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Restricting Student Voting-Is it Fascism from the Right?

Updated on March 8, 2011


Being retired, I seem to have a lot of time on my hands. I spend a great time reading the news and opinion as to what is going on around me.  So what was it that stuck in my craw this morning?

I read an article from the Washington Post and the Boston Globe, hardly ‘liberal rags’ unless you are against all print journalism in principle. The article is entitled: “Taking aim at the student vote”.  A GOP controlled legislature in New Hampshire is planning legislation to limit the franchise rights of temporary residents.  In a quote from William O’Brien, the House Speaker, who while not  explicitly backing the bill  has been openly critical of student voting, recently telling a group of residents that college students are “basically doing what I did when I was a kid and foolish, and voting as a liberal.’’

The Boston Globe article referenced a  1972 Supreme Court ruling that said that in the case of an Hawaiian student attending school at Dartmouth that he could not be prohibited from voting by the city of Hanover merely because his parents lived in Hawaii along with his expressing the intent of not remaining in Hanover, NH.

So what are we playing at here? First of all each state has its residency requirements, as long as those are met, you are a resident, period. I recently moved to Hawaii, no one asked me what my intentions of staying were. I met the requirements associated with becoming a resident mainly by having a permanent residence and maintaining that status for a specific amount of time. Let’s be practical, know one truly knows what their plans will be, whether they plan to stay or leave, and I don’t think that it is appropriate of the authorities to ask. Who decides to subject students and other newcomers to a differing standard?

Conservatives argue that this group, mostly college students have no vested interests in how the community in which they live, for as many a four year or more, is run. Their votes overwhelm the votes of more established residents who are assumed to have a more vested interest. I live in America, is not one man, one vote the cardinal rule? So why are the votes of established residents more important than my vote, even though I am a resident according to state laws as of yesterday? Just because I am a student does not mean that I am not concerned with how the area in which I reside is governed. It is sort of simplisitic to think that college students are just interested in beer and parties and that they need to leave the business of governance in the capable and paternalistic care of those who have a ‘so called’ stake, whatever that is. Poppycock!!

The laws as drafted and put forward by the New Hampshire GOP would have the effect of disenfranchising a large swath of younger voters, and they know this. I am irked at Conservatives who appear to stop at nothing to make certain that their grab for power is a successful one. The first target was ACORN, an organization that sought to promote the franchise among poor and minority voters. The second assualt was on public sector unions, a strong constituency of the Democrats, with third and last attack on the younger voter, who generally votes in the progressive column. For the the Conservative, this amounts to the three headed hydra, that it is determined to destroy. But, I am here to sound the clarion call. Is there not a pattern here? I am most certain that other GOP dominated state legislatures will try to follow suit, because it is their way.


There is a more sinister and underlying theme expressed by Mr. O’Brien, House Speaker. This is not Rush Limbaugh or some dittohead, but a responsible member of New Hampshire state government, who revealed before a tea party audience, that it is ok to disenfranchise certain people because he deems them immature. He says that because they vote on the progressive side of the political ledger.  From where does that arrogance derive? In that stupid statement he reveals unsupportable biases and the political motive for the attempts at disenfranchising.  What makes me think that intellectually sclerotic old white men like him are any more capable? Well, relative to most college students, I am an old black man. I have been around long enough to recall people saying the same things about black people and using every dirty trick to disenfranchise them. This is nothing new, it is as old as the republic itself, a handful of elitists taking a paternalistic tack to deny voting rights to everybody else. Whether you are a young conservative or liberal voter, you need to pay attention to how easily certain people are willing to deny you the right to participate.

When I was between the age of 18-21, I was resentful of being told that while I had responsibilities of an adult, certain privileges were being withheld. I don’t like second class citizenship for myself or for anyone else.  When we raised a ruckus during the Vietnam conflict, the voice of youth was one to be reckoned with and the right of the 18 year old to vote was a result. Well, young people, this is a time to again make noise and get the attention of those who bring down even greater threats to your liberty. The Conservative and the GOP are so determined to take the wrench and hammer and bang the hands of that clock until it actually runs backward.

This is all part of a plot to create not just a permanent upper class, but a permanent ruling class and that is something which should alarm us all. The voter fraud issue is just a ruse on their part. The timing of the sudden desire to want to disenfranchise the young voter is suspect, it is not as if college students have never attending school away from home.  I challenge thoughful opinion from the political right to ‘weigh-in’ on this article.



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    • Credence2 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Because I think a great deal of Ron Paul, I will go check into the concept of libertarianism further.

