Letters to the Editor

Your votes keep American democracy strong

National Voter Registration Day is September 24. Many of us in America think that voting is an “inalienable right.” It is not.

Many of us in America think that voting is a citizenship right enshrined in the US Constitution. That is only partially true.

The U.S. Constitution grants states the power to set voting requirements. State constitutions and legislation primarily determine qualifications for electors and the election process. The 15th, 19th, 24th, and 26th amendments to the U.S. Constitution extended national voting rights to citizens who had previously been barred from voting in elections due to state regulations, but still, laws in each state regulate the voting process.

This means voting in State elections is critically important to ensure voting rights are not infringed. So I encourage every Iowan to make sure your voter registration is current and then vote whenever you have an opportunity to do so. And if you think you cannot register to vote due to a previous criminal offense, check your status with the county auditor’s office. Misdemeanor offenses do not take away your voting rights, and the voting rights of many people with a felony conviction who completed their sentence before January 14, 2011, were restored by Governor Vilsack. For those who have completed their felony sentence after that date, an application to the governor for restoration of voting rights is available.

Voting is the lifeblood of American democracy. Your vote is important to keep American democracy strong and vital.

Gary Sneller

RISE Program

Cedar Rapids

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