The Right To Vote
Must I remind you that the general election for the President of these United States takes place November 4, 2008? This is a very important election with historic implications. However, all elections are important, national and local. To be involved in the election process requires more than registering when someone comes along and ram a piece of paper in your face and ask you to sign up. The act of voting should be so important to the individual that, outside persuasion isn’t necessary. I hate to think the only time some of us thinks of voting is when someone of some outfit comes along and urge us to register and eventually vote. This voting thing is too important to be taken so lightly.The Declaration of Independence was authorized in 1776, followed by the Constitution drafted in 1787 and in 1791 the Bill of Rights was added.
Article one of the Constitution Of The United States was very specific in how Representatives were to be apportioned among the States which might be included within the Union. It stated the following: According to their respective Numbers of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, and three fifths of all other persons. Blacks were counted as three fifths of a person for apportionment purposes.
The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified December 6, 1865. This Amendment outlawed slavery and involuntary servitude. There is a stipulation where involuntary servitude is allowed in cases where an individual was duly convicted (serving time for a criminal infraction.)
The Fourteenth Amendment was ratified July 9, 1868. Section two of this amendment gives all males, regardless of race, over 21 years of age and in good standing in these United States the right to vote in national elections, including President, Vice President, Representatives in Congress, and the Executive and Judicial officers of a State or the members of the Legislature thereof. Under this Amendment, blacks were recognized as a whole person for apportion purposes. Most see this as the Equal Rights Amendment.
The Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution States the following: the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude.
Amendment Nineteen was ratified August 18, 1920. This Amendment states as follows: The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any other State on account of sex.
The Twenty-Sixth Amendment was ratified July,1 1971 and states the following; The right of citizens of The united States who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States of by any State on account of age.
What is the significance of all of the above?
I usually work the polls and one thing is painfully obviously, black women voters appear to outnumber males in my district. Young black males of voting age appear to be poorly represented. Fellows, black men were allowed to vote 52 years before women of any color were allowed the same right. Sure, there were barriers erected to disallow black men the vote under the Fourteenth Amendment. However, this did not dissuade many black men from going to the polls. Now that artificial barriers have been removed, one would think black men would flock to the polls, not only in National, but local elections as well. It makes little sense to get motivated once every four years, when local elections may have as much or even more impact on one’s daily life. What are we doing between National elections? Are we just sitting back and twiddling our thumbs and oblivious to what is taking place in local politics? Put down the remote, get off your butt and go vote!