On “the right of the people…to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
I wonder how many people (especially the whiny sore losers posting petitions to secede) appreciate just how magnificent a document our Constitution is. The First Amendment is a particular gem:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
It is with the ‘petition the Government for a redress of grievances’ I want to get into here. The White House website has a petition website for precisely that purpose. They range from the sensible to the inane to the insane, but that’s the nature of the public commons.
Anyway, they recommend that the title complete this sentence: “We Petition the Obama Administration To…” so I did:
Take further steps against voter suppression
Since 2000, there has been a rise in voter suppression tactics across the nation.
Caging lists are used to purge legitimate voters from the system, often only on the basis of a single piece of returned mail. These lists frequently target districts that are minority, or have a history of favoring one party over the other.
Voter ID laws are being passed across the country, ostensibly to prevent voter fraud. However, a recent study has determined that in-person voter fraud is an essentially non-existent problem, with only ten cases since 2000 out of approximately 600,000,000 votes cast across the country.
The negative effects of voter ID laws are expected to fall disproportionately heavily on minority voters, especially if there is a fee to receive the ID card. Since this constitutes a fee in order to vote, this is unconstitutional under the 24th Amendment.
We the undersigned ask the government to do the following:
- Constitutionally challenge voter ID laws which levy any fee of any kind
- Vigorously enforce the anti-caging provisions of the National Voter Registration Act
- Explore setting minimum national standards for voting with regard to ballot types, accessibility, and especially with regard to certification of voting machines
- Require that the software on voting machines used in federal elections be open source, so that the process is wholly transparent and less open to manipulation
- Mandate that paper ballots should be available upon voter request
- Designate Election Day a federal holiday, or commit to a Constitutional amendment moving Election Day to a Saturday or Sunday, perhaps the first Saturday after the first Monday in November, which would retain the current range of Nov. 2-8. No one should have to choose between their job and their right to vote.
We believe that the problems with democracy can only be solved by more democracy.
This was the full version I wrote up — there is, however, an 800 character limit so the actual text was abbreviated. I have posted my petition here; whether it reaches 25,000 in the time frame given, I don’t know. I can but hope.