The 3rd May local government elections will soon be upon us. Perhaps more than any other groups right to vote, the Black vote was hardest won. So, I vote for two reasons; because I want to have a say in who represents me and because Black women earned my right to vote in blood and beatings. However, the Tories are erecting barriers that likely stop Blacks and other vulnerable groups voting. The Tories, on the sly, behind the furore of Brexit, are introducing voter ID.
The Black Vote
Although Britain celebrated some women having the vote for 100 years,
the story is entirely different for Black women. It was just in 1962 that White police officers brutally beat Fannie Lou Hamer, a sharecropper activist from Mississippi, for registering to vote. The Plantation owner sacked and made Mrs Hamer homeless. Meanwhile, white people tried to assassinate her.
For 100 years Black people had been trying to exercise their democratic right to vote without success. White people beat, arrested and even murdered Black people for attempting to vote and intimidated their white supporters.
Today in America, the Republicans are practising Black Vote suppression by requiring that voters have one of a limited set of forms of photo ID. The American data shows that the effect of voter ID is to reduce the turnout among Black, Latino and working-class voters.
The Great Voter Fraud Of…?
And now the Tories are employing the same tactic. In May voters from Bromley, Gosport, Swindon, Watford and Woking will be asked to produce ID.
Voting ID would be a good idea if we had voter fraud. However, one prosecution from 27 cases among 45 million voters in 2017 does not a crisis make. So where is the notorious voter fraud that warrants voter ID?
We struggle to get people to register to vote, never mind use the ballot box. So, the government should be making voting more accessible not introducing more layers of bureaucracy. Electoral Commission figures indicated that 3.5 million people in Britain (7.5% of the electorate) do not have access to any form of photo ID.
Darren Hughes, chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society, says ‘Requiring voters to bring ID to the polling station risks excluding far more people. The government needs to rethink these plans urgently to ensure that our democracy is not threatened’.
The Electoral Reform Society has written to government warning that their ID scheme is likely to disenfranchise large numbers of BAME and the vulnerable. Campaign groups, charities and academics have signed the letter.
Tory Vote Tactics
A person is more likely to be struck by lightning than be a fraudulent voter. So, the voter ID pilot is not about securing democracy. I think it is another cog in the Tory plan to subvert democracy and a Labour victory.
The Tories introduced individual voter registration, and one million Labour votes disappeared. The Tory boundary changes skew the political landscape in their favour. And now voter ID, which research has shown Black people and vulnerable groups are less likely to possess. So the Tories will disenfranchise Black People and vulnerable groups.
Globally Black people have fought for their democratic right to vote. That struggle continues. So, we must not allow the Tories to undermine the Black vote or that of any vulnerable group. So, let people know about the changes on all social platforms, share this blog and write to your MP.
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