Congresswoman Angie Antonelli, the main character of my new book, Love Is Enough, asked to post a series of daily posts on this blog leading up to Election Day in the US on Tuesday, November 4.   And, really, how could I refuse her?

Cindy_Book2Cover

Hi, it’s Angie here to talk to you again about the importance of the upcoming election in the US this Tuesday, November 4, and urge you to get out and vote.

Let’s discuss voting.  This country has a shameful legacy when it comes to the right to vote, beginning with the earliest days of our history.  Did you know that for the first 60 years of our republic only white male landowners had the right to vote?  And then in the mid-1800s, once all white males gained the right, states adopted literacy tests designed to deter European immigrants from voting.  After Black males were granted the vote, Southern states enacted poll taxes in addition to literacy tests in order to keep them away from the polls.  Women couldn’t vote until 1920 and Native Americans until 1924.  Finally, in 1965, the Voting Rights Act put an end to race-based voting restrictions, an achievement that I thought, until recently, closed the door on our disgraceful past.

But I’m afraid I spoke too soon, because now, as the country’s citizens of color, new immigrants, and younger voters favor more progressive stands on the issues of the day, conservatives have once again raised barriers, this time by imposing onerous identification requirements aimed, they say, at eliminating so-called voter fraud.  But this is a solution in search of a problem, since there’s very scant evidence of voter fraud.  What we have real evidence of is impossibly long lines at the polls in neighborhoods where a majority of African Americans live.  What we have are ID rules that will confound our transgender brothers and sisters, including people like my friend Hadley Chambers, from exercising their right to vote.  And what we have is a US Supreme Court decision that took the enforcement teeth out of the Voting Rights Act, paving the way for more of these restrictions that Attorney General Eric Holder says, “cause a greater burden on African Americans, Latinos, and younger voters.”

So what can you do?  First educate yourself by reading about the issue on the websites of civil rights and LGBT equality organizations, like the NAACP and the National Center for Transgender Equality.  And help your family members and friends who may be encountering ID restrictions.  But most important, get out and vote on Tuesday for the people who will restore everyone’s right to unobstructed access the polls.

To learn more about Angie Antonelli and the ups and downs of her love life, read Love Is Enough, available here and here.

 

 

Advertisements