Political Animal


January 21, 2013 4:54 PM Voting Rights Moved Up In the Line

By Ed Kilgore

Looking once again at what was mentioned and un-mentioned in the president’s second inaugural address, and in what context, I am struck in a favorable way by the high priority Obama seems to be according to voting rights:

Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.

That sentence was nestled between the soon-to-be-famous pledge to full equality for LGBT folk and the call for new immigration policies, in a speech that was spare in specifics.

You never know what’s next, but this very concrete comment on voting rights sure sounds more urgent than the post-2000 interest in the subject that eventually produced the sad, emaciated booby-prize of the Help America Vote Act of 2002. It’s very welcome rhetoric, which like much of this inaugural address, sets a high standard for Obama’s second term, and a direct challenge to a Republican Party still fighting to reverse the progressive achievements of the past.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • c u n d gulag on January 21, 2013 5:10 PM:

    And now, after disenfranchisement, and the other Republican Election Day tricks didn't work, the Conservatives will resort to using their gerrymandered districts to their advantage in key states, by taking a states Electoral College votes, and "redistributing" them, by Congressional district.

    If they're successful, in the next Presidential election, the Democratic candidate might win the popular vote by as many as 5 million, and either lose the Electoral College vote, or throw the decision to a (probably) Republican House of Representatives.

    There is nothing quinitisentially "American" about our Conservatives. They are Fascists at best, Nihilists, or Anarchists, at worst.

  • Peter C on January 21, 2013 5:32 PM:

    We also need national VVPAT (Voter-verified paper audit trail) standards. Paperless touch-screen machines whose software is proprietary and not available for analysis cannot be acceptable; they are not trustworthy. Yet they are still in place (even where they were legislatively banned).

    We deserve technology that we can TRUST, and whose capability is VALIDATED THROUGH PERIODIC AUDITS.

  • John Sully on January 21, 2013 9:23 PM:

    There is really only one way forward here: a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to vote. Want to put the fear of god into Republicans? Propose this...

  • ANonymous on January 21, 2013 11:50 PM:

    Rage against the Re[ublican machine of gerrymandering... Was it not found illegal in texAS by the courts?
    We'll need the Dept. Of Justice federally to challenge states changing fairness of voting/electoral changes.
    Repugs are sneaky, always plotting and planning diabolical ways. Eric Holder keep alert.

  • esaud on January 22, 2013 10:25 AM:

    I wish Obama would replace Holder at the Justice department. He has been way too forgiving in prosecuting voting rights abuses, bank fraud, not to mention a complete bye on war crimes.