Every American citizen should be worried anytime there is a movement to add restrictions to voting procedures in the nation. Currently numerous state legislatures across the country have seen bills introduced to make voting difficult. This is about as un-American as you can get.
Some may dismiss the proposed restrictions as 'just politics,' but it goes far beyond that.
The United States was founded on the tenet of self determination. Voting is as sacrosant as freedom of speech and freedom of worship. When those rights are under attack, the people need to stand up and say they won't stand for their fellow citizen's ability to vote be diminished.
Many of the proposed pieces of legislation in other states are a response to stories about stolen and fraudulent elections. Reports of widespread election fraud have been debunked, including by the previous administration's Justice Department.
There are few incidences of actual voting irregularities. Some say that vote-by-mail is rife with corruption. We know that is not true, especially in Oregon, which has been voting by mail for two decades.
Those who decry the incemental encroachment of government in citizen's lives should not be natural allies of those who seek to suppress voting by any demographic. What is the purpose of limiting the number of polling places that could force voters to travel miles to a vote? There should more polling stations, not less.
What is the purpose of outlawing providing food and water to those waiting in line to vote? There can be no good purpose. Neither one's socioeconomic status nor one's demographic background can be an impediment to being part of the democratic process.
Just because a political party in control of legislation can pass bills that restrict voting does not mean they should. The Oregon election system has benefited from vote-by-mail, increasing turnout from the outset; most can agree that elections in our state have been fair and honest. Citizens should be confident that their vote will be counted, but that only works if everyone who wants to vote has a convenient way to do so.
It is the American way. All attempts to suppress voting by anyone needs to be nipped in the bud.
(Lyndon Zaitz is publisher of the Keizertimes.)