A fundamental right of Americans is the right to vote despite their race, colour, or whether they were a slave or not. The 15th Amendment states “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state.” This shows that all Americans should be able to vote. You may think that there is a loophole in this amendment, that this could only mean voting for white Americans. But in the continuation for this amendment, it states in, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, colour, or previous condition of servitude.” So even former slaves and people of colour should be granted the fundamental right of voting in this country. But some people disregard this amendment. Around voting times, some Americans participate in voter intimidation. Voter intimidation is when someone intimidates, threatens, or persuades any person for the purpose of interfering with the right of such other person to vote, as they may cause this other person to vote for, or not to vote for, their choice for  candidate for office. According to the Brennan Center, In Michigan, Hijab-wearing voters were told to get away from the polls by a man who others said was singling out racial minorities. And in 2008, a Black Panther Party was involved with voter intimidation. This took place at a polling station in a predominantly African-American, Democratic voting district of Philly. Two members of the New Black Panther party stood in front of the entrance to the polling station. They  carried a club, and is reported to have pointed it at voters while shouting racial slurs. The party said phrases such as “white devil” and “you’re about to be ruled by the black man, and cracker to white voters. Voter intimidation is a violation of the 15th Amendment. Citizens should not be persuaded to or not to vote for who they want. Voting is also a form of freedom of speech. And to take that away would take away the meaning of being American. Americans should be able to vote for whoever they want and not be harassed based on their political views.

 

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CC BY-SA 4.0 What It Means to Be American by Juanamarina is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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