I’m currently doing research for future topics, but I want to make this post tonight about two things close to my heart. Sometime last year, I shared 10 issues I consider the most important, but my personal top 2 issues may be voting rights and net neutrality. As such, I want to share some really important videos I have viewed this month.
What I Want to Share About Net Neutrality
On the May 1 this year, I talked in depth about the fight for net neutrality.
Why is this important?
If the Republican-led FCC gives a final vote to end net neutrality, it will kill the Internet as we know it. Among the things that can happen are the unabated practice of telecommunications companies throttling Internet speeds and charging certain websites for “fast lanes.” Another thing that might happen is for telecom companies to charge customers extra to reach certain websites, in tiered packages similar to cable packages, which will be a disaster.
Some congressional Democrats have promised to make this a campaign issue. For example, Ben Schatz from Hawaii has emerged as an ally in this fight. Schatz pointed out that Pai may be in violation of the “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” statute. This is a good tactic for reaching voters who rely on the Internet for a daily basis, but lawmakers also need to educate the public about net neutrality along the way.
Now, the first video comes from The Humanist Report. In May, Mike Figueredo, host of The Humanist Report, goes over the May 18, 2017 FCC vote on net neutrality. The vote opened up the public input process before the final vote in August 2017.
On June 7, 2017, Figueredo uploaded this channel about the horrible practices of telecommunications companies during the public commenting period. In particular, companies like Comcast may be stuffing the FCC comments section with false, anti-net neutrality messages. The messages are submitted using the names of dead people and those of Americans who submitted pro-net neutrality messages before.
That’s absolutely disgusting.
What I Want to Share Concerning Voting Rights
This year, I have done quite a bit of research into the arena of voter suppression. There is so much more I need to read up on, but I have learned so much already, I can write a book about it (in fact, I would like to).
What I Know
Many of the people in office currently may be there because of voter suppression techniques, including:
- Both major parties are guilty of this.
- Voter ID Laws. Touted by Republicans, these are essentially poll taxes, which were banned by the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
- The contraction or relocation of polling places. In Georgia, during the first round of the special election, a polling station in a black neighborhood was moved near a police station in the hopes of intimidating voters. Jon Ossoff may have won in that round, since he lost by a minuscule amount.
- Eliminating early voting opportunities. Republican-controlled states tend to do this in states that have more Democratic-leaning voters. Most often, black voters take advantage of these opportunities. But states like Montana are unimpeded.
- Cross Check. The brainchild Kris Kobach, who has been named to head Trump’s new voting integrity commission, Crosscheck was used to remove up to 1 million Americans from voter rolls across the country. In states like Arizona, Michigan, and North Carolina, the number of purged voters more than eclipses the margins Trump won by.
- Blocking Fair Recounts. In Detroit, Michigan, 75,000 votes were declared “spoiled,” although a hand recount may have determined who voters may have intended to vote for. Jill Stein’s recount effort was blocked, by a judge and an intervention by Bill Schutte, a Trump ally.
The third video I wanted to share comes from Roland Martin. (Yes, I criticized him earlier this month, but I still like hearing from him and watching his content.) This video talks about the issue of voter suppression.
A few months ago, it was revealed that voter turnout among African Americans was down by about 25%. This was a 20-year low, but Martin (and I) contend this may in large part be due to voter suppression.
Two things which have worked against black voters are voter ID laws and redistricting. There have been some cases which went to the Supreme Court and even Clarence Thomas objected to the gerrymandering in North Carolina.
Why I Wanted to Make This Post Today
Sometimes, you can’t choose the issues you think you should work for because they just come to you. Although I can’t really say I have been negatively impacted by changes to net neutrality or voter suppression (give it time), I still want to fight to help other people. So let it be known I will continue to beat the drum for both of these issues from here on out.