The Republican Party claims to be the party of small government — with the obvious exceptions of denying marriage equality and reproductive rights. But there's another kind of big government that the party has overwhelmingly and enthusiastically gotten behind: expensive and intrusive attempts to make it harder for Americans to vote.
A recent trio of federal court decisions in Florida, Ohio, and Texas have ripped the lid off the increasingly successful right-wing campaign to limit opportunities for low-income people, minorities, and students to vote — especially, and not coincidentally, in swing states. These decisions, from even-handed and moderate federal judges across the country, show just how far the Right has gone to use the power of government to make it even harder for traditionally disenfranchised groups to vote.
In Florida, a federal judge permanently blocked a law that had made it almost impossible for good government groups to conduct voter registration drives — which prompted groups like the venerable League of Women Voters to all but shut down operations in the state.
In Ohio, a federal court ordered the state to reopen early voting in the three days before November's election, which Republicans had attempted to shut down. Early voting on the weekend before the election was enormously successful in 2008 — especially among African Americans — and the judge found that Republicans had no legitimate reason to want it to stop.
And finally, a federal court, which is required to review changes in election policy in states and counties with a history of voting discrimination, ruled that Texas' new voter ID law couldn't go forward because it "imposes strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor and racial minorities in Texas."
The effort that Republican governors and legislatures across the country have gone through in the past two years to make it more difficult for citizens to vote is truly remarkable. They have been willing to buck the law while violating the spirit of our constitutional democracy to bar groups of people from participating in it. And they've been willing to set up extra layers of government and bureaucracy — things they claim to despise — simply to keep people from the polls.
There are plenty of areas of genuine disagreement in our politics, but the right to vote shouldn't be one of them. In an interview with The Atlantic, Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights hero, said "there should be public ...
México City march demands justice for students
“Take this.” Doña María passes the color photo of one her four missing sons to a young woman standing beside her and takes a life-size silhouette of a missing student into her hands. “They are all our sons,” she explains.
As do so many mothers and fathers throughout México, she knows the pain ...
Aspects of climate change are unquestionable
Out of the thousands of signs carried by the 400,000 participants in the People´s Climate March in New York City recently, there were two that really stayed with me. One read: “Mother Earth is not a merchandise,” and the other: “End environmental racism!”
Both define well the Latino community’s ...
Clarifying visions of the American dream
In a recent interview, noted author and essayist Richard Rodríguez shared his views on the American dream with Sandy Close, Executive Director, New America Media. He says we are now living two American Dreams: the one "transformative," gaudy even, the other "diminished" and "less ambitious." ...
Students promote literacy awareness
Denver’s Florence Crittenton Services celebrated International Literacy Day in partnership with Bank of the West, a primary sponsor of the Raising a Reader program. International Literacy Day was celebrated on Sept. 8th to raise awareness and concern for literacy issues in the world.