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Opinion

Opinion

Editorial: An honor to vote

November 6, 2012

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Every election is important, and every vote counts.

Even if you fear your vote for president will be nullified by the Electoral College system, there are many other races that will pick officials who directly affect our community and state in many ways. Those elected to the Douglas County Commission, the Kansas Legislature and the Kansas State Board of Education will have a huge impact on those who live in Lawrence and across the state.

Most of us take the right to vote too much for granted. A story in Sunday’s Journal-World served as a reminder that it was only 100 years ago that roughly half the population of Kansas had to fight for the right to vote. That changed on Nov. 5, 1912, when the male voters of Kansas approved a constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote.

Kansas was ahead of many states. Only six other states, all to the west, had approved full suffrage for women before Kansas. The vote wasn’t a slam dunk. The amendment passed by only a margin of 52 percent to 48 percent, so it was clear many Kansas men still had their doubts. The opinions of Lawrence businessmen, as reported in the May 26, 1912, Journal-World, ranged from A.D. Weaver, who said, “Give them all the suffrage they want” to J. Gordon Gibb, who said, “I believe that woman’s place is in the home” and presumably not at the polls, although Kansas women had had the right to vote in municipal elections since 1887.

In the last 100 years, women have adequately confirmed their ability to cast votes as well as hold public office. From today’s perspective, it seems incredible that anyone in the United States was denied the right to vote because of gender or race. Yet, around the world, many people still are fighting for the right to have a meaningful voice in the government that controls so many facets of their lives.

The Kansas secretary of state has predicted there will be a 68 percent turnout in today’s election, several percentage points below the turnout for the last two presidential elections. We hope he is proven wrong. There is no more important right for American citizens than the right to vote and no greater responsibility than to take advantage of that right.

One local resident suggested in Sunday’s story that women go to the polls today in honor of their sisters who fought to obtain the franchise 100 years ago. That’s a fitting tribute, but all Americans should vote every opportunity they get in honor of the founders of this country and as a beacon to all of those around the world who do not yet have the important right to vote.

Comments

witchfindergeneral 2 years, 1 month ago

"From today’s perspective, it seems incredible that anyone in the United States was denied the right to vote because of gender or race."

And yet, many states in 2012 have/have already implemented strict voter-ID laws in order to stop what they see as "rampant voter fraud." Yet, most of these states are red, with sizable (i.e., politically relevant) immigrant or minority communities. Needless to say, most of those demographics tend to vote Democratic, historically.

I know the Washington Post isn't most relevant or revered newspaper in the nation (/sarcasm), but bear with me:

"The organization’s analysis of 2,068 cases found only 10 related to impersonation. Using those figures, the frequency of poll impersonation is about one in 15 million."

Article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-truth-about-voter-fraud/2012/08/13/7d6f5ad2-e58b-11e1-936a-b801f1abab19_story.html

"Aliens:" http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/48098099/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/voter-fraud-rampant-youre-more-likely-report-ufo/#.UJirCm_A9nE

Even if we round-up, quite liberally (oh, the irony), for "extreme" voter fraud in this country, there is no way, realistically or practically, that "voter fraud" could swing an election. To suggest otherwise is to wade into the dubious realm of conspiracy and paranoia.

No, what we should really be worried about is legal voter suppression. Suppression against groups of people who have been historically disenfranchised for political reasons. The theory of requiring everyone multiple forms of identification is a simple and devious (and outwardly innocuous) method of discouraging certain voting blocks from turning up at polls.

From today's perspective, it seems incredible that anyone in the United States is still denied the right to vote because of race, gender, creed, or orientation.

Bonus article from a Republican POV: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/21/voter-id-laws-stink-says-_n_1904322.html

"[ . . .] all Americans should vote every opportunity they get in honor of the founders of this country and as a beacon to all of those around the world who do not yet have the important right to vote."

Indeed.

EDIT: INB4 conservatives call me very bad names:

Please remember (or learn?) that the most serious cases of voter fraud this electoral cycle have been levied against right-leaning groups:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/decision2012/virginia-voter-fraud-case-expands-to-focus-on-gop-firm/2012/11/02/76285252-24eb-11e2-ac85-e669876c6a24_story.html?hpid=z2

http://www.salon.com/2012/11/03/gop_voter_registration_fraud_probe_widens/

Again, I know both the Washington Post and Salon are known liberal fringe groups (/SARCASM), but please read said articles and consider what they imply.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 1 month ago

Suppose we go back in time, maybe fifty years. I don't know how old you are, but if you're not old enough, just bear with me. Suppose a criminal went into a grocery store and slipped an item into their pocket and left the store. The store owner might never know the item was taken. There would be no computerized tracking device, no alarms going off at the exit. Nothing. No report to the police would be made. Nothing. The perfect crime, right. Compare that to today. Stores routinely use computers to do inventory. So if something isn't sold, or otherwise disposed of in a known manner, it can be assumed it was stolen. If someone goes out the front door, alarms might be set off.

The point is this, in either case, something was stolen, whether the store owner knew about it or not. Whether a report was produced or not. Whether the police were called or not. Whether their was an arrest and conviction or not. Something was stolen. With that in mind, I would ask you this question, how many fraudulent votes were cast, yet never detected in any way whatsoever, ever, by anyone?

Liberty275 2 years, 1 month ago

"Colorado and Washington passed referendums legalizing marijuana for recreational use, becoming the first states in the country to legalize the drug, according to ABC News. "

http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/News/colorado-washington-legalize-recreational-marijuana/story?id=17656515

jafs 2 years, 1 month ago

That was good to hear.

Let's just hope the feds don't continue their practice of prosecuting marijuana use in states that have legalized it, using a very broad interpretation of the ICC to justify that.

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