Voting Challenges in 2012

USA has always been viewed as the most democratic state in the world. This has been due to the fact that the citizens of this nation possess a lot of rights which they get to exercise within the boundaries of their nation. According to Jonel (2006), prior to 1965, US citizens did not have exclusive voting rights. This action impacted greatly on African Americans and other minorities within USA (McCrary, Seaman and Valleley, 2006).

In their paper, McCrary et al (2006) asseted that the members of these communities were expected to meet several minimum requirements such as literacy tests, before they were deemed to be eligible for voting. As a result, voter turn out was always low. This did not create a good picture of democracy that the nation was thought to have had. As a result of the Civil Movement in the 1960s coupled with pressure from other agencies, the nation enacted the Voting Act of 1965 (Epstein et al, 2006).

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According to Jonel (2006), the Voting Rights Acts of 1965 removed a lot of barriers that disenfranchised individuals from voting. For instance, during the 2008 elections, president Obama received a lot of votes from the white community despite the fact that he is from an African American background. This proved that section 2 of the Voting Act of 1965 had been implemented effectively.

However, the results that he got from some of the states, especially those that were dominated by monirity communities, raised doubts on section 5 of the Act. McCrary et al (2006) in their paper asserted that for the congress to ensure that such events do not recur in the future, several ammendments had to be done in section 5 of the act.

These amendments are to be effected in the 2012 presidential elections in the US. The overall effects of these amendments cannot be quantified at the present moment but it is evident that they will deter minorities from voting (McCrary et al, 2006). The effects of these new legislations can only be understood after they are compared to the Voting Rights Acts of 1965.

According to Marjorie (2009), several federal governments in the United States have enacted policies and laws that would govern their state elections and the presidential elections at large. The specifications of these laws and policies go against several sections that were enacted in the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (Jonel, 2006). Therefore, these new policies will make it even harder for individuals to vote, especially the minorities in the US. These new laws will make over five million voters not to be eligible for the 2012 elections.

In her article, Marjorie (2009) went further ahead to assert that in the 2012 elections, some states will make it mandatory for voters to provide photo ID before voting. These states include Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, South Carolina and Kansas (Marjorie, 2009). Its effect is that approximately 3.2 million people who have not obliged to these new laws shall not vote in 2012.

According to Marjorie (2009), only 2 states required government issued photo IDs for from voters during the 2008 elections. To be in particular, over 21 million voters do not possess government issued photo IDs and most of these individuals come from minority communities (Marjorie, 2009).

In addition, 12 states in the US will require voters to provide their proof of citizenship before voting. This includes documents such as birth certificates to register as a voter or during the voting process. Furthermore, Marjorie (2009) asserts that these new laws will make voter registration to be even harder.

Marjorie (2009) states that voter registration is one of the factors that affect voter turnout during elections. Thus, if voter registration is made difficult, especially for minorities, the overall effect is that the turn out during the election date shall be lower than expected.

This shall cut down the mobilization efforts that used to specifically encourage individuals from African American community and other minority communities to vote. These laws have also reduced early and absent voting (Marjorie, 2009). The overall outcome of these laws has made it difficult for individuals to register as voter and vote in general.

These laws have a higher impact on individuals from the African American Community and other minority communities in the United States (McCrary et al, 2006). As a result, it will be true to conclude that these new laws will deter the minority vote in the 2012 presidential elections.

References

Epstein, D., Richard P., Rodolfo, G. and Sharyn O. (2006). The Future Of The Voting Rights Act. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Jonel, N. (2006). Unfinished Business: The Case for Continuing Special Voting Rights Act Coverage in Florida. University of Miami Law Review, 61 (1), 301-351

Marjorie, H. (2009). What We Know about Voter-ID Laws, Registration, and Turnout. PS, 1 (1), 87-91

McCrary, P., Seaman, C. and Valleley, R. (2006). The End of Preclearance as we Knew

It: How Supreme Court Transformed Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Michigan Journal of Race & Law, 8 (1), 275-323