I have seen this theme going around on Facebook and Twitter. This is just one example:
Other versions include: “if you are on welfare you shouldn’t get to vote” and “if you pay rent you shouldn’t get to vote.”
Fortunately, nobody has tried to actually put forth an argument (rational or otherwise) for this garbage.
The U.S. Constitution makes it very clear that ALL citizens of legal age get to cast a vote, with some very few exceptions — like having been convicted of a felony, where you give up the right to vote along with other essential rights and liberties. There can be no legitimate basis any more for a connection between economic standing and the right to vote. There used to be a time when only white land-owners could vote, and we got rid of that bullshit notion long ago.
The one who wrote about no voting if you’re on welfare included a parenthesis: (conflict of interest). How the fuck can it be a “conflict of interest” if low-income/no-income people want to vote in ways that improve the lot of those in similar situations? And, seriously, if “conflict of interest” is a legitimate reason not to let people vote, then NObody should be allowed to vote, because nearly everybody votes in their own best interest.
I can almost guarantee that all these people who wish to limit who gets to vote will be voting for Romney. They are racist bigots who have consistently tried to deny voting rights to minorities and low-income people. Even now they are doing it in a few states, as reported in the news last week, with this Voter ID thing. In all these years of bullshit rhetoric about voter fraud there’s only been 13 proven cases, yet the Republicans want to deny the vote to literally thousands.
But now, let’s think rationally about it: there are many people who do not pay taxes. One example, people who don’t work or have their own paycheck. If their spouses file taxes separately instead of jointly or head-of-household, there’s no record of the non-working spouse paying anything. Should that non-working spouse be denied the right to vote? Or wealthy retired who are simply living off savings and have no new income, except maybe interest on their accounts but such amounts are below the threshold for owing taxes. if they have a pension or social security they may pay a very small amount. College students living on student loans don’t have an income to pay taxes on; should they be denied the right to vote?
But the bottom line is that IT DOES NOT MATTER what a person’s income is, and it is absolutely unAmerican to suggest across the board that people who don’t pay taxes should not get to vote.