10/15/2012 01:04 pm ET Updated Dec 15, 2012

When A Right Becomes Threatened

As a woman of color, of a certain age, the threat of losing one's right to cast a vote is not some far off, distant memory in some far off foreign land. My life began at the time of the Civil Rights Voting Act. I grew up listening to the heart wrenching stories of death threats and actual violence from my relatives who lived in the South. Some of my female relatives who were raised in the northeast, were old enough to remember a time when a woman's right to vote was but a dream. What I read in the history books as a child about the American struggle for the right to vote were not experiences happening to "those" people. They happened to my people. My family. Americans.

And here we are once again. America, 2012. I'm certainly not comparing the violent crimes and severe governmental obstruction of the past centuries to what's going on. But it's vital for Americans to take a moment and truly realize what is being threatened and what is at stake.

In several states across the country, the right of Americans to cast a vote is being challenged. Requirements and restrictions which have never been in place before are now springing up. Politicians and government officials are using policy loopholes and partisan shenanigans to manipulate the system for their own benefit. They claim to want to protect our system from fraud but are instead rigging it so that certain groups of voters are left out. In reality, the occasional occurrence of voter fraud can and has been remedied by laws we already have on the books. Instead of protecting our democracy, these new, overtly restrictive laws, are unfairly targeting seniors, veterans, young people, African Americans and Latinos.

The AFL-CIO's My Vote, My Right Program has launched a hard hitting and far reaching voter protection campaign to combat what is an obvious assault on millions of Americans' right to vote. The AFL-CIO and its cadre of dedicated lawyers are partnering up with hundreds of local community allies to assist in educating and protecting those who may not have the means or resources of their own to fight against unreasonable voting restrictions.

For more information regarding this righteous battle, visit

These overreaching and prohibitive voting restrictions are not a joke. We aren't reminiscing about times long gone. We are talking about what is happening right now in states across the country. The AFL-CIO is shining a light on an issue that, if not challenged, could possibly threaten our entire democracy.

Get involved. Become familiar with what you need to know to vote. Take action. Vote on November 6th, 2012.