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It’s the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act and sadly, it’s no time to celebrate. Ambassador Andrew Young says that vote suppression remains a problem despite the historic legislation to prevent it.

“It is under fire. It’s more than the Voting Rights Act. Now I think it’s bad if not worse in Ohio, New Jersey, Michigan and Pennsylvania as it is in the South. They are trying to suppress the vote of  senior citizens, Black people and young people. You can vote with a gun license but you can’t vote with a student ID card. They have all kinds of efforts to keep us down,” Young said.

On the eve of tonight’s Republican presidential debate, Young says that some changes have been made as there is more awareness of the problem. But he also says that if you can get 5% of a vote in any district you can swing the election to your candidate. Unfortunately, people have to remain vigilant to ensure elections are fair, because Young does not believe the candidates will even discuss it.

“This needs to remind us that freedom is a constant struggle. And we have to be in every battle. We can’t let anybody or anything turn us around. The Drum Major Institute, which is one of the groups that spun off from Martin Luther King’s efforts in New York, we’ve been trying to fight voter ID and voter suppression. Even the  [timing] of voting – I think it’s Chris Rock that said if you want to have a party and have nobody come have it on a Tuesday in November.

The thing that worries me is that if Russia and China and rogues from all over the world can crack into our security system, what’s to stop them from cracking into our voter registration files and our voting turnout. Voting the way we do it is 100 years old. I think Congress ought to take a really good look at how to fashion an all-inclusive voting system. Because democracy does work. The best ideas in this country have come from the bottom.”

With presidential elections getting less votes than American Idol finalists, it might be time to consider something like other countries do, which is to fine citizens who don’t vote. But Young says that even if you don’t get personally charged, you pay the price of not voting.

“You get fined in the U.S. But the way you get fined is them sacrificing the money for your children’s education. Your streets don’t get attention. Your garbage doesn’t get picked up,” Young says.

After years of civil rights activism and political activism, Young is still hopeful.

“They have thrown everything at us that they could think of from slavery on. But we have prevailed because, as Dr. Martin Luther King says, right conquers might,” Young says. “Evil cannot permanently organize because it has within it the seeds of its own destruction. We’ve been able to survive in this country and we’ve had more influence on this world than anybody can imagine. There wouldn’t be a U.N. without Ralph Bunche. It has happened largely because the people on the bottom are the ones who are in need most and we are the one’s most likely to influence change that will help everybody. We don’t have the Affordable Care Act in Georgia and it’s costing us $14 billion dollars because the Governor wouldn’t sign it.”

As for the currently leading Republican candidate, Donald Trump, Young says he kind of likes him.

“At least he’s letting you know what the game is,” Young laughs. “It’s the sneaking ones you’ve got to watch.”

Click the link above to hear the entire interview.

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8 thoughts on “Ambassador Andrew Young Discusses The 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act And Voter Supression

  1. Whatever it takes, make sure that you can vote in 2016. If the GOP wins, it’s because they topped what they did in 2000. Whatever the ‘haters’ throw at us to keep from voting, make sure that you can run over it and vote.

  2. it’s also about the gerrymandering of local districts so many of these GOP politicians now have “safe” districts in which they can be assured that they won’t be primaried and are able to obtain and maintain majorities in state legislatures that pass these types of laws

    • you mean how Ted Kennedy (now deceased), Nancy Polosi, Barbara Boxer Democrats whose districts are as safe as Fort Knox

  3. October and Linda,
    The two of you are ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!

    The Voting Rights Act should not be an issue! It should not have to be renewed!

    It seems as though we always have to fight for what should be legally ours! We are not new to this Country so we should be treated with the respect we RIGHTFULLY deserve!

    As stated, we have already paid for the right yet we still have to jump through loop after loop while others are allowed to pay nothing.

    I never miss a chance to cast my ballot. As stated, our ancestors have ALREADY paid for that right and no one or anything should keep us from exercising that right.

    I too have been voting since eligibility and by being an avid voter, I have been able to gain from it and they know this and that is the very reason they want to take it away from us.

  4. October on said:

    Every immigrant that comes to this country, becomes a citizen and has the right to vote. Why is it that we, AA’s, whose ancestors not only built this country but through non-paid labor , bought great wealth to a great many, need the act of Congress to vote? We should not need to have this issue resolved.

  5. Linda on said:

    Just as the Texas voting rights laws were just overturned-they all need to be!

    it is no coincidence that all of these Voting Rights Laws were suddenly implemented after President Obama came into office. The GOP could not stand to see so many minorities vote for him not once but TWICE.

    These bogus laws are just another way of stifling our right to vote!
    Denying others their right to vote is not what a so called DEMOCRACY is all about!

    Funny how white folks always want to change the rules when they see others winning!!!!!!!

    Since my ancestors fought and died for this right, I always exercise my right to vote and will put some knots upside any one’s head who gets in my way in the 21st century!!!!!!

    • No one has been denied the right to vote in the 21st century are you saying blacks are too inept to get ID’s where required? you need one to fly on a plane drive a car and truthfully leave your house did you know a 2013 poll found that 60 % of Democrats favored voter ID? and if only minorities had voted for Obama heed still be a junior Senator from IL

      • It has been all over the news that MANY people – young, old, disabled, vets etc – have been denied their right to vote in this Century. MORE than 10,000 cases have been filed.

        Black as well as others is just as competent as anyone else to obtain ID’s but there seemed to be a problem after Obama became president. By law, college students are able to vote using their student ID’s but many have been denied that right. I suppose they should take their cases to the Supreme Court just to receive a right that is already theirs.(?) That darn Obama screwed it up for everyone!

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