Baraga Co. backs voter suppression

To the editor:

At the October meeting of the Baraga County Board, a resolution was passed in favor of limiting a citizen’s right to vote, which passed unanimously with one board member absent. It reads, “…no citizen shall be entitled to vote for a candidate seeking election to the House of Representatives unless said citizen shall have made a personal, net contribution to the United States Treasury in the years since the previous election for representatives.”

In a nutshell, if an individual needs public assistance to keep themselves or their family above water, and that assistance out sums what they paid in taxes; they shall be denied their right to vote. To abrogate one’s fundamental right to vote is tantamount to losing one’s citizenship. This resolution passed by the County Board in a moment of befuddlement can and should be viewed as a blatant attempt to suppress voter participation in order to manipulate election outcomes.

Starting in 2010 and ramped up in 2012 the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), bankrolled by billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, helped introduce legislative initiatives in 38 states designed to impede voters at every step of the electoral process.

Is big money from the likes of the Koch Brothers or the DeVos family behind this most recent effort to not only suppress the vote but deny it? Is it intended to disenfranchise the poor and decry them as unworthy of their legitimate rights as a citizen? We are all vulnerable to a life changing event that can permanently alter our lives and circumstance resulting in loss of independence, security and livelihood. To disenfranchise an individual because they need assistance to put food on the table or heat in their house is heartless and wrong.

The County Board’s resolution denies an individual of their most basic right as a citizen: the right to have an equal say in one’s own governance.

Moreover, what this resolution does is besmirch an individual’s self worth and dignity because they are in need of public assistance. Secondly, it’s a veiled attempt to prohibit a segment of the population who are likely to vote in opposition to the political agenda and interests of those who are attempting to suppress their vote.

We call upon the better angels of our county commissioners to have the courage upon reflection to rescind this shameful resolution. It’s not who we are.

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