Friday, July 19, 2024

Whose vote should count?


Louie Overstreet

Charles “Chuck” Bremer, who I have known forever, posed this question to me on the telephone from Cleveland. Those here in Vegas may recall Chuck as head of the Urban Chamber’s construction employment training program during its 2004-2007 heyday. He was directly responsible for placing 288 men and women of color in construction jobs, with a 75% retention rate of at least six months.

And what prompted the question and subsequent lengthy discussion of of how American politics is playing out in 2016? We identified three primary issues that are likely going to determine who will be elected president in November.

The first issue is the chaotic primary season that has come to define the Party of Lincoln — an organization that old Honest Abe would not recognize today. The Donald is doing his very best to make a mockery of the process, complaining that the principle of “one person, one vote” is not being followed.

The second issue is how states with Republican governors and GOP-controlled legislatures have passed voter suppression laws designed to water down the votes of people of color. In various forms, these laws require voter ID cards, cut the number of days for early voting, and dramatically reduce the number of places ballots can be cast.

The third, which you can rest assured will cause the most controversy, is Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s move to restore voting rights to felons who have completed their sentences. Rather than have you guess the two reasons why, I will give them to you: Virginia is a purple state, where a couple hundred votes can determine who carries the state in a presidential election; and most of the felons are black and brown.

Need I say more?

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