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The Appalachian

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Voting rights must be considered human rights

Voting rights must be considered human rights

If you were born in the United States of America, Congratulations! You have rights.

Unfortunately, it seems like we are still trying to figure out how they work.

Perhaps some of the most pervasive rights movements in American history have been that of voting rights, which have come in the form of social movements on the basis of race, sex and socioeconomic status. Most recently, there have been the controversial voter ID laws, which many might argue resurrect the previously mentioned battles.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is now bringing voting rights for incarcerated individuals to the attention of the nation, according to CBS News.

There are 11 states that restrict voting rights entirely for individuals with past convictions, which ultimately eliminate almost six million Americans from voting, according to the Department of Justice.

Speaking of justice, is it fair that there are post-incarceration punishments?

No.

And it makes just as little sense when we note that the voting rights battle has been a tug-of-war for more than 200 years. As if the people that were voted into office weren’t controversial enough, we can’t even decide on who should vote.

Keep it simple and let everybody vote. We have at our disposal a principle of democracy that we have shared with the world, but yet we can’t work out the kinks in our own system.

Billionaire Tom Perkins said at a conference in San Francisco that voting should be based on how much you pay in taxes. For example, someone who doesn’t pay taxes doesn’t vote and somebody that pays $1 million in taxes should have their vote counted one million times, according to CNN.

Paying for your vote to count isn’t the right plan to let democracy flourish.

Do the poor, minority groups, women or younger generations not vote the correct way? Any vote is better than no vote at all.

That is the beauty of our democracy. If everybody is allowed to play, nobody can lose.

Voting rights should be a non-issue if they truly are going to be considered rights.

I applaud Holder for his tireless effort to restore the integrity of voting rights by challenging ID laws and the restrictions against individuals with a criminal past.

It appears that we have a long way to go, but our core principles of democracy are in need of forward-moving steps.

Dewey Mullis, a junior criminal justice major from Wallburg, is an opinion writer.

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