Groups Most Affected
Because Our Voting System Is Broken. Here's How to Fix It.
By Stephen Wolf, The New Republic, December 24, 2014
"Elections lack democratic legitimacy when they do not reflect the wishes of the citizenry. In the case of the United States, we're carrying a legacy of an electoral system that was designed and built to favor white voters. That it still works that way isn't a shock. What's shocking is that we know how to fix it, and still haven't done so." Read the article.
The following chart shows in black the percent of people in various categories in Wisconsin who don't have a driver's license and would have difficulty exercising their right to vote. The Republican campaign to restrict voting to people who have a photo ID would prevent tens of thousands of people from voting in Minnesota, and millions throughout the country.
Voting Age Population in Wisconsin
(Black = No DL)
John Pawasarat, Employment and Training Institute
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
In Dorm Room Dealers: Drugs and the Privileges of Race and Class, A. Rafik Mohamed and Erik D. Fritsvold point out that the rate of illicit drug and substance use is lower among young black adults than among young white adults, 34% versus 39%. This means there are there are about 5 million white 18-to-25 year olds who are regular illicit drug users compared to about 1 million black users. Yet half the people in state prisons for drug use are black. Dorm-room dealing is low-risk because white, middle-class youth are "anti-targets" in the "war on drugs." The authors explain that white dorm room dealers are invisible to law enforcement because they do not fit the image of a drug dealer, or their drug dealing is ignored by the college's authorities. Young black men are much more subject to searches and consequently much more frequently arrested for possession of drugs.
Alexander Keyssar, a professor of history and social policy at Harvard, writes that a survey of world events over the last 20 or 100 years shows that democracies are fragile and democratic institutions can be undermined from within. He points out that the wave to restrict voting, including strict photo ID requirements, over the last few years is part of a much longer history of both parties rejecting democratic values in favor of partisan advantage. He asks us to be profoundly skeptical of laws that impede the exercise of what Lyndon B. Johnson called "the basic right, without which all others are meaningless." See his New York Times article giving a brief history of trends to both restrict and expand the vote: The Strange Career of Voter Suppression.
Listen to Professor Keyssar's interview with Dan Malizy at Radio Bosten on the fight for every last vote.