Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Voting Rights as a Constitutional Amendment

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, July 16, 2022

The United States Constitution has been amended 27 times.

Of those 27 amendments, there is but one solitary matter which has consistently appeared over the years.

And similarly, there is but one matter which has consistently been problematic for the United States.

That solitary matter has been addressed in the Constitution, to be affirmed, confirmed, and reaffirmed, time, and time, and time again.

And that single, solitary matter, is voting.

Exactly 5 of the 27 amendments — or 18.5% — to the U.S. Constitution have dealt with matters related to voting. If by the number of instances in which the matter is addressed is any indication of its importance, there is NO MORE greater matter to civil society, and by extension, to our democratic republic, than voting.

And yet, as evidenced by the corollary to those same amendments, voting has been, and continues to be, the single most abused, and misused tool of those who attempt to wrest power AWAY FROM the people, and accumulate it to unto themselves, and/or their favored political party.

Voting gives POWER TO THE PEOPLE; and that is precisely why some do NOT want We The People to have power, as our Constitutional Democratic Republic mandates.

Here are the amendments to the Constitution, as they read, which have all dealt with matters of voting.

Beginning with the:

• 15th Amendment in 1870, which gave voting rights to former slaves;

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

• 19th Amendment in 1920, which gave women the right to vote;

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”

• 23rd Amendment in 1961, giving residents of the District of Columbia the right to vote for Presidential and Vice Presidential electors;

“The District constituting the seat of government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct:

“A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a state, but in no event more than the least populous state; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the states, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a state; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.”

• 24th Amendment in 1964, abolishing a poll tax, and;

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.”

• 26th Amendment in 1971, giving 18-year-olds the right to vote.

“The right of citizens of the United States, who are 18 years of age or older, to vote, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of age.”

Those amendments, of course, exclude the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — landmark legislation which also eliminated literacy tests as a prerequisite to vote — a critically important portion of which the John Roberts-led Supreme Court declared unconstitutional in 2013 in Shelby County, Alabama, Petitioner v. Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General, et al.

In the Shelby County, AL v. Holder case which was decided June 25 that same year by a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) declared unconstitutional Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA), which established a formula for determining which voting jurisdictions were required under Section 5 of the act, to seek Federal approval of any prospective change to their election laws or procedures, a term called “preclearance.”

By so doing, the SCOTUS thereby effectively hobbled the law.

Some called Section 5 the very “heart and lungs” of the VRA.

The “preclearance” requirements were established because of a well-established history in certain voting jurisdictions — predominately Southern states — of voting rights discrimination, especially toward racial minorities, Blacks particular. Those jurisdictions were: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. Also covered under the law were individual counties or townships in: California, Florida, Michigan, New York, North Carolina and South Dakota.

Research has conclusively demonstrated that “preclearance” resulted in INCREASED minority congressional representation, and minority voter turnout.

And in the short time since the John Roberts-led activist Republican SCOTUS showed its willingness to ignore precedent, and disrupt the legal concept of stare decisis, at least 1000 polling places have been closed throughout the nation, most of which have been in areas populated predominately by racial and ethnic minorities, especially and particularly by Blacks.

Additional research has demonstrated that changing polling locations, and reducing the number of polling locations, conclusively results in low voter turnout. The research also showed that reductions in early voting periods either by shortening, or by eliminating them altogether, as well as “purges” of lists of registered voters, and imposition of strict, often arbitrary and inconsistent Voter ID laws, has a similar suppressing effect upon voter registration, participation, and turnout. Further complicating matters, there is NO uniform Federal standard for photographic Voter ID in the 50 states.

And so, emboldened by the absence of law, the states do what they want without fear of recrimination or retribution by the Federal government.

Some states allow “expired” government-issued photographic ID to be used to vote, but not “current” College/University-issued Student ID; one such state is Tennessee. Alabama, however, allows “current” College/University-issued Student ID to be used for Voter ID purposes, but NOT “expired” government-issued photographic ID. While yet other states — as allowed by Federal law, the Help America Vote Act of 2002 — allow certain bills, such as for utilities, and other mailed documents from governmental agencies, to be used to identify voters. It’s all a very topsy-turvy, twisted, and unnecessarily convoluted matter which has occurred because the States are “doing their own thing” without regard to the Federal government. And the SCOTUS has facilitated it all.

