- Jerrod Ferrari
It is time to make voting a birthright
By JERROD FERRARI
July 15, 2021
The Narrative Project
If you are born in the United States, you are a citizen and that right can not be taken from you. You don’t have to register for it, you don’t have to maintain it and you don’t have to update it when you move.
When you turn 18, you are automatically registered to fight to defend the United States by being enrolled in the selective service. If there is ever a draft again you need not do a thing… off to war you go.
You are born with the right to free speech. We don’t sign up for that constitutional right or have to reregister for it every so many years.
So why is it that you are not born with the right to vote? Why, when you turn 18, are you not automatically enrolled to vote? Why do you have to register for it (in some states still in person and not even online - looking at you Texas), update it, change it when you move, defend it and prove it over and over again?
There is only one reason: The system is constructed to limit access to voting to reduce the voice of those already suffering under restricted rights; predominantly black, brown and indigenous people.
As laws restricting voting access sweep conservative states of this nation, places like Connecticut are not immune to proposals seeking limited access to the polls. These laws limiting voting access have not just appeared in the Jim Crow South, but in places like Ohio and Wisconsin.
I am heartened Connecticut swung the other way in this last legislative session and opened up voting rights, pushing against the trend and giving rights back unjustly taken rights. But inching back isn’t enough. The right - not the privilege - to vote should be universal.
Australia is a representative democracy and they have mandatory voting. Do we need that? I don’t think so. Many feel the current system doesn’t represent them and they have the right to not vote if they choose.
If we are automatically registered for military service when we turn 18 we can automatically enroll people to vote. If we can enroll someone to kill on behalf of this country we have the technology to put them on the voter rolls.
Several constitutional amendments (the Fifteenth, Nineteenth, and Twenty-sixth) require that voting rights of citizens cannot be abridged on account of race, color, previous condition of servitude, sex, or age (18 and older). It is sad to think these identity-based requirements had to be written in order to prevent discrimination under the law, but these explicit bylines exist for just the reason we are seeing now. We shall see how the lawsuit brought by the Biden administration bares out against Georgia’s new harsh, racist voting restrictions. It is don’t these amendments will play a role.
The American Heritage Foundation has long fought to restrict voting access and has been recorded saying the more citizens that vote the worse it would be for the systematical racist system that exists in this country. Read: It would be bad for white, wealthy folks running the show.
This is the same group that most recently bragged about writing voting legislation that is helping to remove citizens’ rights to vote in 2021.
The system wants to make it harder for you to vote so that you don’t. Because if you do, the system loses.
It is time to change the system.
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About Jerrod Ferrari
Jerrod Ferrari, an Account Manager for The Narrative Project, migrated from a 20-year career in journalism to a life beyond the fourth estate in 2018. An award-winning journalist, Jerrod brings a strong connection to the community, excellent journalistic credentials, and a passion for making an impact and doing his part to bring change. He was the youngest managing editor in Connecticut, running the newsroom of The Norwalk Hour and two sibling publications. Under his direction, The Hour won numerous journalism awards, launched a series of investigative projects, and built lasting trust as a publication focused on community journalism. Jerrod is a “40 under 40” award winner from the Fairfield County Business Journal, a frequent media debate panelist, interviewing Connecticut candidates for governor and U.S. Senate, and a regular guest on local political talk shows. He lives with his two children in Bridgeport where they are active members of the community.