THE BLOG

Who Has the Right to Vote in 2016?

06/08/2015 02:58 pm ET | Updated Jun 08, 2016

There's no denying what Hillary Clinton said this week in Texas: Our right to vote is under attack.

And that right that we've fought for from the battles of the Revolutionary War through the battles of the 15th and 19th and 26th Amendments is under attack because Republicans can't stop fantasizing about a voter fraud problem that — inconveniently for them — doesn't actually exist.

As Hillary Clinton asked on Thursday, "What part of Democracy are they afraid of?"

All you have to do to find out the answer to that question is look at who Republicans are trying to shut out of the process.

Because the truth is that the GOP knows it can't push its extreme, out-of-touch agenda on a country where every voice is heard. They know they have to do everything they can to silence the voices of everyday Americans because it's the only way they'll keep winning elections.

So they're going after women, and they're trying to silence us by passing laws that make it harder for newly divorced or newly married women who've changed their last names to vote.

They're going after young people, and they're trying to silence them by imposing voter ID requirements that make it impossibly hard for students to vote.

They're going after seniors, and they're trying to silence them because they know they're less likely to replace their driver's licenses after they give them up, and less likely to have birth certificates if they were born before they were commonplace.

In Rick Perry's Texas, they're going after minorities, who Republicans know are less likely to have the forms of photo identification newly required by Texas law.

In North Carolina, they've passed laws to shorten early voting periods and stop people from voting at the ballot box if they don't have one of the required forms of identification — a practice that we know overwhelmingly (but not coincidentally) silences the voices of African-American voters in the state.

In Wisconsin, Scott Walker signed a law requiring absentee voters to include proof of a photo ID with their ballot — imposing an impossible burden on elderly and disabled Americans who can't leave their home or go somewhere to make a photo copy, and for whom absentee voting is often the only option.

Scott Walker has pushed to end same-day voter registration, which has been credited for the high voter turnout in the state. And in Wisconsin DMVs, Department of Transportation officials have even been warned not to tell Wisconsinites that voter ID cards are free!

And in Florida, Jeb Bush signed a law restricting voting hours and limiting voting locations, making it harder than ever for Floridians to vote.

This systematic disenfranchisement of Americans is as widespread as it is indefensible. And as Hillary Clinton said this past week, all of this "just didn't happen by accident." So this really is a battle we have to show up for — and it's a battle we have to win. Because if we keep silent at this moment, we'll be paying the price for generations to come.