We all honor the Civil Rights Act and the hundreds of thousands of people who marched, spoke, or gave their lives to see the next generation into something better. So why do we still need to “take back the vote?” Defend the vote? Be concerned about what game they might play on us at the ballot box? Clearly, something else is afoot.
Over the coming months The Nation and Colorlines.com will be collaborating in Voting Rights Watch 2012 by reporting areas of voter suppression around the nation. Together they will uncover stories that give readers the information needed to act and/or speak out on behalf of their right to vote.
Over the last few years, the narrative about voting rights has drastically changed. We know that the history of who can and cannot vote in the U.S. is fraught with discrimination against women, the poor, and people of color. Some fifty years ago, Fannie Lou Hamer decided to risk her livelihood (to whatever extent sharecropping can be considered a livelihood) and her very life to fight against voter suppression. It was people like Hamer who saw the transformative possibilities attached in simply exercising one’s right to register to vote, and this is what eventually helped secure the Voting Rights Act.