democracy. Voting is a civic responsibility, like jury duty, but so many U.S. citizens do not exercise their right to vote, something like 30-40% from the looks of the data, don’t bother to vote in Presidential elections. For historic voting patterns, see the United States Elections Project.
Thinking of the 99% who believe that if all 99% would vote, there’d be real change, I have news for you – that sort of turnout is unprecedented. And I think the OWS movement has forgotten that a good many Republican voters are also in the 99%, who, were they to vote, would certainly not vote for a candidate sympathetic to OWS objectives. It is a fact that a good number of Republicans do not vote for candidates who have their best interests in mind. And forgive me for being cynical, but if history is any indication, a good chunk of the OWS crowd will not register to vote, or bother to go to the polls and vote the bastages out and the good ones in. I hope I am wrong – I really do.