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Opinion

Mon., March 25, 2013

Protect voting franchise

The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard a case about presenting proof of citizenship to register to vote, although federal law requires only that one swears one is a citizen, not provide proof. Several states have passed or are contemplating draconian legislation mandating proof of citizenship for those already registered to vote.

The original Constitution left voter qualifications to the states, generally allowing only white males with property or wealth to vote. Amendments to the Constitution have extended that right to all born/naturalized citizens, including men, women, nonwhites, and those 18 and older. Considering what is best for America, not for partisan politics, provides a reasonable solution.

First, requiring proof of citizenship for anyone initially registering to vote is both consistent with the Constitution and a credible way to protect franchise rights of citizens. Second, everyone who applies for a driver’s license (often teens – get them involved) should be allowed to preregister and register to vote if they show proof of citizenship. Third, no individual who now has the right to vote should be disenfranchised, except as permitted by existing federal law.

Congress should pass, and the president sign, legislation providing for this solution. Problem permanently resolved.

William Mahaney

Spokane



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