Now that we’ve lost our national consensus that it’s a good idea for more people to vote, I’ve found myself wondering whether the current Congress could pass the Voting Rights Act if it were before them now.
When I floated this question in here, Rachel sent over this bit on what else Congressman Todd Akin said when he was talking about rape and pregnancy – namely the problems with having federal protection for the right to vote:
Well, first of all when you talk about elections, specifically, elections historically have always been a state thing. And I didn’t realize how important or how good that was until we had that very close race, that second race with George Bush, and you had something that goes wrong in Florida. And I’m thinking, it sure is good the states manage this and not the federal government otherwise you have to rehold the whole election process. So I do think the states having a say in terms of how they do the voting in their own state. That was a good principle laid down in the past.
Akin’s office later clarified his remarks to reflect that he does consider voting a fundamental right.
This One Man, One Vote poster comes from Mississippi in 1963, two years before the Voting Rights Act passed. The history behind that image is American amazing. And I’d like to think Congress today could pass the Voting Rights Act readily, except that it’s the same law state Republicans come up against when they make voting harder. And at the national level, Republicans have put support for making voting harder in their platform.