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January 27, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Voting guaranteed under Constitution

Another view?

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I had to read Bob Valentine’s letter, “Welfare recipients shouldn’t vote,” twice before I realized he is serious in his contention that people receiving public assistance should lose their right to vote.

Let’s take his idea to the next level and require these “parasites” wear a scarlet “W” on their clothing so everyone knows who they are. Also, since they don’t pay property taxes, their kids shouldn’t be allowed to attend public schools. Let them fend for themselves.

Apparently, people who receive assistance from the government aren’t smart enough to vote on issues, as according to Valentine, “Those kinds of voters are likely to vote for candidates based on looks or feelings and not on the issues.” How insulting.

I can only surmise that Valentine would include unemployed people, seniors receiving Social Security, military veterans attending school on the GI Bill, students relying on Pell Grants and other government-guaranteed loans, and disabled people who receive government assistance.

Voting is a right guaranteed under our Constitution, and regardless of what he and others might believe, it is a right that cannot be suspended simply because of a citizen’s financial status or because of how they might vote for.

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  1. Recipients of Welfare payments I assume mean those receiving jobless benefits, food stamps and Medicaid assistance. Let's not get carried away with Social Security and Medicare,both of which are actually paid for by recipients. In any event voting rights are a constitutional right.
    I assumed the original letter author was trying to make a point, that being that since 100 million Americans are on Welfare that they are beholden to a candidate who is promoting welfare as a life style. That's President Obama. One must admit, that such a candidate pretty much has a lock on those voters in an election.In this respect the Great Redistribution becomes the Great Vote Getting Machine for Obama. This is the same problem that Mitt Romney was attempting to express ,although incorrectly, in his secretly taped video. He was merely saying that people on Federal assistance were not people who were likely to vote for him. He is correct. Nonetheless, the Obama campaign twisted Romney's statement into accusing Romney of saying that he would not represent those people if elected president. He never did say that. Another piece of misinformationfrom the Obama campaign. That's politics as they say!

  2. Following Mr. Valentine's argument:

    We should also divest those who give millions to PACs because they would likely vote for the candidate who will protect their interests and wealth!

    While we're at it, we should require IQ tests before anyone can vote, get a driver's license, or run for public office. (We can add more situations as it suits us.)

  3. Letter writer is wrong. There is no Constitutional right to vote. Although people believe there is. There are amendments describing who cannot be disenfranchised from voting. These amendments were added over time and not part of the the original document. States have the authority, except as dictated by the amendments, to establish rules for voting.


  4. I don't agree with removing people's ability to vote because they are on public assistance. However, states have the right to decide who can vote and set requirements, as long as they do not conflict with the Constitution and amendments that cover voting.

    The letter writer needs to review the Constitution and Amendments.


  5. An elaboration below on the Constitution and voting which affirms what Carmine and Michael have said above.The Constitution does not guarantee voting rights to Welfare recipients in an election for POTUS if I read this correctly. I assume any attempt to exclude would be challenged as being discriminatory under the Constitution.

    The Right To Vote

    The Constitution contains many phrases, clauses, and amendments detailing ways people cannot be denied the right to vote. You cannot deny the right to vote because of race or gender. Citizens of Washington DC can vote for President; 18-year-olds can vote; you can vote even if you fail to pay a poll tax. The Constitution also requires that anyone who can vote for the "most numerous branch" of their state legislature can vote for House members and Senate members.

    Note that in all of this, though, the Constitution never explicitly ensures the right to vote, as it does the right to speech, for example. It does require that Representatives be chosen and Senators be elected by "the People," and who comprises "the People" has been expanded by the aforementioned amendments several times. Aside from these requirements, though, the qualifications for voters are left to the states. And as long as the qualifications do not conflict with anything in the Constitution, that right can be withheld. For example, in Texas, persons declared mentally incompetent and felons currently in prison or on probation are denied the right to vote. It is interesting to note that though the 26th Amendment requires that 18-year-olds must be able to vote, states can allow persons younger than 18 to vote, if they chose to. End Quote

  6. Let's cut to the chase here about voting. There are conservatives who would like to restrict the vote of people who are less likely to support conservative views. There are progressives who would like to see no requirement to vote because that would increase voters that tend to vote progressive.

