By Anthony Lucero
Where will college students find themselves Nov. 6? The answer should be simple, the voting booth. This Election Day 2012 is as important, if not more, than any other before it. This election is not only about the black and white politics every presidential race is about, but this election is about upholding our democratic right to vote.
With the presidential race nearing its end there have been more and more attempts to create obstacles that would prevent citizens from casting their vote. New state regulations calling for new levels of identification in order to cast a vote have posed a threat to the number of those who can actually vote. These recent efforts put forth by swing states like Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania can prove to be the pivotal factor in the wining of these states. The reason behind these new regulations is to prevent “voter fraud”.
Voter fraud is a crime that is very much punishable. A common type of voter fraud occurs when individuals cast their ballots in spite of “knowing” that they are “unqualified” to vote and thus this is viewed as an attempt to defraud the electoral system. Another common type is individuals impersonating other voters at the poll. Now the word “common” can be very loosely interpreted here because these occurrences are as rare as getting struck by lighting.
A recent study by Justin Levitt, associate professor of law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, indicates that between the years 2000 and 2010, only 13 people were found guilty of impersonating someone else in order to vote in their name. The fact of the matter is that these laws are being placed and lobbied by biased groups and people for their “greater cause” to limit citizens from voting in order to get their man in office.
What is sickening about these boundaries being imposed is those who will be affected most will be minorities. Studies by the Black Youth Project, a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization, has shown that in the 17 states with these new laws, numbers in the range of 700,000 to a million minority youth voters could be turned away due to lack of valid ID. This doesn’t even count the rest of the youth or elderly, poor, disabled, even veteran voters that will be affected by these laws.
It’s horrendous to think that there are those willing to strip people of their country given right in order to win an election. It is for that very reason that this election is vital and that students do their part and exercise their right to vote.
It does not matter if the vote is a Republican vote or Democratic vote. It doesn’t even matter if it is for an independent. The point is that the vote is cast. For students who are not yet registered to vote, the deadline to register in New York is Oct. 12. Students can register online through http://www.vote.nyc.ny.us with a valid ID from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. Students will also find registration forms in their campus libraries up to the deadline, and will have librarians as a reference guide to help with any questions they might have about the form and how to vote.
If there are those who can stand in line for hours to buy that new gadget or gizmo, they can surely put the same effort to casting their vote. It is not the time to go backwards and allow for bias groups and people to deny Americans a right that so many of our fellow country men and women have sweat, fought and died to protect. For info on the polling place nearest you, search with the Online Poll Site Address Locator or Call the Voter Phone Bank at 1.866.VOTE.NYC, and remember don’t forget to vote