Who Really Won?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

No Right to Vote

They're still trying to figure out who really won in Maryland more than a week after the election.

Then, Salon comes out with this to make you shake your head again:

Last week, a Missouri judge reminded the state Legislature that citizens of the state have a right to vote. And because it is a right, not a privilege granted by the powerful, Missourians can cast their ballots this November without having to meet identification requirements that seemed designed to make it harder for certain people -- the poor, the elderly, minorities and women -- to exercise that right.

That's the good news. The bad news is that this right comes from the Missouri state Constitution. The U.S. Constitution does not explicitly guarantee a right to vote, and our federal courts currently read the document not to include it.

The Missouri case should spark some national discussion about why it is that our country, almost alone among advanced democratic nations, does not find this right worth including in its Constitution. It should also inspire closer scrutiny of a kind of a electoral gamesmanship that is going on around the country, as Republicans seek to exploit this gap in our democratic guarantees.

The Republicans in the House took their 'Let's Stop So Many People from Voting' theme nationwide:

On Wednesday the House passed, on a partisan 228-196 vote, legislation that would eventually require voters to show proof of citizenship. Republican supporters said it would stop immigrants from voting illegally. Democrats said it would disenfranchise legal voters, particularly minorities, the poor and the elderly who would have difficulty coming up with documents to prove citizenship.