On the dissolution of Voting Rights

Many political observers have commented that the most controversial case rendered by the Supreme Court involved the illegality of Bush’s holding “enemy combatants” in Guantanamo Bay. However the more significant case to me was the case involving Tom Delay and the Supreme Court giving credence to changing election district lines more than once every ten years as outlined in the constitution.

For many years, state legislatures would get together after every census was taken to battle it out over how election districts should be redrawn. But in Texas, Tom Delay engineered an election coup by leading a successful campaign to get the Texas state legislature to re-draw the election district lines for Congress so as to give Republicans a decided and permanent advantage over Democrats in representing the Texas Congressional delegation. The Supreme Court upheld this redistricting scheme with the exception of one district that they said should be re-drawn to correct the disadvantage incurred by a largely Hispanic district.

Something is seriously wrong with the system and principle of voting in this system. To be sure, the redistricting plan upheld by the Supreme Court means that if there is a state legislature controlled by one party, then that legislature can redraw the lines for their advantage at will. Waiting every ten years to re-draw the map seems reasonable and dare I say constitutional. But now, there will be no rhyme or reason to re-drawing districts so if you thought we had a winner-take-all system before this decision was announced, you haven’t seen anything yet. The larger issue here is that when you leave politicians to redraw the election district lines at will, you create a system where by politicians choose their voters and voters don’t choose their politicians. Think about that.

And lest we forget, there will be states this year that will be voting with electronic voting machines that have no paper trail. I am sure this is the direction we will be heading. Mexico provides an excellent example of what happens when you have electronic voting machines. When the Pri (the dominant party for years in Mexico until the election of Vicente Fox) held elections while they were in power and the tallies seemed to go for their opponents, they would announce that the computers crashed and before you know it, the Pri remained in power.

Also, the Voting Rights Act is being held up in Congress over some stupid technicalities like having bilingual ballots. While that is a legitimate issue, didn’t everyone think that the Voting Rights Act should have been renewed without any fuss?

Between the Supreme Court decision agreeing to election redistricting at will, electronic voting machines with no paper trail, and the hampering of the Voting Rights Act, it seems like Diddy’s catch phrase “Vote or Die,” is not an adequate dichotomy because voting ensures fairness, honesty, and equality; traits that are seriously being undermined by the system and principles of voting in this country.

Stay up fam,

Brandon

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