      Thanks, Cred2

    • Borsia profile image


      9 years ago from Currently, Philippines

      Hi Credence; I don't really write much about politics. Mostly I write fiction and travel. I'm not very active on HubPages other than sprees of answering questions.

      As to Libertarian countries the US did pretty well with it for the first 86 years. The fist Income Tax was in 1862 in response to the Civil War. Afterward it was dropped and not brought back until 911 and WWI.

      The basic concept of Libertarianism is that the Constitution should be followed as written.

      There is more to it than that of course.

      You can check out the nuts & bolts by just going to the party website.

      As I said I am not a purist Libertarian. I think we do need some taxes and even some government beyond the original 4. But they should be very limited, a micro fraction of what we have today.

      The golden rule is that the most inefficient and expensive way to do anything is to have government do it or be involved with doing it.

    • Credence2 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Borsia, no sales taxes in Oregon? You're kidding. Oregon does have a state income tax, does it not? That is very strange the majority of Oregon residents do not own property... It is not fair and you are right about that, it needs to be adjusted legilatively or in a case of exploitation of a minority have the case brought forth in court. That situation is not sustainable, but there are remedies.

      I been meaning to get into your libertarianism a bit more. Can you tell me any society on earth that is running under its precepts? I may have to check out your articles can you recommend one?

    • Borsia profile image


      9 years ago from Currently, Philippines

      Ha ha it wouldn't be any fun if we all agreed.

      As I understand what they are doing they are just requiring proven residency, not any property ownership. I pretty much agree with that.

      If you want to see an interesting aspect look at the way things are going in Oregon. They have no sales tax and everything is funded through property taxes. The problem is that the majority of residents don't own property.

      They vote for spending but they aren't the ones footing the bill. It may have been changed, I only know what relatives told me who owned farms and ranches, none of them wealthy. Their bills were going up while their income was going down. But they didn't have the voting power to curtail the passage of new spending. That is just wrong.

      Like I said it may have changed I don't have anyone living there any more so I don't hear much.

    • Credence2 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Hello, Borsia, sorry it took a while to get back to you. Your points are well taken.

      After checking into this a little, I have come to the conclusion that once that the state requirements for residence has been met and the intent is made clear by the individual, registering vehicle, paying taxes within the state, the option should lie with the individual as to whether he or she is to be a resident with full voting rights or not. This certainly should not be determined by some rightwing politician, with a political agenda to arbitrarily shut undesirable voters out of the process.

      Illegal immigrants is another story and are in effect not American citizens.

      While there are problems in California and New York for example, there are many other blue states that are doing fine. The states touted by the right as the example of the superiority of their economic model, either just started gushing oil or like Texas, leaves alot to be desired as to the true nature of prosperity within its borders.

      I agree with you 100 percent regarding the scenario of the rights of owners over the right of renters. If I don't like the arrangement, I can move. But, by definition, within the political process, no one over the age of 18 voting within the community where he or she resides can be denied the right to be an "owner". The amount of income tax these students pay be it small or large should not be a factor, as it can be misconstrued as some sort of poll tax, which is a no-no.

      I enjoy your candor and willingness to explain your point of view, even if it differs from mine. Such an individual will be the source of much stimulating discourse. Cred2

    • Borsia profile image


      9 years ago from Currently, Philippines

      Cred2; It isn't likely that the students are paying anything other than sales taxes. If they own any property they aren't being excluded since that would make them residents, in most cases. Most students aren't making enough to be paying much in income taxes either, if they are paying anything at all.

      Regan was attempting to close the flood gates of illegal immigration. He said "OK, there are so many here who have been here and working so we will give citizenship to everyone who can show that they have been here. Then we will cut off everything for anyone who comes in illegally after the cut off."

      The problem was that the Congress, Senate and ICE completely failed to do their part and enforce the laws afterward.

      He also set up the Bracero program that allowed registered workers to come across the border to do seasonal work, like agriculture.

      The people in those blue states are doing OK, but states like CA and NY are in the worst financial position. The biggest reason that they appear prosperous is simply that they are the most populated.

      In CA businesses have been leaving in droves since Gray Davis's days. They slowed a bit when Arnold was in but with Brown they are setting records for departures. Those that have remained have shifted everything possible either to other states or off shore.

      The citizens of WS would be wise to look at CA as an example of how out of control things can get.

      CA should be interesting in the near future because they are already so far in the hole that bankruptcy is very likely. The voters aren't very likely to offer any bailouts. Its a house of cards waiting for a strong breeze.

