Target: Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran
Goal: Stop efforts to make it harder for African-Americans to vote
An unusual political story unfolded in Mississippi recently as a conservative Senator narrowly defeated a Tea Party challenger after unprecedented numbers of African-American voters turned out in his support. Senator Thad Cochran was in the fight of his political life and barely pulled through because of this support. Now, activists are calling upon the Senator to rethink his support for controversial voter-ID laws, which often make it more difficult for minorities to vote.
Senator Cochran represents a state which recently instigated voter-ID laws and seems to fully support them, according to Think Progress. These laws are said to be intended to prevent voter fraud that could swing elections. However, voter fraud is very rare across the United States; according to ABC News, only .00000013% of votes cast between 2002 and 2005 were fraudulent. Voter ID laws also make it more difficult for poor Americans to vote, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. African-Americans, like the ones who gave Senator Cochran his victory, are highly impacted by such laws.
Senator Cochran is just one man, but he is also a U.S. Senator and he has power. Voter-ID laws in his state and elsewhere could be abolished if Congress decided to act, perhaps by strengthening the recently-weakened Voting Rights Act. By signing this petition, you will call on Senator Cochran to do right by his constituents and work to make it easier, not harder, for all of them to vote.
Dear Senator Cochran,
Your recent primary election resulted in a narrow victory for you that was made possible by unprecedented support from African-Americans. Considering the circumstances, it is a good time for you to review your thoughts on voter-ID laws in Mississippi and across the nation. These laws combat a form of voter fraud that is extremely rare and can serve to disenfranchise minorities and the poor.
The people of Mississippi demonstrated that they trust your leadership, and the best way of repaying that trust would be to make voting easier, not harder, for every one of them. African-Americans would benefit greatly from an abolition of voter-ID laws, just as you have benefited from their support during your campaign. I urge you to work with your fellow Senators to ensure that everyone, regardless of circumstance or who they are, is able to vote.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Dwight Burdette via Wikimedia Commons