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Columbia Missourian

FROM READERS: Marching for voting rights

By STEVEN ANTHONY/MISSOURIAN READER
August 25, 2013 | 6:03 p.m. CDT

Wednesday will mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. This article is part of a Missourian project that invites people from the community to share what they would march for today. 

Steven Anthony is a junior studying journalism at MU.

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There is one issue in politics where I will not compromise whatsoever. It is what I'm writing about today and it is what I would march for today: the fundamental right to vote.

It is astonishing how eerily similar the issue of voting rights is today as it was 50 years ago. The South, which I call home, is still discriminating against racial minorities, but it's not poll taxes and literacy tests this time; rather, it's by imposing onerous Voter ID laws. Those laws go against the very foundation about which is the subject of 3 amendments to the U.S. Constitution and what so many people died for 50 years ago: the fundamental human right to cast a vote.

Let's face the facts here. In 2010, Republicans took control of a majority of state legislatures across the country, especially in the South, and they have made it their mission to make it harder to vote for students, racial minorities, and the elderly. Those are the three groups who are less likely to have a government issued photo ID. Minutes after the Supreme Court gutted Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, my home state of Texas began implementing itsunconstitutional Voter ID law. Soon after, a slew of other states followed suit. And recently, North Carolina passed the most restrictive voter ID law in the nation that eliminates same-day registration, cuts the number of early voting days in half, and consolidates many precincts into one area where thousands of people will stand in line for hours just to cast their vote.

What does it say about America that the same issues we were going through 50 years ago are still happening today? Yes, the methods of restricting the vote are much less violent, but that doesn't excuse what is happening. It is beyond shameful that this country, which claims to have come so far since August 1963, has people in it that make it their mission to deny others their right to the ballot box.

Tell us: What would you march for today? Your answer can take the form of a short or longer written response, a photo of yourself holding your response written on a piece of paper, or a photo or a video showing what you would march for. Submit your answers by emailing us at submissions@ColumbiaMissourian.com, posting on our Facebook wall, or using the hashtag #CoMoMarch on Twitter or Instagram.