America is a country founded on principle and rule of law. Our founders drafted a constitution in order to codify the rules that govern our society. In their wisdom, the founders then wrote the bill of rights to clarify the rules the government had to obey when managing society. The rule of law is one of the cornerstones in modern society. This is precisely what makes it so disturbing when those who should know better flout those rules.
By now it seems to be fairly common knowledge that Republicans do not believe the rules apply to them. This has become apparent as President George W. Bush refuses to play by the rules.
It is equally clear that Mark Green has a laissez faire approach to following laws. Green has tried to illegally use out of state special interest money (from big oil companies) to buy the election. Whether it’s illegally wiretapping American citizens, torturing prisoners, breaking campaign finance laws or refusing to provide Congress, the courts and the public with information, the Republicans have made their contempt for the rules that govern us all quite clear.
The worst illegal activity favored by many within Republican ranks has been the suppression of voting. Rather than working on policies that appeal to a broader range of voters, the Republicans have systematically worked to keep Democratic voters home on Election Day. Just recently, according to the Washington Post, California Republican candidate Tan Nguyen sent letters to Hispanic voters claiming that it is illegal for immigrants to vote. The FBI and Attorney General of California are looking into this -matter. It has happened before, sadly, as many African Americans were given bogus “reminder” phone calls days before the 2004 elections, telling them to make sure and vote, but purposely giving them the wrong date.
In Ohio, voters were told they would be fined for overdue parking tickets if they showed up to vote on Election Day. In other places across the country, voters were given the wrong polling place address, the wrong date, incorrect information on what is needed to vote, and were generally harassed, lied to and intimidated by those who don’t want to have American voices heard.
Voter suppression has long been an issue on college campuses across the country. Our higher education centers have always tended to be liberal, so the polling places for students make alluring targets for right-wing henchmen intent on minimizing the impact of student voting.
Part of the reason we have had a slew of political candidates visiting campus over the past couple of weeks has been this university’s crucial role in the upcoming elections. Politicians on both sides of the aisle know the UW-Eau Claire campus can turn this election should students be motivated to get out and vote. That is why we must be extra vigilant Tuesday.
This Election Day, it is crucial not only that students vote, but that they are given the proper information to identify and prevent the tactics so often used to silence them. On the polling day, if anyone approaches you and you suspect them of lying, or trying to deny students their votes, immediately dial either the Eau Claire City Clerk at (715) 839-4912, or the Eau Claire Police Department at (715) 839-4972. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!
If you live on campus, you need your Blugold card and a Wisconsin driver’s license, if you have one. If you do not (you are from out of state, or never got a driver’s license), all you need is to know your Social Security number.
If you live off campus, know the correct polling location. You can stop by the Democrats table on the Mall on Election Day to find this.
You must also bring a piece of official mail with your current address on it. This may be a water bill, lease, credit card bill, garbage bill, electricity bill, etc.
Don’t have any “official” mail with your address on it? No problem; bring a roommate who does, and have them vouch for you! All they must do is sign a slip of paper testifying that they know you live where you claim to live!
Don’t let those who wish to silence students win. VOTE TOMORROW!