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Thank a Democrat for the National Voters Registration Act

Updated: Aug 3, 2021

by J. Michael Atherton

Mike Atherton’s “Thank a Democrat” series focuses on the many ways Democrats work to support the American people.

The Republicans love to suppress votes. The reason for Republican anti-voting bias is that they fear one-person, one-vote. The fear is well-founded because in a one-person, one-vote election, they would lose. Since Republican operatives know this, they have been busy little beavers working hard to suppress the vote any way they can.

A favorite Republican voter suppression gambit was to require a literacy test. Can’t read well enough for Republicans? Then just shut up. When the Court declared literacy tests unconstitutional, Republicans regrouped and schemed on. They attacked voting on a long-term, systematic, coordinated, and national effort. In this way they hoped to fulfill their long-term goal: legally allow an elite few to run this country. The Federal government, however, was not about to sit back and let them reign terror on citizens’ right to vote.

In 1993 the National Voters Registration Act (NVRA) opened voting so more citizens could have a say in how we are governed. NVRA allowed voter registration at the same time you got a drivers’ license. It supported early voting and absentee voting both of which Republicans fear and despise. The NVRA does not affect New Hampshire because when it was enacted our state had (1) no voter registration restrictions, and (2) election day voter registration at the polling place. Unfortunately, this should not give Granite Staters cause to be smug. We live in a state saturated with anti-voter Republicans as well as a nation where a well-financed party seeks power through denying citizens their right to vote. If you abandon reasoned argumentation in politics, then voter suppression must be attractive.

Doubt this? How to explain Georgia’s law that criminalizes the offer of food or water to a person in a voting line even if they had been in Georgia heat for 10 hours? The law is not humane. It does not insure a free and fair election. In fact, it actively discourages voting. Republican legislators knew that hot and hungry people may not stick it out to vote when they hastily enacted this law. But enact it they did despite national opposition.

The NVRA helps insure that citizens can vote. A simple proposition but a cornerstone of our nation. If you want citizens to participate in our government and not leave governing to the Republicans elite, then Thank a Democrat.


About the author

Mike has retired from 30 years of teaching philosophy after 20 years of teaching a variety of subjects from elementary to graduate school. Four years in the Peace Corps in Swaziland (now Eswatini), followed by marriage, first child, and PhD all at the University of Chicago. Moved to Southwest Pennsylvania where wife Cynthia Walter taught ecology and he taught philosophy while they raised two daughters. Moved to Dover in 2019 to be near their two grandsons in Maine. He has consistently found the Dems to be a group that publicly and privately follows their stated values: compassion, honesty, integrity, respect the dignity of all people, expanded freedom, responsible citizenship, promoting civil society, and protecting our environment.

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