Voters should be able to exercise that right
Michael Kearns’ Sept. 1 letter asks, “Who doesn’t have the right to vote?” Not every U.S. citizen of voting age who is not a convicted felon has the right to vote.
First, people must also be registered to vote. Second, since states determine voting laws, many now allow convicted felons to vote.
Third, ”idiots marching for voter rights” want everyone who has the right to vote to be able to exercise that right. It’s worthless without access to the ballot box.
After Black people were given the right to vote, many states—largely in the South—established criteria to determine who could vote. Some kept newly-freed slaves from voting by requiring them to pass such tests as reciting the Preamble to the Constitution or accurately guessing the number of beans in a jar. They had the right, but no access to do so.
Only after passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act in 1965 were many minorities able to vote.
Native Americans were given full citizenship in 1870, but it took a federal law (the Snyder Act) in 1924 to enable them to vote. It took over 40 years for all 50 states to bestow their right to vote.
Today, some states have passed laws that again aim to prevent minorities from voting, such as shutting down polling places in minority areas so that voting takes hours and may be impossible for those without transportation; accepting gun licenses but not school IDs as acceptable voter IDs; shortening poll hours; or making mail-in voting very difficult or even impossible.