To honor MLK’s legacy, pass the vote. Democrats and Republicans will benefit | Opinion

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By John A. Tures

On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, people could watch the movie “Selma”, a great political movie. But even though people might think the Voting Rights Act was meant to help Democrats win the election, the results prove otherwise. When you empower the person, instead of the state, more benefits than just a small group of people.

The Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965, over the objection of several Southern Democrats. You may not realize it, but a higher percentage of Republican lawmakers voted for it than the percentage of Democratic lawmakers who approved of it. LBJ becomes a hero in the end, but you might not realize Republican Senator Everett Dirksen was a key player in getting the bill passed.=

The Voting Rights Act was followed in 1966 by an election in which Republicans secured a net 47 seats in the United States House, three seats in the United States Senate, and seven additional gubernatorial mansions. Just in case you think it was just one election, remember that Richard Nixon won in 1968 and 1972. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 did not lead to a wave democrat.

Do you think it was a fluke? Think again.

Remember back in the 1990s, when Democrats offered to ease the hassle of voting that states put you through? In 1993, the vast majority of the Democratic Party passed the “Motor Voter Bill” of 1993, where one could more easily register to vote in the DMV.

The legislation was heavily attacked by Republicans, but that was until the following year, when the GOP secured 10 governors, numerous state houses, eight US Senate seats and 54 state House seats. -United.

But even a broken clock gives the right time twice a day, doesn’t it? What if it had happened at least three times?

In the 2009-2010 legislative session, the vast Democratic majority passed the Help America Vote Act, which was turned into a defense bill. This helped increase the franchise of Americans, especially those living overseas and those serving in the military.

In the next election in 2010, Republicans won a net six gubernatorial races, an overall gain of seven US Senate seats, as well as legislatures in 20 states and an incredible 63 seats in the US House of Representatives. United States. The party retained its legislative majority from 2012 to 2018.

About the GOP’s historic amnesia on voting rights | John L. Micek

One of the excuses given by lawmakers for opposing any extension of the franchise is that it will be so burdensome for states. First, states will be freed from their politicized role of finding excuses to block voters.

Any onus will be on the state to prove that the person cannot vote, rather than the onus on the individual to justify their right to vote. Since the GOP claims to support the rights of the individual against the power of the state, expanding voting rights fits the Republican ethos, unless that has also changed since 2016.

Second, for those who argue that only states have been in charge of elections (and only states should be), much key constitutional and legislative history is missing.

States still administer elections, but there are a number of constitutional amendments and statutes, upheld by a multitude of Supreme Court decisions, that restrict states’ ability to prevent Americans from voting (see Amendments 14 and 15, 19, 26, etc.).

If you care about the right to vote for Democrats and Republicans, contact your local representatives here and tell them to support HR4 and S2747. Here is a summary of the legislation.

Opinion contributor John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Georgia. His work occasionally appears on Capital-Star’s comments page. Readers can email him at [email protected], and follow him on Twitter at @JohnTures2.

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