The Democracy Business
By President Emeritus Dan Mikel
Charged with conducting elections in Minnesota, Secretary of State Steve Simon is a dedicated public servant. When he speaks before union groups—and other groups- he frequently opens by saying “I’m in the democracy business.”
The democracy business has been thriving for 200+ years. We are a much more democratic country now than when the Constitution was written in 1787. We do not have to own property to vote. We do not have to be male. We do not have to be white. We do not have to be 21 or over. The list goes on.
In recent years the democracy business has had some downturns. Voter suppression is on the rise so it is more difficult for many people to vote. Standing in a long line for hours is not anyone’s idea of fun. Yet that is happening in our country. Fewer polling locations force people to stand in line. This year Milwaukee only had 5 polling locations open rather than the usual 180. There were similar problems in Georgia – and elsewhere.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was designed to ensure all people in all corners of the country, (particularly in areas of the South) the right to vote. Proudly signed into law by LBJ and supported by such civil rights icons as John Lewis, Martin Luther King, Jr., Hubert Humphrey and others, millions of people were able to vote without being harassed or having to fear for their lives. To its shame, a conservative U.S. Supreme Court gutted much of the Voting Rights Act in a 2013 decision.
Now in 2020 people are seeking to expand the right to vote by using the U.S. mail. Conservative political figures are fighting the opportunity for more people to vote using US Mail. Critics proclaim “FRAUD” and seek to strike down expanded voting opportunities. There is no evidence to support such false claims. Check the data.
It may not be too late to vote by mail in the August 11 primary election in Minnesota. Your ballot needs to be postmarked on or before August 11 but must be received by the date the canvassing board meets.
Let’s have prosperous days ahead for our democracy business!