    While all of the above is true, I see absolutely nothing wrong with a state deciding that the people in their state must show a picture ID to vote. This is a state decision and the Federal government should stay out of it.


  7. @Michael,...." I see absolutely nothing wrong with a state deciding that the people in their state must show a picture ID to vote. This is a state decision and the Federal government should stay out of it."

    However enforcing the Constitution is the business of the federal government, and so far, I haven't seen a single state propose a voter ID law that does not run contrary to the 1st, 14th and 24th Amendments.

    And since the Constitution doesn't forbid it, a State could extend the right to vote to any and all individuals residing within its borders, including those not here legally. Something tells me that if a state did this you would suddenly forget your affection for State's rights.

  8. Mr. Valentine's letter to the editor expressing his views that people on welfare should not be able to vote.It also has been pointed out by others that we should bring this up for debate and let the Americans decide.

    People who are on welfare, most of them don't want to be on it.But are in great need of some help.Taking away one's voting rights is another low blow at cutting away at one's selfesteem.Why bring it up?

  9. Mr. Eismine:

    Not quite. Please go back and read/reread my post. Note I specifically mention Amendments added to the Constitution to preempt disenfranchisement of voting by people who fall into protected categories. Such is the 19th Amendment which specifically says women can't be denied the vote.


  10. "Why bring it up?"

    Mr. Pizzo: Freedom of speech, First Amendment right. Most important freedom of all to our Founders and Framers. Made number one with all the others following.


  11. bghs1986 (Bghs Nineteeneightysix),

    No actually, I would not agree with a state decision to allow illegal immigrants to vote, but I would advocate for that to be settled at the state level, as I would for voter ID laws... if they don't run contrary to the Constitution and Amendments. Some have and they should be struck down. Others have not and should be left intact. The problem is that one political party wants few if any requirements for voting because that benefits them. The other party does want some requirements because that benefits them. I happen to believe that showing ID to vote is a reasonable step.

    There is something to be said for the uniformity Federal decisions impose, and there is a place for them. However, we have strayed far away from the concept of the states being a laboratory for new ways of doing things.

    We don't live in a country where if one doesn't like the laws and government in Wisconsin for instance, one cannot move to New York, or anywhere else for that matter. We could use less uniformity and more choice in the states.


  12. Mr. Pizzo: The First Amendment:

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."


  13. Now of course there are restrictions to freedom of speech. Pornography, incitement posing imminent danger. But these are not moot to the the discussion here. We're talking about a person's right, Mr. Valentine, to say that voting should be restricted to those who are not on Federal doles and hand outs. Now you may think that the mere suggestion of this is despicable and heinous, but nevertheless it is protected by the First Amendment right of unabridged speech, whether you agree or not.


  14. Bernard Shaw wrote: "Whoever robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul." These people who are generations of welfare recipients, who have baby after baby out of wedlock because they get paid for them, who have made dependence on government a way of life, found out early on that they can vote themselves goodies from the public treasury, so on it goes.

  15. wtplv - "However, states have the right to decide who can vote and set requirements"

    As in Jim Crow laws?

  16. Mr.Pizzo:"Freedom of speech, The first Amendment right".

    That's exactly what I was doing,exercising my First Amendment right.Thanks for reminding of my right to do so.

  17. @ wtplv..."I would advocate for... voter ID laws... if they don't run contrary to the Constitution and Amendments."

    But any law requiring a photo to vote will force many eligible voters to choose between their religious beliefs (Protected by the 1st Amendment) and their right to vote. And since the framers didn't place the word "OR" between the Amendments they never intended us to choose one right over the other.

    It would be akin to stating only non-gun owners could vote, so choose between owning a gun or casting your vote.

  18. By bghs1986 (Bghs Nineteeneightysix),

    What do these people who have religious beliefs do when they need or want to fly, or need or want to enter a building that requires ID? What do they do when applying for a job or a security clearance where a picture ID is required.

    As you may or may not know, most airlines have instituted protocols that are put in place when someone doesn't have ID. It can be a pain in the neck but you are able to board the flight. I would do something similar to handle people who wanted to vote but had no ID.

