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By President Emeritus Dan Mikel

It’s time for us to be conservative.  Not the right-wing type of conservative that has a decades long track record of opposing progressive ideas as contained in such acts as Social Security, Medicare, Affordable Care Act and now the Build Back Better Act.

Let’s be conservative in the sense of preserving and honoring actions going back decades and decades.  Let’s use VOTING as one example.

Going back to 1789 when our country was organized under the Constitution, voting was restricted to white men who owned property.  From those long-ago 18th century roots to the present 21st century the right to vote has expanded.  Former slaves and free black men could vote. Then women could vote.   Citizens could vote for members of the U.S. Senate directly.   Citizens of Washington D.C. could vote for President.  The minimum age for voting was lowered to 18.  “Whites Only” presidential primaries were eliminated; the “grandfather clause” was eliminated; literacy tests ceased to exist. Progress has been steady. UNTIL...

Today there are over 350 pending bills in various states designed to suppress citizens from voting. Let’s be conservative.   Let’s go back to the good old days of expanding and ensuring that citizens can vote.

VOTER SUPPRESSION efforts must be defeated.  Examples: Non- partisan election commissions in some states may be replaced by a partisan electoral body.  Mail in voting (commonly called absentee balloting) may be cut back.  Hours of voting may be restricted.  Voter I.D requirements may be expanded in some states.  People’s names have been taken off of eligible voter lists.

Who suffers? We all do. The Brennan Center for Justice points out that special burdens are placed on “racial minorities, poor people, and young and old voters.”

In Minnesota, Republicans have proposed legislation to restrict same day voter registration.  Kindly note that in the 2020 general election 259,742 Minnesotans registered to vote on Election Day.  Steve Simon, Minnesota’s Secretary of State, says that the Republican effort amounts to voter suppression. Commenting on the refusal of Republicans – including the former President-to recognize legitimate election counting throughout the USA, Simon says, “It eats away at the fabric of democracy and it eats away at well-deserved confidence people have in elections.”

LET’S BE CONSERVATIVE. Let’s have candidates from more than one party present their views to the public and then the public can vote and have their ballots counted. Candidates who support working families need not take a backseat to anyone. The voters can decide.  It’s a time-honored tradition.

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