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National

The Brave Act Of Casting A Ballot

A young female voter proudly displays her "I voted" sticker outside DC voting precinct 135 November 4, 2008 at the Mount Bethel Baptist Church in the NW section of Washington, DC.
A young female voter proudly displays her "I voted" sticker outside DC voting precinct 135 November 4, 2008 at the Mount Bethel Baptist Church in the NW section of Washington, DC.

Voter suppression is a very real problem in the U.S. According to the Brennan Center For Justice at New York University, “lawmakers in eight states have introduced at least 16 bills making it harder to vote, and 35 restrictive bills in 14 states have carried over from previous legislative sessions. If passed, the laws would increase restrictions on voter registration and limit early and absentee voting opportunities, among other changes.”

From the nonprofit public policy organization Brookings Institution:

“Twenty states have passed new restrictive voting laws since 2010, and fourteen states had such laws come into effect for the first time this year. Voter ID laws are only one of several practices that add up to a widespread effort at election discrimination. Others include purges of the voting rolls, reductions in early voting opportunities, and the closing of polling stations.

That these laws are intentionally discriminatory is beyond question.”

Efforts to keep people from exercising their right to vote are, however, arguably less violent than in America’s recent past. A new podcast produced by WABE public radio in Atlanta unfolds the story of farmer and father Isaiah Nixon, an African-American who was followed home and murdered in front of his family after casting a ballot in Georgia’s Democratic primary election in 1948.

The crime shows how far the nation has come in expanding access to voting rights, while reminding us that there is still a ways to go to eliminate voter suppression and intimidation in every state.

GUESTS

Hank Klibanoff, Host, “Buried Truths”; director, Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases Project at Emory University; author, “The Race Beat”; @HankKlibanoff

Aman Batheja, Political editor, The Texas Tribune; @amanbatheja

For more, visit https://the1a.org.

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Copyright 2018 WAMU 88.5