Yes, we all have busy lives, but voting is an important civic duty of all Americans, and a hard-won constitutional right for many of us.
White men without land holdings weren't able to vote until laws were changed from 1812-1860.
African-American men didn't get the right to vote until 1870, with the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment.
Women didn't get the right to vote until passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920.
Poll taxes, which disenfranchised the poor, were not made illegal under federal law until 1966.
So why do so many of us take this right for granted? And why aren't more of us angry about the attacks on voting rights going on all across the country?
Here in Montana, several bills during the 2011 Legislative Session attempted to strip voter rights.
HB 180, which passed in both the House and Senate would have repealed Montanans' ability to register on election day. It was vetoed by Governor Brian Schweitzer with his legendary brand (see photo). The governor also vetoed a bill to restrict the kinds of identification voters can use at the polls. Both of these bills would have only served to disenfranchise Montanans, particularly the young and Native Americans who tend to move more frequently and the elderly who may not have drivers' licenses.
Elections and voting rights are the cornerstones of our democracy. Don't take your voting rights for granted. Don't know how to register or where your polling place is? No worries. Just check out the Montana Secretary of State's election information page.
Please, vote today.