City Government

Voter Rights Prompts Election Reflection

The Day Job took us to the Deep South following the election, hence a lack of new material on the site. By way of apology, we offer the following feature.

Annie Pearl Townsend Avery proudly welcomes visitors to the NATIONAL VOTER RIGHTS MUSEUM in Selma, Alabama which is housed in a storefront at the foot of the Edmund Pettus bridge across the Alabama River.

The bridge was the scene–many say the beginning–of the modern civil rights movement where the coppers beat people who marched across the bridge. Annie Pearl was one of those who marched with Martin Luther King that “bloody Sunday” to secure the rights of Black people to vote through the National Voting Rights Act 1965.

When we told her folks in Idaho had just passed three constitutional amendments that took away their rights to vote, she just shook her head and said, “I can believe it. Some folks just don’t understand.”

The irony of Civil War and Civil Rights monuments throughout the South formed a juxtaposition we couldn’t ignore. Americans fighting fighting to preserve the Union and 100 years later fighting for the right to vote while government and hospitals in Idaho invested close to $1,000,000 to see that voter rights were voluntarily removed.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Please explain what these 3 Idaho constitutional amendments are and how they take away the voting rights for African Americans. I find this quite disturbing and has this received any national media coverage?
    This is one of your more stimulating articles and the photo is great. Keep up the good work.

    EDITOR NOTE–Idaho voters lost their right to vote on public debt in 3 areas–airports, public hospitals, and public power companies. The Black connection was that THEY fought to get the vote in ’65 while Idahoans gave up the right to vote in 2010.

  2. I know you feel very strongly about the recent vote to allow airports and hospitals to garner debt without public vote, Dave. But there is absolutely NO parallel between this vote and the Civil Rights movement.

    One is about allowing a board to make fiscal decisions regarding public institutions; the other is about fundamental personal freedoms. It trivializes the Civil Rights movement to draw parallels between it and the airport/hospital decision.

  3. sam the sham
    Nov 17, 2010, 9:58 am

    While there was the Civil Rights movement for a certain segment of our society, (notice that no one mentions the lack of civil rights ie the vote for Native Americans. No one appears to find this historical… lack of media coverage, I guess), do we just not care about everyone loosing their civil rights? Certainly Dr. King’s dream was not just for one group or even one country. That would mean that Dr. King was also a racist.
    Extending past Boise – read this should you care to
    We are all loosing our Civil Rights due to media brainwashing.

  4. Yes but did you ask her who she’s voted for since she could vote? Probably the same people who want to take away our vote. Most of the people don’t understand, not just some of them

  5. Hey, Zarkin, where ya been?
    The Guardian’s been pounding this into our heads, trying to get the other side to see the problem (apparently, it didn’t work. Need to hit ’em with a bigger two-by-four, Guardian).
    And, yes, The Idaho Mistakesman has run info about them, too.

    — gp (your old editor)

  6. I sure don’t want to “loose” my civil rights, whatever that means.

    EDITOR NOTE–It is more o than lose.

  7. I agree with Casey that it is a real stretch to find any connection between the civil rights movement and voters’ choice in the most recent election. The amendments were voted on and the majority of Idaho voters had a different opinion than Mr. Frazier. Complaining about the money spent by one side or another is a red herring as election spending will always be a part of the process. Idaho voters did excercise their right to vote. You just didn’t like the outcome.

  8. Casey and Lisa, civil rights are not a color nor are they an ethnicity! The comparison that the Guardian has made is completely valid. While the black culture fought, demonstrated, bled, and yes, died for the opportunity to be “equal” and involved in the process of governance, Mz. Townsend’s point was that we are now, through an almost million dollar ad blitz, giving up our right to be “in control of the process”. It is, for me, not a question of not agreeing with the outcome. I am scared “spitless” of what this will lead to! You may be willing to skip on down the yellow brick road, giving up your rights and responsibilties as you go. I am not! And, I would venture neither is Mz. Townsend! If you two are willing to trust a politician, or one of their appointees, I truly feel sorry for what you have done to your children! They will foot the bill for your blind obedience!

  9. Cyclops…I don’t recall making any statement whatsoever about color or ethnicity, but rather the civil rights movement compared to the results of a local election. I don’t have the same automatic distrust of elected officials as you…after all, we are the people who chose them. You want the people to vote on everything, but then assume the candidates they elect are bad choices. While there are certainly some I don’t agree with, I don’t assume that we always choose a horrible politician who can’t be trusted. I still have a little faith in voters and my fellow citizens who decide to run for office.

  10. Very simply put Lisa, power CORRUPTS! The lineage proving this statement is longer than our nation’s history. For you to put your faith in this “genre” is down right silly!

Get the Guardian by email

Enter your email address: