Voters Right A Humanitarian Issue

By Charles Quinby


In all fifty states that make up the United States of America, every citizen over the age of eighteen and a citizen of the United States has the right to vote. No one is required or forced to vote, but the Constitution of the United States of America protects the right to do so. The twenty-sixth Amendment Article, One of the Constitution states that the right to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of age. To not be denied or abridged as long as the person is a citizen over eighteen, in simple terms, means there is a right to vote without being told no or having that right made challenging to achieve. To not be denied or abridged as long as the person is a citizen over eighteen, in simple terms, means there is a right to vote without being told no or having that right made challenging to achieve.

In recent years this has been a new battle that most fifty states have with their citizens. It is, at times, a highly publicized battle but mostly stays hidden and silently engaged. Some states want Voter Identification Laws that make accessibility to voting harder for those of lower income levels which in most cases makes this constitutional right harder for minorities to attain.The cost of the identification that is needed to vote in Ohio can cause the voter the inability to vote if a valid Id is necessary. The cost for identification as well as documentation needed is on the states website

Ohio is one of the states consistently trying to make voting harder for its citizens.

Not only has Ohio been working to make voting harder, but those in power with more financial means have also worked and succeeded in some areas with redistricting precincts to make it so those low-income and minority voters have lost their votes. It is causing a direct attack on the rights of those that do not have means. Those affected are the ones that most of the laws and funding affect the most. However, parties and politicians fight to silence them by removing their voting ability. Creating a modern-day humanitarian crisis that should not be taking place due to the protections of the Constitution. This paper aims to bring to light the push to silence voters and strip their rights to vote away by creating laws that have the most impact on low-income and minorities.

One must first understand the constitutionality behind the right to vote to understand the significance of what could be considered silencing against Ohio voters. It is hard to believe that it was not until nineteen twenty that all citizens of the United States over eighteen were granted the right to vote.

This should have always been allowed in a country that claims to be the most accessible country in the world. The United States has always been the country that everyone wanted to immigrate to for a chance at freedom and success. The United States was a country that was founded on this pursuit it has always been the melting pot for those looking for freedoms.. The search for a better life, the search for happiness and wealth. From the outside looking in, we here in the United States look as if we have it all together when there is a constant fight for power. It took the country over a hundred years to finally hold a presidential election where all citizens of legal age could use their voices and cast their votes. “On June 29, 1982, President Ronald Reagan signed a 25-year Voting Rights Act (VRA) extension. Though the Act had been renewed twice before by Presidents Nixon and Ford, the 1982 reauthorization made Section 2 of the VRA permanent. This section of the bill prohibited the violation of voting rights by any practices that discriminated based on race, regardless of if the practices had been adopted with the intent to discriminate or not.” (4) one would think that this renewal of such an important act leaving the Act to be considered permanent, that it would be the end of the story when it comes to attempting to disenfranchise voters, but disenfranchisement comes in many forms.

We strip our convicted felons that are incarcerated rights to vote away, but prior to their conviction we award them a jury of their peers to deliberate their convictions. Then once that conviction takes place, we take their right to vote on legislation that affects them. Taking that right to vote away also sheds away that jury of their peers; those peers still have that right to vote. So are they really now still considered a jury of their peers? It is an after convictions stripping away of the right but it is also a right that was stripped that was constitutionally protected. Trying to find the harm in allowing those in prison to be able to cast a vote is really hard to do. Especially since time and time again we see people be released due to wrongful convictions. This form of disenfranchisement to voting rights is one that most likely will never change. There is never a real fight to allow incarcerated felons the right to vote. There is a non profit called the Marshall Project that aims to show transparency of those incarcerated they are treated humanely though they do not aim for policy reforms their work often leads to it. Why Millions of Americans Will Be Left Out of the Midterms | The Marshall Project

There is a constant battle over voter identification, and those who endorse this will claim widespread election fraud in every election, which they use to push their claim. Even though the facts are evident, that is not the case. We have politicians and lobbyists that work tirelessly to redistrict areas of the state in a manner that would consistently allow one political party to have the ability to win elections. These all equate to the disadvantages of voting rights that minorities and lower-income individuals face while trying to cast votes. To many, the issue of voter’s rights will never exist, nor will they ever feel the effects of disenfranchisement, which makes it hard to get them to understand what implications these types of restrictions will have on individuals. For those it affects, they fight tirelessly to keep their right to vote.