    Let's face it, two sides want what they want for all the 'wrong' reasons. One side can come up with good as well as bogus reasons to support what they want. So can the other side. Asking people to prove they are who they say they are is not unreasonable, especially if you allow work arounds that still protect the integrity of the process.

    I understand those that really want to stifle the vote will not like any work arounds and I understand that people who want no restrictions to open up the vote no matter what, will brook no requirements. Both views are unreasonable and bogus.


  19. Vernos,

    Come On... are we going to make the foolish argument that only states make bad laws? Any entity making laws will make good ones and bad ones and that includes state and federal governments. Just gaze at Congress if you doubt me. We have come to this totally foolish belief that the federal government knows best. There is a mountain of evidence to the contrary out there. The federal government is no better than the states at making laws... they are both made up of human beings...fallible human beings.

    So, I guess your argument is this: If we remove the all powerful, all knowing hand of the federal government and allow states to require ID to vote, we will go back to the old Jim Crow laws... Really?


  20. States that require ID to vote, under laws passed by their state governments, should make every effort to ensure that the people who need said ID, are afforded every opportunity to obtain ID. Either by mail, or personal appearance, with appropriate documents (not always available). These folks should be allowed to vote. Although the number of citizens lacking appropriate ID is shrinking, it is a fact that all of the states suddenly requiring photo ID to vote, are controlled by GOP governors/or legislatures. This has never before been an issue until this election. The racist tones are evident, and race does play a role in elective politics. The GOP is the party of white folks, pure and simple. If they can curtail people of color from voting, than of course, it benefits their chances in the coming election. This shall not stand. Obama will win reelection despite the efforts of the GOP.

  21. I don't want to start any "name calling" concerning Bob Valentine's belief that those on public assistance should not be able to vote, but I will note that his opinion is one truly worthy of ridicule.

  22. The Democrat party can't accept voter I'd laws. I mean how can they validate all of those ballots they keep finding in the trunks of their cars, when their candidate is behind in the ballot counts?

  23. "That's exactly what I was doing,exercising my First Amendment right.Thanks for reminding of my right to do so."

    My pleasure. The right is not granted just to those who say and post what we agree with, but those who say and post what we disagree with too.

    That's what Chick-Fil-A and the anti-muslim youtube video was all about. Freedom of speech. Now, some would argue, Mr. Pizzo, that the latter [youtube video] incites. But remember, the standard, rooted in the US law, which you believe in, is "imposing immediate danger." It's been months since the video and over two weeks since the first violence. The only immediate danger is a result of the viewers, and hearers, not the video.


  24. @WTPLV.."What do these people who have religious beliefs do when they need or want to fly, or need or want to enter a building that requires ID? What do they do when applying for a job or a security clearance where a picture ID is required."

    What makes you think everyone will need, or want to fly? The people I am talking about, whose religious beliefs forbid them from having their photo taken are, for the most part Amish and Mennonites. There are a few Native American's with these beliefs as well. And, guess what. These deeply religious Americans don't fly, enter buildings that require a photo id, or apply for jobs or a security clearance where a picture ID is required.

    While the states could institute protocols, as youyou claimi most airlines have, for the cases when when someone doesn't have ID, but by your own admission these "can be a pain in the neck but you are able to board the flight." Your thinking is to make those of certain faiths take additional steps in order to vote than other American.

    How do you reconcile that idea with the demands of the 14th Amendment "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunity of citizens.. nor shall any State... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

    And the real question is how can States implement these ID laws at no cost to the voter. If my failure to pay government for the ID, or for the required documents to get an ID, that clearly violates my protections under the 24th Amendment.

    "Let's face it, two sides want what they want for all the 'wrong' reasons." Sorry, but I don't think there is anything wrong with defending the protections of United States Constitution. While I understand why me fellow Republicans want these laws, I simply can't agree with them.

    My reasons for opposing these laws is rooted in more than 200 years of American law.

    The reason for Voter ID's exists only in the fearful minds of a small, yet vocal, faction of the GOP that is lead, not by the idea of a small, fiscally conservative government, but the machinations if their ignorance, hate and fear.