Orbiting Dicta

Vote Suppression: The Death of Democracy?

First came the devastating Supreme Court decision called “Citizens United” in 2010 which opened the floodgates of vast fortunes and enabled billionaire oligarchs and corporations to influence, not to say determine, elections throughout the nation.

Next came the gutting of the 1965 Voting Rights Act in 2013 by a 5-4 decision, especially because of the advocacy of the late Justice, Antonin Scalia, but a special victory for Chief Justice John Roberts. Unsurprisingly the voter suppression that followed in many states especially targeted citizens of color, the poor, and the elderly.  Instead of making it easier to vote and encouraging more people to exercise their rights and duties as citizens, within five years tens of thousands of voters were stricken from the registers, nearly a thousand polling places were closed, and because of Congressional resistance the US continues to hold national elections in particular on a regular work day rather than on weekends, as is the case throughout the free world, making it even more difficult for ordinary working people to vote.

Largely enabled if not encouraged by the woeful Citizens United decision, meddling in our elections by Russian and possibly other foreign nationals has become a major concern as well. In the meantime, the voting pattern of the United States remains in the lowest tier in the so-called free world. During the 2014-16 nationwide elections in 32 industrialized nations, the U.S. placed 26th, alarmingly close to the bottom of the pile.  [http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/05/21/u-s-voter-turnout-trails-most-developed-countries/]

It could be argued that the United States of America was the founding nursery of modern democracy.  If present trends continue, it may also be its cemetery.