The push for voter identification laws comes from the fear of election fraud. Those for this movement will claim that without these laws, just anyone could vote and could vote multiple times. Take that, and adding the fear of hacking into the ballots themselves gives the perfect amount of fear to attempt to push through an agenda. This fear is just an ignorant lack of knowledge from people that do not understand the depths of securities involved in the computer programming that runs electronic voting machines. “Most Americans believe the right to vote is one of the most important constitutional rights.1 Moreover, eight out of ten Americans are concerned that the country’s voting system is vulnerable to hackers.2 Although new voting technology has been implemented across the country, it largely enables, rather than prevents, hacking, causing “frightening vulnerabilities” for election administration.3 It seems that “America’s most ancient civilian office, the local election clerk, has become saddled with new and alien responsibilities tantamount to a military contractor.” (6). Just reading that quote by Jacob Rush would make one question the safety of votes. Nevertheless, that is also a ploy to push the agenda of fear to get people on board for voter identification laws.

In the research done by The Brennen Center for Justice in the works published by John Levitt titled The Truth About Voter Fraud the issues surrounding voter fraud are unraveled. The Brennan Center for justice is an advocate for the truth. This research shows how the media uses the buzz word voter fraud or fraudulent elections whenever something occurs in the election process to further push that fear into the citizens. How this leads the viewers to believe that there is true fraud taking place. Telling how if a voting machine miscounts the ballots it’s labeled as fraud. If a voting machine goes down and isn’t used again in that election that is also labeled as fraud This research also enlightens the reader to learn that “The most common example of the harm wrought by imprecise and inflated claims of “voter fraud” is the call for in-person photo identification requirements. Such photo ID laws are effective only in preventing individuals from impersonating other voters at the polls — an occurrence more rare than getting struck by lightning”(8) If true voter fraud is more rare than getting struck by lightning as Levitt states the only reason for the push would be to disenfranchise voters. These pushes for voter identification never truly fix any problems that actually do take place with the elections themselves. It is also very suspicious that when election fraud is brought up the elections are very close in votes. How would voter identification actually disenfranchise voters from their constitutional right to vote.

The idea of voter identification sounds simple enough. Why would anyone oppose it? Opposing it would be almost a stretch in terms of finding a way to have it without taking a right to vote away from those without funds would be the best solution. It can cost, on average, thirty dollars to get state identification; that is, one must have an address and all the documentation needed to obtain such identification. If the voter does not have these items in place, they can not obtain that coveted identification from the state that would award the right to vote. In urban city areas, most do not drive; they use public transportation due to being unable to afford vehicles or the lack of space to park a vehicle. Why is this important? Simply because many of these individuals never held a driver’s license, the primary form of identification. However, a state identification card that people can get, which is more common among this population of individuals. The cost and paperwork needed to obtain this identification is comparable to that needed for a driver’s license.

Voter identification is just one of the battles voters face when having their voices heard through casting their votes. Gerrymandering, the manipulation of boundaries of voting precincts to sway an election in favor of one party or a specific class of people, is another infringement on Ohioian’s constitutional rights to vote freely.

Kent, Ohio, is one of the many areas in the state that is always in question when redistricting occurs. Those for this push to redistrict know that the Kent area has always been a very liberal democratic stronghold. Redistributing the votes in that area would allow the opposing party to gain control of the votes. Why would there be this constant push to redistrict this tiny college town in Northern Ohio? Why would lobbyists assume this area is and always will be a liberal democrat area? To understand why this area is always at the center of this debate, understand the history there. Then one can fully understand why this area is considered politically the way it is.

Kent is no stranger to being in the midst of a humanitarian crisis, nor is it a stranger to protesting for humanitarian rights. In the spring of nineteen seventy, there were anti-war protests directly following the United States invasion of Cambodia during what was supposed to be a time of exit of the Vietnam War. What happened at Kent State University on May 4, 1970, would go down in history as one of the most investigated shootings in American history. On this day, the National Guard opened fire on the college campus, killing four and shooting thirteen. Of those who lost their lives that day, one student walked to class. They fired into a crowd of college students that day, those doing the firing being members of their own government’s military.

It was a turning point not just in the anti-war sentiment that had been going on for years, but it would also be a turning point on how the area of Kent would be perceived as a democratic area.

The May 4 coalition was formed after the senseless deaths that occurred during this demonstration. This coalition was fighting to memorialize the area where the students lost their lives. It is hard to believe that this, too, was a battle that needed to take place. Throughout Mariam Jackson Shall Not Move Us, those for the memorialization and against the location of the annex of the gym are continuously referred to as liberals. Liberals have widely been known to support the democratic party. The democratic party is the party that has fought for access to easy voting and against gerrymandering. The Republican party has led the push for redistricting, for tougher laws on voter identification. The Republican party, in a sense, was also at the forefront of the fight against not honoring the lives lost that day. This is why this area is a hot bed for this debate to today

Taking a deeper look at the areas that lobbyists and some legislators try to gerrymander you will see a long standing history of inequalities. First we need to take a look at how Ohio is redistricting.