Research conducted 5 years after the Shelby v Holder decision found that voting jurisdictions which were previously subject to the preclearance provisions of Section 4, substantially increased voter registration purges, and that practically ALL such restrictions subsequent to the decision were enacted by Republican-dominated legislatures.

In each and every instance, the desired, intended, net effect, consequence, and result, of such infringements is that voting is CONSTRICTED, CONSTRAINED, and otherwise PURPOSELY LIMITED. In other words, the essence of the matter is that, the right to vote is infringed.

Further, there are STILL citizens who do not have the right to vote, because the right to vote is NOT unconditionally guaranteed to all citizens.

Many otherwise-eligible nonvoters are disenfranchised by felony convictions by the states. Vermont, and Maine, are the only two states among the 50 that allow prisoners the right to vote while incarcerated. The other 48 do not, and some maintain felony disenfranchisement even after sentences have been completed, including probation, and community service, while yet others, such as Florida, mandate that re-enfranchisement will occur only after ALL fines, penalties, and fees assessed in the case have been paid in full. (Some consider that a type of poll tax.) Some states, like Alabama, still maintain felony disenfranchisement for those convicted of “crimes of moral turpitude” — an imprecise, and ambiguous term which has never been authoritatively defined. Conceivably, all felonies are “crimes of moral turpitude.”

District 1 (top LEFT) — 16 red voters
District 2 (below 1) — 3 red voters, 13 blue voters
District 3 (top RIGHT) — 3 red voters, 13 blue voters
District 4 (middle) — 7 red voters, 9 blue voters
District 1 (top LEFT) — 7 blue voters, 9 red voters
District 2 (top RIGHT) — 7 blue voters, 9 red voters
District 3 (RIGHT side) — 4 red voters, 12 blue voters
District 4 (CENTER bottom) — 7 blue voters, 9 red voters

Further, some states’ legislatures (primarily GOP-dominated) which, following the 2020 Census, have gerrymandered (manipulated) Congressional Districts to give unjust, and unequal representation to their party’s candidates. There have been some states with Democratically-controlled legislatures which have gerrymandered, but they are the exception, rather than the rule.

Typically, using sophisticated software, and high-powered computers, legislatures are able to artificially manipulate their state’s population demographically in order to give an unjust, and unequal, partisan advantage to their favored party.

There are a variety of ways in which that is done, one being by using a colloquially-termed technique of “packing and cracking,” an illustration of which appears herein.

Another similar technique also artificially manipulates and contorts the district’s boundaries (gerrymandering) by using certain selected demographic characteristics to deliberately mischaracterize the district. Again, that is done simply by twisting, convoluting and perverting the district’s borders to artificially combine, or exclude, certain voters, often based upon how the districts have typically voted, or by certain demographic characteristics.

The net result is misrepresentation, and ultimately, is another form of voter disenfranchisement.

An illustration of that example also appears herein.

There is yet another way, or technique, by and through which voters are disenfranchised, and that is by unjust voting laws, most all of which are in the 50 states. Such laws are either attempts to intimidate voters, to make voting and registration difficult, or by simply engaging in a wholesale “purging” of voter lists, most often under the guise that voters have moved, or died.

And in some cases, nothing of the sort has ever happened. A voter may have had a legal name change, for example, such as through marriage, but has maintained the same address. And in such instances, the voter would be “purged,” or eliminated, from the “active voter” list, even though they are an active voter.

Another way is by “purging” voters who have not voted in a certain period of time. They have neither changed their names, nor moved (nor died, obviously), but, for whatever reason, have not voted in a certain period of time, which again, is often imprecise, ambiguous, inconsistently applied, and not established by state law, often varying county-to-county, and state-to-state.

While yet other efforts to limit voting occur through arcane and deliberately difficult rules for absentee voting, by either limiting the circumstances in which absentee ballots may be requested, severely restricting the time and place where voters may cast ballots, or by minimizing opportunities for voters to vote by absentee ballot, such as for the disabled, those home-bound, or hospitalized, or by restricting the way in which the ballots may be received, such as by limiting, or eliminating, official ballot drop-boxes, or denying the ability to cast a ballot through the U.S. Postal Service — which is arguably, one of THE MOST SECURE methods of delivery.