      As far as an example of legislation being passed by those who don’t see the long term ramifications I will use a very simple one on a small scale.

      I lived in a condo complex with about 55% owners and 45% renters.

      A group thought it would be nice to have a Jacuzzi. They went door to door with a petition and got enough signatures to get it considered.

      When it came time to vote we published an economic impact statement showing what it would cost over time.

      The renters were very upset when they found out that only owners could vote and that the owners wouldn’t vote in something with such high operating costs and future maintenance.

      All of the renters wanted to vote in favor of the project. Had they been able to vote it probably would have passed.

    • Credence2 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Borsia, thanks for commenting...

      You said:

      "I think what they are saying is that decisions should be made by those who are paying the bills and have a vested interest in the long term ramifications of legislation"

      Where does that come? Everytime I pay sales taxes or income taxes, property taxes or whatever, I pay the bills. So in a sense, everybody pays the bills, yes? So in the conservative world, sir, who gets to determine who is influenced by legislation and who is not? Who get to do the disenfranchising? Unacceptable!

      Both parties have been slow on the contentious issue of immigration reform. What the hell was GW Bush doing during the 8 years of his term about it? So who was it that opened the floodgates to illegals, the GOP standard bearer, Ronald Reagan.

      What Lincoln did and the relationship of the two political parties a century and half ago does not speak to where their leaders and ideologies are today.

      Well, we all have our opinions, the most prosperous states are predominantly the blue ones, how do those covered in red crimson explain that? We will see how the Wisconsin Governor fares in the coming months, with pressures for recall. The red and the right will learn that the power of labor will be something they will have to reckon with, whether they like it or not.

      Yes, politics suck and both parties contribute to it, but one party glides to oblivian, while the other is determined to see that we get to oblivian that much faster and with all the more certainty.

      Thanks for weighing in Cred2

    • Borsia profile image


      9 years ago from Currently, Philippines

      I think what they are saying is that decisions should be made by those who are paying the bills and have a vested interest in the long term ramifications of legislation.

      I personally tend to agree with that.

      They aren't talking about national elections where the basic driving force behind the 18 year old vote was "If we are old enough to be drafted and slaughtered we should have a right to vote and decide who is going to send us into harms way."

      The Democrats are just as bad as the Republicans and, when in power didn't do anything about immigration reform. The last big move was by Regan who did amnesty for everyone who could show residence in the US. As I remember him Regan wasn't a Democrat. Lincoln was also a Republican, not that that matters but he did end slavery, which was opposed by the Democrats.

      As a Libertarian leaning independent I see both sides without blinders. Wis. is trying to avoid becoming another CA. which is in a state of near total ruin thanks to decades of Democratic dominance.

      Both parties are morally bankrupt and the nation is going down in flames as a result.

    • Credence2 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Thanks, Jillian, I am glad to make your acquaintance. i am truly the "happy warrior" This is just the tip of the iceburg regarding the rightwinger's nefarious plot against the middle class!

    • Jillian Barclay profile image

      Donna Lichtenfels 

      10 years ago from California, USA

      Dear Credence2,

      I saw one of your comments on an article written by LRCBlogger and decided to check out your profile. I am glad that I did! Pleased to make your acquaintance! This article is so important! New Hampshire is one of now 32 states seeking to disenfranchise voters, but by far, New Hampshire is the most egregious example.

      You are right! The youth must stand up and be counted here! Maybe some of us who grew up and made our voices heard during Viet Nam should teach them how it is done!

      Your first sentence of your last paragraph, "This is all part of a plot to create not just a permanent upper class, but a permanent ruling class..." is exactly what people are failing to recognize, but it is the essence of the GOP attack on unions and young voters.

      Keep sending the message! People will hear it!

    • Credence2 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Thank you, HS. The aspect of the immigration debate that focuses on "illegal voting' is the 4th horsemen of the apocalypse in the eyes of the GOP. What gets me is that they do this in the light of day with everyones eyes wide open, or is wide shut?

    • profile image

      Howard Schneider 

      10 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      The Republicans in this country are consciously attempting to restrict the growing Democratic votes and influence. This is just another example. The Wisconsin standoff right now is an attempt to shrink the unions and Democratic campaign funding. The blocking of Immigration Reform legislation is another example. They fear, probably correctly, that this ethnic group will become Democrats eventually. It harkens back to the founding fathers who restricted voting to land owning men. They felt that only they had the wisdom to vote correctly. Great Hub.


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