Is the Right to Vote Fading?

Remember the email rumor of the late 90's that said the Voting Rights Act will end in 2007, thus ending black folks' right to vote. A far fetched notion, back then, until we hit the 21st Century and the election—and eight glorious years—of George W. Bush. Although this decade of a Republican White House hasn't proven as tumultuous for African Americans as the last 12 under Reagan and Bush I, voting in hotly-contested presidential elections has. First, there were reports in 2000 of voter suppression and "irregularities" in predominantly-black counties like Gadsden where 12.4 percent of ballots were invalidated because of faulty counting machines). Coincidentally, the recount battle over Florida is how the GOP, uh, stole the contest. Next came the 2004 presidential election—another Bush win—and numerous reports of voter suppression in Ohio. And a month before this year's election the New York Times reports that in at least six states voters are being kicked off the voting rolls or being blocked from registering "in ways that appear to violate federal law."

Now I'm not one to give in to conspiracy theories, but I am one to ring an alarm if a dangerous pattern seems to be developing. And a viable threat to the African-American vote and their voting rights, especially in swing states, is what I see coming, at least every four years. Yes, there's no Jim Crow South or poll tax or Grandfather clauses to overtly keep a certain segment of African-Americans from the polls, but there are new, covert techniques to institute an old result (black voter disenfranchisement). This is what our so-called civil rights leadership need to currently keep their eye on because, while there's a federal law which gives black folks' the right to vote, their are 21st Century means, used by unseen hands, of slowly and covertly taking that right away.