ROSE NOLEN: One person, one vote — no matter the race, color or creed

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:50 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, April 23, 2014

When I was a little girl, an older woman once told me she had to ask permission from her boss in order to vote.

I never forgot it. When I was old enough to go to the polls, I was always afraid that someone would tell me I couldn't vote.

That never happened. So, every year I made it to the polls. It really never occurred to me, until lately, that I needed to get concerned about casting my vote.

Unfortunately, some places have had to open polls on Sundays or remain open late in the day for all citizens to be able to cast their votes.

Since this happens in larger cities, black people — many of whom do not have cars — have begun to organize themselves in groups to go to the polls. Some go on Sundays after church or other times that are convenient with their other activities.

Since African-Americans seem to vote in blocs, this has created a matter of concern for other Americans who have chosen to pass rules and regulations to close the polls on certain days and at certain hours to prevent African-Americans from voting at alternate times.

Americans often say they want everyone to vote. In this case, they want everyone to vote on certain dates and at certain times. If these times and dates are not suitable for some folks, that is too bad.

Whatever tactics are employed, one thing is clear to some of us: African-Americans will ultimately vote. We can only wonder what gave these people the idea that they could stopus.

I hope to see the day when people will realize that doing the right thing by all groups of Americans is simply the right thing to do.

We will save time and energy by doing the right thing first. That way, we will avoid having to go to court or do any of the other millions of undesirable things we will encounter if we fail.

Years down the road, looking back at our history, we will undoubtedly be amazed at the number of years we have spent trying to keep people from fulfilling their own destinies.

Give a little, give a lot.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 573-882-5734 or emailing her at

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John Schultz April 15, 2014 | 2:29 p.m.

I think I'm going to have to ask for some evidence of people trying to close the polls on certain day and hours. I can't think of a specific law that would shorten the hours a poll is open on Election Day, nor reduce the number of days that the polls are open (currently one in Missouri, of course).

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 15, 2014 | 4:04 p.m.

I was just going to ask the same thing.

I've never heard of an election on Sunday, either.


(Report Comment)
Skip Yates April 15, 2014 | 5:01 p.m.

I think Rose is about to beat Roseman and Robertson as the Missourian Columnist of the Year.....

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 15, 2014 | 7:01 p.m.

Rose, you might find it interesting that in Latin America and much of Europe it is traditional to hold elections on Sunday. So unless one works on Sundays, there's no need to ask for time off to vote. Those who have religious convictions (like Catholics, and those bad boy Lutherans) typically go to church and then have brunch, and then go to the polls, which are also open Sunday morning. Nothing like voting Sunday morning, while suffering from a hangover!

Where you will notice this fact on American TV is that often on the Sunday network news one item will be the results of an election held in, say, Germany, France, Argentina or Brazil.

I still remember that in 1973 I was working in Buenos Aires when Juan Peron, RUNNING ON A TICKET WITH HIS SECOND WIFE (not Evita, who was long since dead) was elected president after having been in exile in Spain since the 1950s. A bunch of us (the others were Argentines) were at a restaurant (it was early spring in the Southern Hemisphere, where seasons are reversed). It was a warm day, and we were at an outdoor restaurant, snarfing steak cuts and sausages, a typical Argentine "mixed grill."

Peron won the election; the "Peronistas" celebrated until dawn on Monday.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 16, 2014 | 7:58 a.m.

PS: To complete recent Argentine history, shortly after Juan Peron was elected, he died. I'd been working there before the election and was shocked at his appearance on Argentine TV: he looked like a waking dead man. He would have been at least in his 70s. Upon his death, his second wife, as vice president, assumed the presidency.

Wife #2 was a blond airhead; what we would call a "trophy wife." In a matter of months a military junta was ruling Argentina, with her as a front; it wasn't long before they quit that pretence and "retired" her.

There followed nearly a decade of repression for Jews and for Gentiles who were opposed to the junta. These folks are still known as the "Disappeared," which is exactly what happened to them. A person might leave home to go to work and never be seen again. Bodies?, Can't find 'em. I've seen estimates of at least 6,000. Argentina has a long and disgraceful history of anti-Semitism.

As military juntas sometimes do, that one finally screwed up: in an effort to drum up popular domestic support they invaded the Falkland Islands (this was also popular with most Latin American governments, who think the islands should belong to Argentina).

The Brits were NOT amused! Her Majesty and Mrs. Thatcher promptly sent the Royal Navy and Royal Marines to kick butt*. The junta, not surprisingly, collapsed in Argentina.

Since then Argentines have returned to democracy - and their endless political squabbles; the current president is a woman named Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (meaning her family name is Fernandez and her husband's family name is Kirchner). If Kirchner sounds German, it probably is: Argentina has a large Italian and German (descent) population. Ms. Kirchner seems to be perpetually in and out of political trouble, but nobody calls her stupid: she is probably the most talented Argentine politician, male or female, since Evita Peron.

*-What about the Monroe Doctrine? The Monroe Doctrine excluded Brit and European posessions already there at the time. Most of those countries are now independent, except French Guiana. The Brits and Dutch pulled up stakes during the 20th century. For example, Belize, Guyana and Surinaime are independent countries today.

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