By State Representative, Leon D. Young
To say that elections have consequences would indeed be a flagrant understatement. As we have seen all too often, the current occupant of the White House is clearly ill-equipped for the high office and poses a real threat to both the health and safety of the nation.
The 2018 midterms are rapidly working their way toward a conclusion. In less than a week, we should finally know who will control the House of Representatives (although if the outcome is close, it could take weeks to finish counting ballots in California).
Fearful of a possible blue wave of angry Democratic voters, Republicans are trying their best to suppress voter turnout. It’s no secret: a light voter turnout significantly increases the chances of Republicans being elected. Hence, election officials, across the country have closed thousands of polling places and reduced the number of workers staffing them in recent years, citing cost savings and other new realities like increased early and absentee balloting.
However, just days from what many expect will be one of the busiest midterm elections in decades, the burden of Americans’ shrinking access to in-person voting options is falling more heavily on urban areas and minority voters. And, voting rights advocates say the disappearance of polling sites could create confusion about where to vote, and thinner staffing of remaining sites could mean longer lines.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump has been doing his part to stir up his base for the crucial midterm election. Trump continues to crisscross the country holding campaign rally after rally, in hopes rally support for the GOP. In typical Trump fashion, Trump has resorted to familiar themes: accusing the media of sowing division and stoking fears about illegal immigration.
The president implores rally-goers to vote and paints a dark picture of the stakes, telling the crowd that if Democrats take control of Congress, they will raise taxes and open the country’s borders to illegal drugs and immigration, including the Central American migrants traveling through Mexico and seeking asylum in the U.S. And, without offering any shred of evidence, Trump continues to assert his bogus claim that Democrats “want to bring caravan after caravan into our country.”
Make no mistake, Republicans have erected numerous impediments to suppress the vote: Closing polling places in communities of color, purging eligible voters from the rolls without their knowledge, voter ID laws, barring felons from voting, and eliminating early voting. With that being said, there is too much at stake not to vote. Our Democratic institutions and principles are literally under attack. Send Trump and his cohorts a clear and convincing message: your political reign of terror has come to an end.
It’s imperative that you exercise your right — Vote!