Many of the areas were redlined at one point or another. Redlining is the term used when banks would not issue loans for homes in certain areas. This was a form of housing inequality that plagued the lower income societies for many years. Redlining has not been legal in quite some time but the redlining of these districts has allowed there to be areas that vote more democratic than others.

The map from shows just how detailed redlining truly was.

The lobbyists and legislators that lead the fights for the redistribution of votes in these areas like Kent know the history of the areas and prey on the people of them to silence their votes. However they will claim that this is not to silence those in these areas but is being done to simplify the amount of representation to an area making it cheaper in a sense with less representation needing to be on the government’s tax funded payrolls.

The opponent against voting being a simple process certainly does play on the fears of the citizens of the country. It is hard at times to not want to agree with the arguments that they present. It is also very difficult to not fall victim to the thoughts of lower taxes due to less representatives. The campaigns that are waged are heavily funded and have serious consequences on the honesty of elections. The honesty that is the very thing that they claim to be fighting for.

Though these fights that took place in the seventies in Kent are different in nature than those seen there today, nonetheless a show of the constant fight for constitutional rights in Ohio. The fight for constitutional rights is a humanitarian crisis that needs to be fought with the same diligence as the demonstrators had while protesting the Vietnam War

To some, what is written in this essay may not sound like an actual humanitarian crisis in terms of what most deem the term crisis to mean. However, it is simply on the merit of what a vote truly means, what it does, and what it stands for. The freedom to cast a vote that would elect representatives that make the laws that affect the citizens casting a vote is how people are represented. The Constitution protects the ability to cast a vote without jumping hurdles. The districts in place allow for fair representation without the worry for one party or the other to redesign lines of demarcation in voting precincts to monopolize the governments with the prospective party’s political leaders.
In closing, there has always been a struggle for power across party lines in the country’s history. We, however, can not allow this struggle to dictate voter’s rights, disenfranchising voters to sway laws or elected officials. Just like the days of the Vietnam Era when students demonstrated for the freedoms of others, we need to continue to stand to protect these fundamental rights guarded by the Constitution. We can never forget our history and how far we have come.



Works Cited

1.“The 26th Amendment Gains Approval, July 1, 1971.” POLITICO, Accessed 9 May 2023.

2. ABC News, Accessed 9 May 2023.

3.“Analysis | the Truth about Election Fraud: It’s Rare.” The Washington Post, 1 Nov. 2022,

4. Bos, Carole. “May 4th – Kent State Shootings.” AwesomeStories.Com, Accessed 9 May 2023.

5. Carrillo, Karen Juanita. “Ohio Votes under ‘extreme’ Gerrymandering That Favors Republicans.” Center for Public Integrity, 6 Oct. 2022,

6. Chapman, Allegra. “Voting Rights: Will Court Protections Deliver?” The American Prospect, 26 Sept. 2016,

7. “Citizenship and Voting Rights: Should Resident Aliens Vote?” Taylor & Francis, Accessed 9 May 2023.

8. Columbia Law Review – JSTOR, Accessed 9 May


9, “Documents & Fees.” Ohio BMV, Accessed 9 May 2023.

10. “Education Resources Information Center.” ERIC, Accessed 9 May 2023.

11. “Ensure Every American Can Vote.” Brennan Center for Justice, Accessed 9 May 2023.

12,“The Fight for the Right to Vote in the United States – Nicki Beaman Griffin.” YouTube, 5 Nov. 2013,

13. Grillo, Mike. “Remembering the 1982 Voting Rights Act Amendments ” Avoice – Congressional Black Caucus Foundation ” African American Voices in Congress.” Avoice, 23 June 2008,

14. Hess, John. “Opinion: Gerrymandering: Funny Word, Serious Problem.” Kent Wired, Accessed 9 May 2023.

15. Lartey, Jamiles. “Why Millions of Americans Will Be Left out of the Midterms.” The Marshall Project, 29 Oct. 2022,

16. Politics & Voting in Kent, Ohio – Best Places, Accessed 9 May 2023.

17. Press, Author: Associated. “Dewine Signs Election Changes into Law Including Photo ID Requirement.” 10tv.Com, 6 Jan. 2023,

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