As a citizen of the United States there is no greater right than our right to vote. Our fellow Americans have died protecting our right to register to vote and our right to vote.  It is the one way that we can be heard as a citizen. No one, not the Federal government nor any state has the right to deny any citizen the right to vote no matter what our race or color, sex or religion is.

In the last several years we are witnessing a sophisticated effort to deny many among us the opportunity to vote. It is being done under the excuse of preventing voter fraud, and to make sure that only citizens vote.

North Carolina is among 11 or so states that have passed voter ID laws since 2011. There is no evidence that any voter fraud has taken place in North Carolina. The result of these laws is that voter participation will be reduced. North Carolina has seen voter participation improve from 1991, when North Carolina stood 47th in the nation to 11th in the nation in 2012. 

My family on my father’s side has lived in North Carolina since around 1700, when one of the Byrums moved from Virginia to Chowan County, where the Byrums still live.

Under the current law that was just passed my Dad might not have been able to vote because he was born at home with a midwife having helped my grandmother deliver her baby boy. Many years ago, birth certificates were not issued. His birth was recorded in the family Bible.

This past weekend the Los Angeles Times included in a story the fact that an African American women was born at home 78 years ago, and she has no birth certificate. She is the subject of a law suit, as she is fighting for her right to vote. Although she has asked for a birth certificate she still has not received one.

What we are truly seeing is an attempt to win by cheating. If you are starting to lose political power let’s just reduce voter turnout.  Their intent is clear, to reduce the vote of young people, the poor who find it hard to pay for a voter ID card, and minorities.

A Driver’s license and a birth certificate should not be the only forms of ID accepted, a passport and a Social Security card should be recognized as a sufficient form of identification.

Students are being discriminated against. Student ID cards are not accepted as forms of identification. I know when I first went to college I did not drive so I did not have a driver’s license. Some students can’t afford a car. 

It would be nice to know how cutting back on early voting diminishes fraud.

In trying to win at any cost by denying people the right to vote, we cheapen democracy. People who promote these laws are unAmerican. As Lord Acton said, ” Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” We can see that people will do anything to stay in power.

Do not be fooled by the excuses that are given for having these laws. These are the same excuses we heard when the South had literacy tests as a determinative factor on who could vote. Who would ever have believed that anyone would stand in line for 8 to 10 hours to vote in Florida in this last election? It makes me embarrassed as an Ameican to see this happen. We see Americans die on the battlefield to help bring democracy to other countries, while at home we see the need to protect  each person’s right to vote. We should be increasing the amount of people who vote not diminishing the amount of people who can vote. 

We have come a long ways since the days when only men with property could vote. Democracy has evolved in America to where women and minorities can now vote as well as men who did not own a certain amount of property. We should cherish our heritage and our birthright by guaranteeing that everyone who is a citizen shall not be denied our fundamental right to vote.


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