Recently, The Green Party of the United States called the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Voting Rights Act (VRA), which gutted key provisions of the law, a serious blow to the right of every American to vote in elections.
Greens spoke out in defense of the VRA and on the need for a constitutional guarantee of the right to vote, especially in light of a growing movement to invalidate voters — especially targeting Blacks — in many states.
The Green Party also calls for at-large winner-take-all election systems, which are prevalent in the U.S., to be replaced with proportional representation and multi-seat districts. These reforms ensure the representation of all kinds of minorities and prevent “the tyranny of the majority.”
- Darryl! L.C. Moch, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States: “The Shelby County v. Holder decision proves that we need to repair a gaping hole in the U.S. Constitution — the lack of language stating that Americans have a right to vote. Since its passage in 1965, the VRA has been renewed by Congress, but has always been vulnerable to repeal by a hostile Supreme Court. The decision allows states to impose obstructions that effectively (though not explicitly) disenfranchise voters based on race or other criteria. We’re already seeing such efforts by legislators in some states, such as Voter ID laws. The protections of the VRA are as urgent in 2013 as they were in 1965.”
- Steven Welzer, 2013 Green Party candidate for Governor of New Jersey: “If anything, Section 4 of the VRA needed to be expanded, since elected officials are working to enact Voter ID laws and other tactics to block voters at the polls. We witnessed similar actions in 2000, when Republican officials in Florida worked with ChoicePoint to invalidate thousands of voters — most of them black — in order to throw the election to George W. Bush. The Supreme Court’s Bush v. Gore decision, which declared Bush the winner, was based in part on the Constitution’s failure to guarantee the right to vote in national elections, which Justice Scalia emphasized in his opinion. These tactics were repeated in Ohio and possibly other states in the 2004 presidential election — which motivated Greens to fight and expose irregularities by Ohio GOP officials, while Democrats sat on their hands.”
- Marian Douglas-Ungaro, DC Statehood Green Party member whose great-great grandparents were enslaved in South Carolina and other states: “In 2013, we’re commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, which abolished slavery, but only in the states that seceded from the U.S. 2013 is the perfect year for a mass movement to reject the Supreme Court’s decision by demanding two new constitutional amendments — one that says every adult American has the right to vote, and one declaring that only people, not corporations, get the legal rights and protections spelled out in the Constitution. Both of these amendments would finally overturn two legacies of the reactionary post-Reconstruction Era — the removal of the most basic citizen rights of our newly freed ancestors, which still obstructs Black American and other voters of color, and which ‘miraculously’ gave these rights, intended for individual persons, to corporations.”
- Thomas Muhammad, co-chair of the Green Party Black Caucus) and an Executive Board Member of the National Voting Rights Museum & Institute in Selma, Alabama: “Let’s not forget that many Democrats currently in Congress voted to confirm President Bush’s appointment of rightwing pro-Republican ideologues to the Supreme Court. It was predictable that Justice Alito and Chief Justice Roberts would be hostile to the VRA, along with earlier appointees Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy.”
The Green Party’s national platform supports “strong enforcement of the Federal Voting Rights Act and – where applicable – state voting rights acts like the California Voting Rights Act.” The platform also endorses enactment of “A National ‘Right to Vote’ law or constitutional amendment to guarantee universal, automatic, permanent voter registration, along with fail-safe voting procedures, so that eligible voters whose names are not on the voter rolls or whose information is out-of-date can correct the rolls and vote on the same day.”
To read the Green Party Platform, click here. Power to the people, guys and gals. Power to the people.