Protecting the Right to Vote Can Lead to Great Things

Last Friday night, New York stepped up and passed the same-sex marriage bill, which nearly led my Facebook account to crash. One Facebooker appropriately commented, “This is the best thing to happen to weddings since Earth, Wind & Fire.”

While this was a historic moment for New York, it is incumbent upon us to take a few steps back and realize that safeguarding an individual’s right to vote is a paramount policy issue, which is currently being attacked in various states nationwide via the passage of various voter ID bills. Under the guise of combating mythical, voter fraud, these voter ID bills impose stringent requirements to keep minorities, the elderly, and students from the poll booths.

However, states such as North Carolina keep us hopeful that voter ID legislation will be struck down, or at the very least challenged. Last Thursday, North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue (D) vetoed a strict voter ID bill; overturning his veto would require the votes of several House Democrats, which seems highly unlikely. Kudos to North Carolina.

Although a similar bill was unfortunately passed in Maine last week, political groups have since gathered to rally, seeking to collect 52,777 signatures from constituents by August 8 in order to repeal the law using a vehicle called the citizen’s veto. It is this sort of activism that paves the way for great things down the road, such as same-sex marriage. Start small. Think big.

Currently, we are waiting with baited breath to see what happens in Rhode Island, which could potentially be the first Democratic state to pass such legislation. A decision is expected by the end of the week. For a comprehensive update on the status of various Voter ID laws check out the Fair Election Legal Network's update , click here.