The objective, or net result of, gerrymandering is to give a partisan advantage to an otherwise or seemingly disadvantaged political party. And the desired outcome in most such cases, is that a minority party’s candidate (often, an otherwise “losing” party) wins an election, simply by virtue of how the districts are arranged.

And yet another way in which governmentally authorized voter disenfranchisement occurs is by so-called “exact match” signatures on absentee ballots. One’s signature changes over a period of time, and is a well-known variable that cannot be found accurately reliable, even in a court of law. And yet, some states mandate that an “exact match” of the signature on the voter registration and on the as-yet-uncounted-and-unopened ballot, or else the ballot is ruled “ineligible” or worse, fraudulent.

And finally, two methods of voting disenfranchisement are by closing, or limiting, polling locations, and by requiring Voter ID. There are no states — to the best of my knowledge — that mandate a Photographic Voter ID to be issued to any voter upon registration. Some states, such as Tennessee, allow “expired” government-issued forms of photographic identification, such as a United States passport, to be used for identification, but not a current university-issued photographic identification. Alabama mandates that a current photographic ID must be used to vote.

The hoopla over photographic voter identification is based upon the demonstrably false notion that elections can be, or are, swayed by individuals who, in violation of law, vote more than once in one election, sometimes in more than one location, and that there are many such individuals who do so.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

While there continue to be cases of voter fraud, they are so minuscule, so very few, and far between, that they do not in any way, shape, or form, influence elections enough to give an (unjust) advantage to their chosen candidate. Simply put, such examples of voter fraud have no influence upon the outcome of 99.99% of elections.

Voting is the fundamental and foundational basis upon which the democratic process is built, and exists. And there it little-to-no-denying that “election integrity” should be not merely circumspect, but beyond reproach with flawless probity.

However, the flawed implementation of the mostly-Republican-dominated states’ legislatures is that NONE OF THEM mandate that an official photographic State Voter ID be issued to EVERY voter upon registration — bar none.

Not even one.

And for that reason, it is not merely hypocrisy for them to assert that so-called “election integrity” is at stake when time, and time again, Secretaries of State, and other election officials — Federal, State, and Local — have conclusively demonstrated and proven that election integrity is 99.99% intact, secure, and unblemished. And it is precisely and exclusively because they have DONE NOTHING to remedy any such alleged problem. It has, therefore, become a mere game for them, a political straw man punching bag which they pull out to use when they think it would suit their interests — which are typically, and most often, aimed at, and designed for, the alienation of anyone (voters) whom they perceive would disagree with them, their actions, or ideas. Once again, another instance of voting disenfranchisement.

Furthermore, with one limited, though notable, exception — the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (section 15483(b)(2)(A)) which mandates that all states require identification from first-time voters who register to vote by mail and have not provided verification of their identification at the time of registration; which act also states that a “current and valid photo identification” or “a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter” are acceptable forms of Voter ID — Congress has neither addressed the matter in any way, shape, or form, to provide for any type of mandatory photographic Voter ID to be issued by the states upon a voter’s registration (in a manner similar to issuance of a Driver License), because again, Republicans, primarily, would decry the same as some type of “governmental overreach,” or intrusion upon “states’ rights.”

(see: https://www.usa.gov/voter-id)
(see also: https://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/voter-id.aspx#First)
(see also: https://www.congress.gov/107/plaws/publ252/PLAW-107publ252.pdf)

Their (Republican-dominated states) deliberate failures facilitate, aid, and abet, their similarly false, not-even-specious, claims of allegedly “stolen elections.”

Again, the solution to the alleged problem which they claim exists, is to MANDATE that EVERY voter be provided a Photographic Voter ID upon registration — NO EXCEPTIONS.

But they reject that very idea.

An amendment with such wording, as seen below, would remedy that problem.

“A flourishing, free, and democratic republic being the foundation of Liberty, neither Congress, nor the States, shall infringe, nor abridge, the Right of The People to Vote; all American Citizens have an unqualified Right to Vote.

“The Congress shall have power to enforce the provisions of this article by appropriate legislation.”

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